Reviews for What Happens Here

“A compulsively readable tale of complicated friendships, life-changing loss, and the search for authentic experience in a world full of artifice.”
—Sara Zarr, author of Story of a Girl

“Just as impressive [as The Pursuit of Happiness], with realistic relationships between characters, haunting happenings, and expressive writing… one of the best books of 2008.”
Little Willow

“An honest, powerful, moving book about love, loss, friendship, holding on to (and figuring out) your dreams.”
Jocelyn @ Teen Book Review

Reviews for The Pursuit of Happiness

“Tara Altebrando’s first young adult novel is insightful, moving, and addictively readable.. . . Betsy tells us her story in the present tense, which gives it a sense of youthful immediacy, and her Flaming Lips references and clever uses of the word supersized lend it the ring of adolescent authenticity. In the end, all the little pieces of Betsy’s life that summer come together in a way that’s hopeful but not Brady-perfect. Satisfying but still realistic: The Pursuit of Happiness walks that tightrope with the greatest of ease.” — Philadelphia Inquirer

“Surprisingly moving….Thinking of [The Pursuit of Happiness] makes my
throat feel all lumpy. That’s not the way I thought I would react to a
really cute book that fits perfectly in my purse.”
— Rachel Mason, Gwinnett Daily Post (GA)

“Three pages into this novel it struck me that Altebrando has a voice
much like Sarah Dessen’s – mature but not stuffy – and her characters
behave exactly like the kids I remember from high school. I knew at
that moment I would like this book, and it turns out I was right.. . .
The language in this novel is lovely, deftly weaving a story that in
other hands would seem trite. This is Altebrando’s first novel for
young adults – she also writes slightly more adult fair under the name
Tara McCarthy – but she has the talent to be a real gem in the genre.
If you’re even a little bit interested in teen-targeted fiction, The
Pursuit of Happiness is a must read.”— Popgurls

“Sad and sweet and funny all at once. Good stuff.” — Sarah Dessen

“Pleasingly complex, romantic without being cheesy, and also a
wonderful story of family.”— Sara Zarr

“Great summer reading.”—

“The Pursuit Of Happiness is an amazing story of love, loss,
friendship, and, as the title suggests, the pursuit of happiness, the
pursuit of finding something you’re passionate about. . . . This book,
similar to works by Sarah Dessen, details one girl’s very real life and
her grief at the loss of her mother. Anyone who has ever lost someone
will understand what Betsy is going through, but, if you’re lucky
enough not to have suffered a loss this large in your life (few of us
have that sort of luck), you’ll still love this book. Powerful and
emotional, it chronicles Betsy’s journey from brokenhearted and falling
apart to putting the pieces of her life together again – and never
forgetting her mother.”— Curled Up With a Good Kid’s Book

“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.” —

“The Pursuit of Happiness is an emotional roller coaster of a story
that touches on the highs, lows, and middle points of adolescence.
Betsy has a right to her anger and sadness and as she experiments with
drinking and boys, she starts to mature and realize that even in her
funk, this isn’t the kind of life she wants. You’ll experience every
emotion she feels, every tiny bit of reawakening of life. Tara
Altebrando has done a fabulous job of making Betsy’s situation
relatable to teens and adults alike. I cried, I laughed, I smiled, and
I just fell in love with this story. The last sentence truly is
phenomenal. You’ll be gripped by this story from the moment you open
the pages. Betsy is a likable but realistically portrayed teenager.
She’s not perfect and she’s still learning about life. Though geared
towards teens, The Pursuit of Happiness is guaranteed to touch you in
some way no matter what your age. Death, life, love, and happiness are
a lifetime exploration and Betsy deals with these issues the best she
can. Impressive and intense, The Pursuit of Happiness is surely the
perfect treat to touch your heart. — Romance Junkies

“A touching story of love and loss.” — Bookloons

“Dramatic and engaging . . . Altebrando infuses her main character with
a strong spirit. . . . and readers will cheer her on….This book moves
along at a steady pace, with a first-person narrative enabling the
reader to get inside Betsy’s head. The coming-of-age tale greatly
benefits from the summertime setting. The realistic dialogue will meet
the approval of teen and adult readers. Tara Altebrando has written a
wonderful tale about love, loss, family, and finding yourself. This is
definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year, and I highly
recommend it. If you enjoy The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, The
Alison Rules by Catherine Clark, or Good Grief by Lolly Winston, you
will undoubtedly enjoy The Pursuit of Happiness.” — Flamingnet Reviews