cover image Kill All Happies

Kill All Happies

Rachel Cohn. Hyperion, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4231-5722-9

With high school graduation out of the way, Vic Navarro is ready to ditch her desert town of Rancho Soldado, but not before throwing an epic—and forbidden—graduation party at Happies, a kitschy restaurant and local institution that is about to close. Beyond being a raging sendoff, the party is also the best possible revenge against the Happies-hating Annette Thrope: teacher, realtor, town council chair, and longtime nemesis of the town’s teens. Cohn (Emergent) returns to her roots writing realistic teen fiction with snappy dialogue, a sassy go-getting lead character, a hard-to-attain crush, and best friends for life. Though Happies—and its long-closed nearby amusement park—is a memorable setting for a final hurrah, the misunderstandings, betrayals, and solutions play out predictably. Cohn’s rowdy humor and quirky cast are entertaining, but the story’s cutesiness can start to feel exhausting: nicknames abound, including the too-clever Miss Ann Thrope for the reviled teacher, and Vic and her friends are known as the Cuddle Huddle for their three-way hug sessions, a decade-long habit. Like Vic’s party, it winds up being a bit much. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, William Morris Endeavor. (May)