The Pursuit of Happiness

The Pursuit of Happiness

by Tara Altebrando
4.5 12

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Overview

The Pursuit of Happiness by Tara Altebrando

“Truly moving … Told in a voice that’s as winning as it is authentic.”—Owen King, author of We’re All In This Together

Betsy is just a few weeks into her summer job dressing up as a farm girl at a colonial re-enactment village when tragedy strikes. Twice. Returning to the village grief-stricken and heartbroken, Betsy is thrust into working alongside Liza Henske, only the oddest girl in their entire school. But in a weird way, playing farm girl starts to feel like a great escape from her damaged family and shattered life.

Liza turns out to be sort of awesome. And being around James—a cute older boy who works in the village's carpentry shop—is the only thing that makes her feel normal these days. That, and cutting profiles and figures out of black paper like colonial silhouette artists did. Things certainly seem very black and white this summer—life/death, love/loss—but the discovery of the artist inside herself feels entirely, wonderfully out of the blue.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940015917277
Publisher: Tara Altebrando
Publication date: 11/01/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 294 KB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Tara Altebrando is the author of four novels for young adults: The Pursuit of Happiness, What Happens Here, Dreamland Social Club, and The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life. She lives in Queens, NY, with her family.

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Pursuit of Happiness (MTV Books) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
According to the book ON DEATH AND DYING by Elsabeth Kubler-Ross, the five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. If you ask Betsy Irving, though, Elsabeth got it all wrong. The five stages of grief are really agitation, intoxication, experimentation, resignation, and reinvigoration. Betsy's known for awhile that her mother is going to die. After all, with the type of breast cancer that her mother has, and the late stage that it's in, there's not a lot that can be done. But it's still a shock that hot, sticky Thursday in June when she leaves work at the Morrisville Historic Village early when her Aunt Patty and Uncle Jim show up to escort her home. Now her mother is gone, the funeral is over, the well-meaning guests have left, and it's just Betsy, her dad, and her younger brother, Ben, taking up space in the huge white Victorian house that they call home.

In the beginning, Betsy's friends have only her best interests at heart, and her first real boyfriend, Brandon, tries to be there for her, but Betsy still feels as if nothing in her life is working out as planned. And when said friends seem to disappear off the face of the earth, and Brandon turns out not to be the great boyfriend she had hoped for when he dumps her, things in Betsy's life get even more off-kilter. As if it wasn't bad enough that she's spending the summer working at the Village (which she knows was a trick devised by her history-loving, professor father), dressed in stifling Early American clothes and demonstrating cornbread making to eager tourists, now she has to do it alone, without any real friends or a supportive boyfriend--and in the presence of Liza Henske, whose Goth Girl shield isn't allowed at the Village.

It's amazing, though, what a new sort-of friend like Liza can teach a girl who just wants to get away form it all. And when James, the Village carpenter who will soon be leaving for Princeton, begins to comfort her with his soft-spoken words and small carvings, Betsy starts to learn that no matter what the actual stages of grief are, she just might be able to survive them after all.

