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Happiness Falls Bets On...

Happiness Falls

September 2023

HAPPINESS FALLS by Angie Kim is a beautiful, poignant family story with a mystery layered inside it. Fourteen-year-old Eugene has Angelman syndrome. While he smiles and laughs, he cannot verbalize, so his loved ones have been dealing with these challenges. His father, Adam, has assumed the role of house husband and his caretaker. As the book opens, Eugene and Adam have been out hiking in a suburban park and are late coming home. When only Eugene appears at the door, he is very disconcerted and has blood caked under his fingernails and on his clothing. He is agitated and takes to his room to jump and make the sounds that he uses to soothe himself in these circumstances.

Mia, Eugene’s 20-year-old sister, immediately washes his clothes as she fears the worst and that he will be an accomplice. She, her mother and her twin brother are worried that his neurodivergent behavior will have him judged harshly by the legal system, so they quickly pull together to protect him. The book beautifully illustrates the love and compassion that this family demonstrates to ensure that Eugene is safe --- which they have done for years, but never with this urgency.

Along the way to trying to uncover what happened to Adam, there are a few twists. What is this about a possible diagnosis that may have had Adam questioning his options? Who is this woman on the voicemail? And what has he been doing with Eugene that he has not shared? As they think about Adam, Mia reveals bits about his theories on the relativity of happiness.

I interviewed Angie about HAPPINESS FALLS, and she talked about personal experiences that she brought to the book, including her work with neurodivergent writing students. She also recalls the challenge of moving to the United States from South Korea with no knowledge of the language and thus the ability to communicate or fit in during her formative preteen years. She brings a lot of the emotion from these experiences to the page! Be sure to watch or listen to that interview.

Happiness Falls
by Angie Kim

  • Publication Date: August 29, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hogarth
  • ISBN-10: 0593448200
  • ISBN-13: 9780593448205