ARC Review: Kill All Happies by Rachel Cohn

review         book

Book Covertitle: Kill All Happies
author: Rachel Cohn
pages: 288
format: Paperback ARC
buy it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
rating: 2.5/5 (from hated to loved) or 45/10 (all books I've ever read)
recommended for: Fans of Nick & Norah (obviously), The DUFF, or movies like Adventureland and Snow Day. People looking for something light and funny.
Last Call at Happies! Tonight, 8 P.M. Senior Class Only! Please with the Shhhh….

This is it. Graduation. And Vic Navarro is throwing the most epic party Rancho Soldado has ever seen. She’s going to pull off the most memorable good-bye ever for her best friends, give Happies—the kitschy restaurant that is her desert town’s claim to fame—a proper send-off into bankruptcy, and oh yes, hook up with her delicious crush, Jake Zavala-Kim. She only needs to keep the whole thing a secret so that her archnemesis, Miss Ann Thrope, Rancho Soldado’s nightmare Town Councilwoman and high school Economics teacher, doesn’t get Vic tossed in jail.

With the music thumping, alcohol flowing, bodies mashing, and Thrope nowhere to be seen, Vic’s party is a raging success. That is, until Happies fans start arriving in droves to say good-bye, and storm the deserted theme park behind the restaurant. Suddenly what was a small graduation bash is more like Coachella on steroids with a side of RASmatazz pie. The night is so not going as planned. And maybe that’s the best plan of all.

in depth

  • Sometimes, you need a read that's silly, irreverent, and just balls-to-the-wall madcap. Kill All Happies is that book. It's  not life-changing, and some of the humor falls flat, but there's something undeniably charming about Vic's wild optimism and panache. If you're looking for something laugh-out-loud and light along the order of Adventureland or The DUFF, you've found your answer at Happie's. 

  • The premise is ridiculous, in a good way. The famed desert stop Happie's is closing. An institution in a town known for little else. For Vic, it's the chance to make her mark on the senior class with a wild bash--as long as Miss Ann Thrope (yes, pun intended) doesn't destroy her plans. It brought me back to old-school comedies like Snow Day, with gangs of outrageous kids battling crotchety over-the-top adult villains. 

  • Vic's story is populated with endearingly crazy characters: her besties, Slick and Fletch; Slick's quirky brothers; and a whole troop of Happie's-obsessed bikers covered in years' worth of Happie's (and the adjoining amusement park) memorabilia. Most of the characters were relatively underdeveloped, particularly as Slick and Fletch were nearly absent for most of the book. I got to know Slick's brother best, even though I can't remember his name. He's charming and funny. But a story that hinges on over-the-top humor doesn't suffer much from type-ish characters. They're like props for the adventure and chaos. 

  • The writing is overall pretty good. It matches the theme. Vic is incredibly dramatic, from her passionate hatred of Thrope to her complicated master plans to her slangy narration. Some of the slang is invented or outdated, and honestly, the way Vic talks about gay people isn't explicitly bigoted but it's definitely not sensitive, and she can be kind of slut-shame-y. In the way of old sitcoms that feel out of touch and cringe-y when you watch them now. Definitely knocked a few points off. Those moments aside, Vic's voice is funny and fresh. You can't help but become infected with her energy. 

  • All in all, Cohn's solo novel is a high school adventure worthy of a light-hearted summer blockbuster, maybe starring Michael Cera or something. With bikers throwing people into amusement park jail, trucks being shoved off cliffs, and unexpected romances. The rating may seem low, but it's not because it was a bad book. It was incredibly fun, just now wow. It'd make a great beach read, or something to cheer you up when you need pure silliness. 

        in a sentence

        Kill All Happies is a light, madcap candy book with an intentionally ridiculous plot and moments of true hilarity.  


        will i read this author again?  I have been meaning to read Nick & Norah forever, ever since I found out it was a book 
        will i continue the series?  N/A 

        Note: I received this copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.  The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.


        1. Your review actually makes it sound like something I would like. I love fun and silly reads. They make my escape easier. =)
          Sam @ WLABB