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS is a poignant, heartfelt novel. It's one of the best books I've read dealing with grief, with dialogue that never seems out of place or too cheesy. Ms. Altebrando has written a stunning debut novel that will leave you thinking about the story of Betsy and her family and friends long after you've finished the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
At first, I was a little reluctant to read this, because I noticed some other plot lines in the MTV books line, and I thought this would be a shallow book. I was wrong. The Pursuit of Happiness is a book about just that - looking for happiness. Betsy was a believable character who had to deal with her mother's death. It turned her into a different person. This book could have lessened the swears and sex talk, and it took me a chapter or two to get into, but it was still great. I found myself wanting to keep reading, but at the same time, I was sad about reaching the end. All in all, this one is worth the read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i thought this book was really good. it shows what it feels like to lose a loved one and to gain another. james was my favorite character because he was full of mystery. a great book. i would recommend it to a lot of people but it does have some bad language XD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! I just couldn't bring myself to putting this book down. Its about this girl who loe bses her mother and how she copes oh my goodness . It was the best book ever!
Guest More than 1 year ago
According to the book On Death and Dying by Elsabeth Kubler-Ross, the five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. If you ask Betsy Irving, though, Elsabeth got it all wrong. The five stages of grief are really agitation, intoxication, experimentation, resignation, and reinvigoration. Betsy's known for awhile that her mother is going to die. After all, with the type of breast cancer that her mother has, and the late stage that it's in, there's not a lot that can be done. But it's still a shock that hot, sticky Thursday in June when she leaves work at the Morrisville Historic Village early when her Aunt Patty and Uncle Jim show up to escort her home. Now her mother is gone, the funeral is over, the well-meaning guests have left, and it's just Betsy, her dad, and her younger brother, Ben, taking up space in the huge white Victorian house that they call home. In the beginning, Betsy's friends have only her best interests at heart, and her first real boyfriend, Brandon, tries to be there for her, but Betsy still feels as if nothing in her life is working out as planned. And when said friends seem to disappear off the face of the earth, and Brandon turns out not to be the great boyfriend she had hoped for when he dumps her, things in Betsy's life get even more off-kilter. As if it wasn't bad enough that she's spending the summer working at the Village (which she knows was a trick devised by her history-loving, professor father), dressed in stifling Early American clothes and demonstrating cornbread making to eager tourists, now she has to do it alone, without any real friends or a supportive boyfriend--and in the presence of Liza Henske, whose Goth Girl shield isn't allowed at the Village. It's amazing, though, what a new sort-of friend like Liza can teach a girl who just wants to get away form it all. And when James, the Village carpenter who will soon be leaving for Princeton, begins to comfort her with his soft-spoken words and small carvings, Betsy starts to learn that no matter what the actual stages of grief are, she just might be able to survive them after all. THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS is a poignant, heartfelt novel. It's one of the best books I've read dealing with grief, with dialogue that never seems out of place or too cheesy. Ms. Altebrando has written a stunning debut novel that will leave you thinking about the story of Betsy and her family and friends long after you've finished the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved 'the pursite of happiness'! i could really relate to some of the main characters feelings! i never wanted to put the book down. if you love sarah dessen you'll most likely love this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very quick read, I finished this book in a day. This book is a little bit cliche and predictable, you knew how it would turn out in the end. But still, I was able to get into it and it was alright. It's a good summer read, but I think it's a little on the younger side, like maybe for ages 12-14.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read by Tara Altebrando, and it is really good. It is kind of sad in places, but in a good way. I felt very close to the characters and the story as I read. I would recommend it if you like Sarah Dessen's books or Bad Girls by Alex McAulay.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i dont normally like to read.. but this book was great! If you like realistic fiction books that you, as a teenager can relate to, then read this. Its pretty much a romance novel mixed with a bit of tragedy in the beginning but its not that sad cuz you didnt have time to become attached to the character....its really amazing READ IT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to say that I absolutely loved The Pursuit of Happiness. If you're a fan of Sarah Dessen like I am, I can assure that you'll love it, too. It's a fairly quick read (I read it in a day and a half and would have been quicker but school got in the way!), but not in the mindless type of way that so many other chick lit books are. From the beginning, the novel held my attention because Betsy is so incredibly relatable. I haven't experienced something as tragic as the loss of a parent, but so many of her thoughts are thoughts that I hear in my head as well, and her reaction to situations are reactions that I could see, have seen, in myself and my friends. The characters are great. I hate how, in many books, the main characters will do things and say things that just make you groan and say, 'Nooo! Why'd you do that?!' Why do I want to read about a person who does things that annoy me? In here, Betsy makes mistakes, says things she shouldn't say, but you can see where she's coming from. I didn't find myself angry at her every move (although there were times, but that's to be expected in any chick lit book). Then there's Liza, the unexpected friend. I love how Betsy makes amazing friends at the most unexpected place, which is the job she started out hating. Liza, supposedly a rebel and a freak, turns out to be more of a friend than Betsy's usual gang, and isn't afraid to be honest, tell it like it is. The other character I fell in love with: James. In Sarah Dessen's books, there is always something that makes me feel light and airy, and that's that I always want the guy for myself! This, I can say, is the same case in The Pursuit of Happiness. I love James! He carves things for Betsy, teaches her how to surf, encourages her to remember her mother through stories. But he's also by no means perfect. I don't want to give anything away, though, so I'll have to stop there. ) Lastly, Betsy's art project (cutting pictures out of black construction paper) is one of the most original ideas I've read. Usually, it's running or sports or music or drawing, but just paper? She finds peace in this project and through it is able to come to terms with her relationships between family and friends, which is really awesome. It's sort of made me want to try it out for myself (but I know I that shouldn't, as I am by no means that artistic). Overall, I really did love this book. It drew me in, causing me to (I admit) blow off my homework, just so that I could finish reading it. Perfect for a day when you just want to sit down and read a book from cover to cover. :)