Happily and Madly

Happily and Madly

Maris Brown has been told two things about her destiny:1. She will fall happily and madly in love.2. She could be dead before she turns eighteen.The summer before that fateful birthday, Maris is in the wealthy beach town of Cross Cove with her estranged father and his new family--and the infamous Duvals. Since the youngest member of the Duval family, Edison, is back from c...

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Title:Happily and Madly
Author:Alexis Bass
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Happily and Madly Reviews

  • Kristin

    4.5 stars... that was a smart, engaging, totally appropriate YA mystery!!! Not too heavy, not too light, just right. I can't say too much b/c it's always, ALWAYS better going into any mystery knowing nothing ;) I was completely satisfied with the ending, too. No cheese here... okay, maybe a wee bit but totally fits.

  • Alexa

    Happily and Madly by Alexis Bass was a character-driven mystery that struck a perfect balance between compelling pageturner and slow burn read. How can a pageturner also be a slow burn? Basically I was pulled in and compelled to come back to the book over 3 successive nights, but the writing was moody, languid, warm and easy to slip into like the perfect bubble bath... I didn't want to rush because I wanted the read to last.

    First I am disappointed in myself that this is the first Alexis Bass boo

    Happily and Madly by Alexis Bass was a character-driven mystery that struck a perfect balance between compelling pageturner and slow burn read. How can a pageturner also be a slow burn? Basically I was pulled in and compelled to come back to the book over 3 successive nights, but the writing was moody, languid, warm and easy to slip into like the perfect bubble bath... I didn't want to rush because I wanted the read to last.

    First I am disappointed in myself that this is the first Alexis Bass book I have read. I love her writing style. It's crisp and cultivates a mood without being flowery, and every character was astutely drawn and both easy and not-so-easy to pin down. I ached with empathy for Maris in particular, but also Chelsea, and felt that emotional attachment to the main character and the wrongs done against her that I love in a good book: I was so upset on her behalf, so desperate for her to lose her cool and say precisely the perfect biting words to her estranged father--really castigate him and put him in his place. Many books really disappoint on this front, or they take it too far, with a soap opera-like confrontation, but the book left me very emotionally satisfied.

    But, okay, so let's get to my ONE quibble, and that's with the back cover copy/pitch for the book. It wasn't misleading, per se, but it doesn't do the book justice! The blurb really makes it seem like this is a ticking clock book, that the fortune teller's prediction that Maris will die before her 18th birthday is an essential aspect of the book's narrative drive--but it's not. Maris doesn't even take the fortune teller seriously? And I am glad for it: I wasn't sure I wanted to read a book with that pulsing backbone, and this book is so much more than a juicy hook?

    No, Happily and Madly is a character and setting/mood driven barely-can-call-it-a-thriller-thriller--and it really hit the spot. Bass nails the "lower class outsider experiencing a time among f*cked up rich people," which is almost a genre unto itself, and I loved every second of it. Cape Cove leapt off the page, as did all the ridiculously wealthy and wannabe wealthy people, and I loved all the yachts, masquerade parties, badminton... high class society with dark secrets happens to be one of my favorite subgenres in mystery thriller, so if that sounds up your street, you might love this too.

    Now, let's talk about the romance in the book... first off, the book smacked me in the face with an early plot twist that should have been painfully obvious, but the execution is well handled. In the first 20 pages, Maris discovers a boy on a small island who is running for his life, and she saves him. I was like WHAT IS THIS BOOK and it only develops from there. But the pacing and tone isn't high octane thriller--what I enjoyed so much was all these soapy elements unfolding in a very measured manner. The focus is character relationships, not plot twists.

    I have one spoilery warning that involves cheating. Details under the cut.

    One thing I really enjoyed: there isn't any girl-hate in the book. The feelings Maris has for and relationships she has with her step mother and step sister are well handled. It would have been so easy to make Trisha the bad guy, or make Chelsea the annoying try-hard stepsister, but Maris is very empathetic and the book doesn't fall into easy tropes of her being bitter and hating everything.

    I'll say that the book's twists get a bit muddled at the very end, mostly because the focus of the book isn't the unfolding mystery and thus there's a lot to fit in in very little space at the end, but because the focus of the narrative wasn't the mystery, but the relationships, I didn't mind.

    That said, readers expecting a high-octane or spooky (b/c of the fortune teller) thriller read might be disappointed. That's not what this is. But I loved it.

