Read Get Happy Online

Authors: Mary Amato

Get Happy

BOOK: Get Happy
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Guitar Notes

Middle Grade

Invisible Lines

The Naked Mole-Rat Letters

Hear the songs from the book, sing with the karaoke tracks, and learn how to write your own songs on Mary Amato’s website,

First published by Egmont USA, 2014

443 Park Avenue South, Suite 806

New York, NY 10016

Copyright © 2014 by Mary Amato

All rights reserved

Interior book design: Kathleen Westray

Cover design: Jeanine Henderson

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Amato, Mary.

Get happy / Mary Amato.

1 online resource.

Summary: On her birthday, Minerva, a seventeen-year-old singer/songwriter, hears from the father she has never known and her placid life is turned upside down. ISBN 978-1-60684-523-3 (eBook) – ISBN 978-1-60684-522-6 (hardcover) [1. Musicians–Fiction. 2. Families–Fiction. 3. Fathers and daughters–Fiction. 4. Friendship–Fiction.] I. Title.




All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher and copyright owner.


For all my fans who send me such

touching and heartfelt letters — your

words, your voices inspire me to write

and revise, even on the hardest of days.


the gift. Please don’t judge me, but I could tell by the shape and size of the box that it wasn’t a ukulele and I felt a little piece of my soul start to drown.

Maybe to you, a ukulele doesn’t sound like a big deal, or maybe you think, hey, her mom got her that panini maker she begged for two years ago and she only used it once, but a ukulele is not a panini maker. You can’t express your true emotions with panini.

So there I was on the morning of my birthday, with
my mom standing by the table, an excited little-kid look in her eyes. The dining room was decorated with fresh flowers, streamers, and balloons. Sixteen candles were dripping wax onto a huge, frosted cinnamon roll. We Watsons have a morning ritual for birthdays: a special breakfast and the opening of the gift right away — even if it falls on a school day. “Happy birthday, Minny!” she said, and then sang the birthday song.

Already knowing I hadn’t gotten my wish, I closed my eyes and thought,
Deliver me from eternal misery
, and then I opened my eyes and blew out the flames.

She clapped and handed me her gift. “Open it!”

I took the box, my face muscles preparing a fake smile. “Beautiful wrapping job, Mom,” I said. “It’s too pretty to open.”

She laughed.

Same routine every year.

Making sure not to damage the gift wrap — my mom is a big reuser of stuff — I opened it: a navy blue sweater with huge white snowflakes around the neck and the bottoms of the sleeves.

“You don’t have any stylish cardigans,” my mom
said, as if it were a crime. “And so I splurged on the real deal.” She showed me the designer label.

“Wow,” I said. “Thanks so much.”

“You like it?”

“It’s a really pretty design.” My smile was twitching slightly at this point, which I believe is what happens when your soul is suffocating, but my mom didn’t notice. She was whipping the sweater out of the box.

“Try it on. You can wear it today.” She gave the outfit I was wearing one of her famous looks. The Pat Watson look. A mix of pity and disapproval with a dash of
Let me save
you thrown in. The dress I was wearing that day was my favorite, a green vintage raggedy thing I had found in the dollar box at the Goodwill store. The dollar box. I will be proud if I have a daughter who can put together a wardrobe for one buck. My mother, on the other hand, tries to quietly dispose of my sale items in the kitchen trash.

I put on the sweater.

“It’s gorgeous.” She clapped and then reached over, her eyes bright. “See … if you button it all the way up, it will look really pretty.”

I buttoned it up.

“And a little something from your aunt!” My mom handed me a card.

Dear Minerva, old fogeys like me don’t

know what sixteen-year-olds want, so here’s

some dough. Spend it all in one place!

A nice, crisp twenty-dollar bill tucked inside.

I know there are children in the world who would be overjoyed to get a navy blue cardigan and a twenty-dollar bill. But I had put that picture of the uke on the fridge before Christmas — the store address and phone number circled with a bright blue highlighter. Hint, hint. And every time my friend Finnegan came over, he’d ooh and aah over the picture and say in front of my mom, “Minerva, this is so
No wonder your soul will not feel complete until you have it.” Hint, hint. (Finnegan, if you’re reading this, thank you.)

Even though I knew it was small of me, I couldn’t help being depressed that day. Let the record show that there were extenuating factors: The temperature was nineteen degrees Fahrenheit, with a wind chill factor of minus ten; my “extended constructed essay” on the
social and economic pressures leading up to the Civil War was due; the audition that Fin was pressuring me to do was after school; and to top it off, the bottoms of my feet were itchy. I had put on these Dead Sea salt detox foot patches, documented in clinical studies to pull toxins out of the body, resulting in healthier skin, organs, cells, and even hair. They basically gave me hives.

The universe doesn’t care if it’s your birthday.

After breakfast, I stuffed my itchy feet into boots, suited up in all my winter gear, wound an extra scarf around my head, grabbed my backpack, and was hobbling to the door, when my mom said, “Wait! With all the excitement, we forgot to make lunch.”

I groaned.

“Sit, birthday girl.” She patted the top of my head. “What do you want — ham or peanut butter?”

“Peanut butter,” I said. I sat on the edge of the coffee table, staring at the fake-embroidered sign that she had hung on the wall by the front door for Christmas and hadn’t yet taken down.

BOOK: Get Happy
2.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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