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Hold onto your hats, readers, as we dive into the whirlwind of Angie Kim's sensational narrative, "Happiness Falls." Picture this: a father vanishes into thin air, and his family is thrust into a frenzied hunt that uncovers more than they bargained for. This isn't just a run-of-the-mill mystery; it's a spine-tingling rollercoaster that will leave you questioning everything you thought you knew.

Starting off with a bombshell, Kim lures us in with a first line that sizzles: "We didn't call the police right away." With those eight words, we're catapulted into the epicenter of a family in turmoil, a biracial Korean-American clan based in Virginia. What seems like a simple family drama rapidly spirals into a profound exploration of identity, connections, and human emotions.

Meet Mia, a twenty-year-old dynamo with a razor-sharp mind and a tongue that spits fire. Armed with explanations for every twist life throws her way, she remains surprisingly nonchalant when her father and younger brother, Eugene, go AWOL after a casual stroll. "They must have lost their phone," she reasons, masking any concern. But, oh boy, the plot thickens when Eugene, bloody and alone, dashes home, revealing a shocking truth—their father is missing, and only Eugene, grappling with Angelman syndrome and his inability to speak, witnessed the event.

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Fasten your seatbelts, because what follows is a pulse-pounding race against time to uncover the truth behind the father's disappearance. At its core, "Happiness Falls" is more than just a mystery—it's a labyrinth of familial secrets, emotional tapestries, and philosophical musings. The narrative explores the intricate dance of love, language, and racial dynamics, leaving us on the edge of our seats with its tantalizing twists.

Angie Kim, the mastermind behind the award-winning debut "Miracle Creek," does it again, weaving an intoxicating spell that blends mystery, family drama, and a philosophical journey. As the search for Adam, the vanished father, ensnares us, the novel takes unexpected detours. Kim's storytelling prowess brilliantly navigates uncharted territory—neurodiversity, the essence of happiness, and the symphony of human connections.

The narrator of this tale is Mia herself—a quirky, polymath powerhouse who uses her unique perspective to dissect every aspect of life. She's a breath of fresh air in the literary landscape, infusing each page with references ranging from "The Twilight Zone" to profound philosophical theories. The way she unravels the story of Adam's disappearance is as kaleidoscopic as a lava lamp, with colors shifting and blending with every revelation.

Thought-provoking ideas

While the vanishing father serves as the catalyst, the novel evolves into an exploration of thought-provoking ideas. Kim masterfully dissects the relativity of happiness, the way perception shapes reality, and the often misunderstood concept of neurodivergence. "Happiness Falls" isn't just a story; it's a mirror that reflects our society's complexities and challenges preconceived notions.

In a world where sensationalism often overshadows substance, Angie Kim extends a lifeline to authentic discourse. Through Mia's eyes, the narrative redefines understanding and dismantles misconceptions about neurodivergent individuals. The missing-person saga morphs into a thought-provoking odyssey—one that shines a spotlight on the multifaceted dynamics of relationships.

As you journey alongside the family, pursuing answers, "Happiness Falls" ultimately underscores the power of unity, compassion, and the insatiable thirst for comprehension. Kim's riveting tale takes us beyond the surface and into the heart of humanity's collective struggles and triumphs.

In a literary realm crowded with cookie-cutter mysteries, "Happiness Falls" is a beacon of originality, a testament to Angie Kim's storytelling genius. With each turn of the page, Kim redefines what it means to captivate an audience. This isn't just a novel; it's a profound voyage that challenges our beliefs, tugs at our heartstrings, and reminds us that the pursuit of happiness knows no boundaries.

Ahmad Nazir is a UAE based freelance writer