  • McKenna Studrawa

    This book was absolutely riveting. I was not expecting any of the plot twists and everything kept becoming more and more bizarre. It reminded me of We Were Liars, yet I definitely feel like I liked this book more. Definitely give Happily and Madly a chance.

  • Mrs.

    I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of Happily and Madly. I absolutely ADORE this novel. It was heart-pumping, heart-crushing, and heart-warming all at once. So many secrets. Lies. I especially loved the suspense of Finn's life and the risk-taking behavior that he and Maris shared. I will INTENTLY search for and read work from this author again.

    Thank you to NetGalley and Alexis Bass for the ARC!

  • Michele

    4 1/2 "shooting" stars!

    Maris was spending the summer with her father and his "new family." Their relationship was already a rocky one as he had left Maris and her mother and married his pregnant girlfriend and adopted her daughter, Chelsea, who just happened to be the same age as Maris.

    They head to Cross Cove, a beach where the wealthy vacation. Chelsea is beyond excited because her boyfriend, Edison and his family will be there also. Therefore, Maris and the "New Browns" (as she calls her fathe

    4 1/2 "shooting" stars!

    Maris was spending the summer with her father and his "new family." Their relationship was already a rocky one as he had left Maris and her mother and married his pregnant girlfriend and adopted her daughter, Chelsea, who just happened to be the same age as Maris.

    They head to Cross Cove, a beach where the wealthy vacation. Chelsea is beyond excited because her boyfriend, Edison and his family will be there also. Therefore, Maris and the "New Browns" (as she calls her father and his new family) spend an inordinate amount of time socializing with the uber wealthy at Cross Cove. In the midst of all of this, several mysterious things occur, leaving Maris with unanswered questions and nagging doubts.

    Happily and Madly had a great undercurrent (pardon the pun) of mystery tucked in with the family dynamics that were also at play. It was the first book I've read by Alexis Bass and was a very pleasant surprise. I will definitely have to check out her previous works.

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  • Nicole ❤

    No

    Young Adult Mystery/Thriller

    First person.

    No.

    Cheating/Infidelity. Violence: Gunshots / Knife Wounds / Death Threats

    you are looking for a slow burn mystery.

    Happily & Madly is my first Alexis Bass book, in spite of having known of the author. Her other books sitting in my TBR for forever. Sorry, Alexis Bass, I now regret that because your writing is so good! There's something about it that makes you keep turning the page even if the book's pace is actually quite slow.

    Maris is sent vacationing to Hampton-ish style Cross Cove to be with her father, George, and his new family. Maris has a tendency to treat trouble as a friend and follow it whether she goes, perhaps a result of the divorce his parents had years ago.

    Maris meets his father's new family, including her new step-sister, Chelsea, who is almost the same age as her. Chelsea, is very kind, trusting and naïve to a fault, and is also very in love with her boyfriend, Edison. Maris would also be having a close encounter with a boy, Finn, when she saves him on the island her first day there.

    The story revolves around Maris' trouble seeking tendencies, a whole lot of mysterious things, her impulsiveness and basically being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Whatever you have read in the blurb, ignore that. This book actually needs a new blurb because their description seems to promise something that the book is not actually about. So, if you will be put off by that, I guess this book is not actually for you.

    If you are also easily troubled by morally grey characters, because there is infidelity here. You might want to rethink reading this. Having said that, I always have a weakness in reading about morally grey things and characters doing the wrong things, so this book was great for me.

    If you can look past that, Happily & Madly is a great character/mood based thriller that will have you emotionally invested all throughout. There is a balance of romance, mystery and family drama that kept me on my toes. Even the support characters will grab on your heartstrings, watch out for Chelsea and Sepp.

    Overall, it was a very interesting read and I glad I picked it up.

  • Lindsay

    I was hoping this would take on a We Were Liars vibe, but I was dissatisfied as the story progressed and everything remained the same. I didn’t realize this until after 36% since up until that point the plot was still setting up. Maris is spending the summer with her father, his new wife, her stepsister, and her infant half-sister in the coastal New England town of Cross Cove. She goes exploring in the woods on her first day there and sees a bleeding and bruised guy limping away from something.

    I was hoping this would take on a We Were Liars vibe, but I was dissatisfied as the story progressed and everything remained the same. I didn’t realize this until after 36% since up until that point the plot was still setting up. Maris is spending the summer with her father, his new wife, her stepsister, and her infant half-sister in the coastal New England town of Cross Cove. She goes exploring in the woods on her first day there and sees a bleeding and bruised guy limping away from something. Her decision to help him hide from a posse of guys is the tipping point for everything else that follows.

