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North of Happy Hardcover – 25 April 2017
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What do you do when you want to run away — but you end up finding yourself?
A dual citizen of Mexico and the United States, Carlos Portillo is happy to follow the well-worn path to a future of comfort and ease in Mexico City that’s been planned for him since birth. But when his older brother Felix—who defied their parents to live a life of adventure—is tragically killed, Carlos is determined to live out his own dreams for the both of them.
He escapes to San Juan Island off the coast of Washington state and gets a job with a celebrity chef he’s admired from afar for years. But while things are coming together for him in the kitchen, a forbidden romance with his boss’s daughter could end his career before it even begins. Finally living for himself, Carlos learns that reality doesn’t come with a road map to an easy life — but does finding your true path mean following your head? Or your heart?
“An exceptional tale of grief, ambition, love, and maturity.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
A YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adult nominee
A Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year
A TAYSHAS Reading List Book
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"Alsaid strongly evokes the frenzied atmosphere of a restaurant kitchen and the equally turbulent emotions of a young man struggling to sort his priorities. Carlos's frequent visions of Felix add extra dimension, shedding light on the brothers' history and underscoring Carlos's underlying grief." -Publishers Weekly
About the Author
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- Publisher : Harlequin Books Teen; Original ed. edition (25 April 2017)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 296 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0373212283
- ISBN-13 : 978-0373212286
- Reading age : 13 - 17 years
- Item Weight : 408 g
- Dimensions : 14.78 x 2.87 x 21.46 cm
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from other countries
Here is what I loved about NoH: the deep, clear and consistent portrayal of what it means to cope with grief, the reflective nature of the protagonist, the lovely characterization of the love interest, the hero journey-like character types (the mentor, the nemesis, the best friend), the realistic depiction of a restaurant kitchen, the very thoughtful and character driven plot, and the satisfying resolution that didn't simplify a life lived carrying loss.
Here's what I struggled with in the book: the slow pacing at times, some details that seemed a bit incorrect considering the setting (and that I live where the book is set), and connecting to the protagonist.
Even though this wasn't my favorite of his books, I'm still glad I read it. Adi is one of my favorite authors, and among a small group of whose work I will read no matter what. I can't wait to read his next novel.
Carlos's voice is sweet, relatable, and hilarious, and his ongoing relationship with his dead brother is very well-handled -- funny and moving. Alsaid's descriptions of setting (and food) are particularly lush and fresh. Like the best descriptions, they put you deeper into the story rather than taking you out of it. The author's own love of food and nature comes through on every page. On a personal level, this book made me miss living in Mexico -- and also want to move immediately to the San Juan Islands!
NORTH OF HAPPY did a definite number on my heart, squeezing it, expanding it, and leaving it full at the end. I can't ask for more in a book!
I really liked Carlos and felt his loss and his loves. I had a hard time liking Chef and Emma. However, I am happy with the ending.