Book Review: HappyHead by Josh Silver

Late last year, I was invited to attend the Rock the Boat showcase, and as part of that, I was sent a package of books. These were mostly releases of books already out by authors at the event. Still, it also included an ARC of Happyhead. It wasn’t a book I’d heard of before, but it sounded good. And I was right.

In this book, we follow Sebastian, a boy who is offered the opportunity to become happier by attending a radical retreat for teenagers. He’s not sure if he wants this, but he’s not given much choice. At least he can make his parents proud. But at the retreat, he meets the enigmatic Finn, and the other boy has him questioning what’s truly going on at this retreat. But the deeper into the programme, they discover that there might be no escape.

I knew I’d enjoy this book, but I didn’t realise how quickly I’d get through it. I’d planned on reading it across three days, and after reading the allotted pages on the first day fast, I thought I’d be able to do so. And then I finished it on the second night as I couldn’t put the book down. I had such a good time with this book. It made me angry in places, sure, and there were plenty of what the fuck moments. But that was partly what made the book so good.

Seb was a great protagonist. He wasn’t perfect, far from it. He could admit to being selfish and having done bad things. But not all the things he was ashamed of were things he should be. He’s a realistic-sounding teenage boy, one who’s been surrounded by some pretty horrible people and who has had some terrible circumstances. His anxiety also made him somewhat relatable.

Finn was also pretty interesting. From the off, he seems to be difficult and angry, but as you hear his story and figure out what’s going on, you understand why. You feel for him, and by the end, you want a happy ending. Not that you get that at the end of this book, considering there will clearly be at least one sequel. God, I want that book now.

There’s some major intrigue, and the ending made me want to know what will happen next. What’s going on with Eleanor? She clearly can’t be trusted, but even she’s had good moments. Will she change her mind if things get worse? I’ll have to wait to find out.

This book was a real page-turner. This a great example of a thriller with some dystopian elements. The writing is quite chatty in places, and I appreciated that. It’s not very descriptive, but it puts you right in Seb’s head. It’s the perfect style for someone who likes character-focused books.

5/5 Stars

Title: Happyhead

Author: Josh Silver

Genre: Thriller/Sci-Fi

Age Range:  Young Adult

Publisher:  Rock the Boat

Release Date: 16/3/23


Amazon UK | Waterstones (signed) | Waterstones (standard) | Bookshop Org

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