    This read like a journal entry by skipping through actions and steps and only focusing on the highlights. Maris was bland and unemotional, her stepsister Chelsea was fascinated with living happily ever after with her boyfriend Edison, and Edison was two-faced, showing his true self secretly around Maris while being the shiny, rich, handsome boyfriend to Chelsea and constantly impressing the family.

    Mysteries are implanted every now and then when Maris follows and eavesdrops on people. She always gets caught which grew old since you knew what would happen when she trailed someone. I knew from that start that Edison’s family was fake, from their glistening smiles to having Maris’ family over every day to enjoy the luxuries of the rich life. The reveal was pinpointed from the beginning and the lack of action and suspense knocked the rating down for me.

    If anything, this reminded me of The Lies They Tell by Gillian French, except this was portrayed better.

    Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.

  • Giulia

    TW: drugs, alcohol, death

    Truly, for once, I’m going to keep this Rather Random Review™ short (and thus slightly underwhelming).

    This should have been a thriller but it was too slow moving to actually

    thrilling.

    It had interesting twists and turns and I truly liked Maris – the main character. She was fierce, incredibly cunning and super smart. I’d say that she was an amazing Slytherin type of character. Being in her head was engrossing and I liked her perspective on

    TW: drugs, alcohol, death

    Truly, for once, I’m going to keep this Rather Random Review™️ short (and thus slightly underwhelming).

    This should have been a thriller but it was too slow moving to actually

    thrilling.

    It had interesting twists and turns and I truly liked Maris – the main character. She was fierce, incredibly cunning and super smart. I’d say that she was an amazing Slytherin type of character. Being in her head was engrossing and I liked her perspective on things. She was complex, noisy and a bit of a trouble-maker – and I really liked it.

    I also overall thoroughly enjoy the writing style. It was straightforward but also had its flowery and purple moments that made the reading experience unique and good.

    So, the only problem of

    was the pace.

    It was too slow, and after a while I got bored of the build-up and just wanted this book to end. I was 76% in and I realized that nothing had happened. That's not normal :/

    I was also not particularly a fan of the cheating-romance kinda trope. It's simply not my cup of tea.

    Maybe it’s because I’m in a bit of a

    slump, but I thought this book was tedious and not really thrilling.

    The characters and their dynamics were truly amazing, and the writing style was also very good. It was a pity, though, that the plot did not perfectly deliver, in my opinion.

    With a cover like this, I would have preferred to love

    just so to have an excuse to buy it, but it was average and a bit boring. Hence I won't add this book to my shelves, unfortunately.

  • Anna Mullins

    I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Maris, the rebellious but kind teenager. Edison, the troubled but loving boy who just wants to be loved. Chelsea, the purest and genuine girl, who despite her circumstances always sees the best in people. I enjoyed the story and how the twists unraveled. I wish there was more of an ending, however. I was left feeling like there was a little more to tell.

  • PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    2 STARS

    Maris arrives in Cross Cove to spend the summer with her father and his new family, including Chelsea, the daughter of his new wife whom he adopted. On her first night Maris saves a boy named Finn, who happens to be Chelsea’s boyfriend Edison. Soon Maris is embroiled in a deadly mystery.

    I thought I was going to enjoy HAPPILY AND MADLY from the beginning. I liked Maris, who had been in more trouble than most eighteen year olds and also had insight into her behaviors. I loved that Alexis Ba

    2 STARS

    Maris arrives in Cross Cove to spend the summer with her father and his new family, including Chelsea, the daughter of his new wife whom he adopted. On her first night Maris saves a boy named Finn, who happens to be Chelsea’s boyfriend Edison. Soon Maris is embroiled in a deadly mystery.

    I thought I was going to enjoy HAPPILY AND MADLY from the beginning. I liked Maris, who had been in more trouble than most eighteen year olds and also had insight into her behaviors. I loved that Alexis Bass avoided the mean step family trope and other overused YA themes.

    HAPPILY AND MADLY starts painfully slow and takes over half the book to set up the unbelievable plot. Maris proves to be a better sleuth than the hapless FBI agents, outsmarting them at every turn. The mystery was complex, not very relatable and completely impossible.

    I don’t understand the comparisons to WE WERE LIARS except for the immense wealth.

    HAPPILY AND MADLY kept me interested enough to finish the book, but I’ll never reread it.

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