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Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin
Contemporary fiction

Happy & You Know It

by Laura Hankin

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Quick take

Your sneak peek into the lives of wealthy NYC moms, whose delicious scandals actually make them more relatable.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FastRead

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Snarky

    Snarky

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MamaDrama

    Mama drama

Synopsis

After her former band shot to superstardom without her, Claire reluctantly agrees to a gig as a playgroup musician for overprivileged infants on New York’s Park Avenue. Claire is surprised to discover that she is smitten with her new employers, a welcoming clique of wellness addicts with impossibly shiny hair, who whirl from juice cleanse to overpriced miracle vitamins to spin class with limitless energy.

There is perfect hostess Whitney who is on the brink of social-media stardom and just needs to find a way to keep her perfect life from falling apart. Caustically funny, recent stay-at-home mom Amara who is struggling to embrace her new identity. And old money, veteran mom Gwen who never misses an opportunity to dole out parenting advice. But as Claire grows closer to the cool women who pay her bills, she uncovers secrets and betrayals that no amount of activated charcoal can fix.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Happy & You Know It.
Happy & You Know It

Prologue

New Yorkers are good at turning a blind eye. They ignore the subway ranters, the men who walk with pythons twined around their shoulders, anyone who suggests meeting for dinner in Times Square.

But on one sweltering August afternoon, when the whole city was trapped in a bubble of heat, a woman came running down Madison Avenue in a full-length fur coat, demanding to be noticed. As she sprinted by, encased in a suffocating cocoon of mink, the sweaty customers at the sidewalk café on East Ninety-?­Fourth Street couldn’t help but stare.

Maybe it was, in part, because of her smell—the staleness of the inky black pelt she wore, plus something else, something sickly sweet and stomach turning. Vomit. Dried bits of it crusted the woman’s mouth. Little chunks clung to her hair. She didn’t look like someone who should have smelled that way. She looked rich.

Maybe it was the sleek stroller she pushed in front of her. It glided along the sidewalk, the baby equivalent of a Porsche, but without a baby inside.

Or maybe it was the pack of women chasing her.

Afterward, when the media was just starting to whip itself into a frenzy about the so?called Poison Playgroup of Park Avenue, one witness would tell reporters that he had known the women were dangerous all along. He had sensed it from the moment he saw them—even before they tipped back their heads and started to scream.

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Why I love it

As a mom of four kids, a New Yorker, and the host of a literary podcast, I love reading stories that poke fun at the craziness of modern motherhood, especially those that take place in Manhattan. After long days of caretaking—especially now in the coronavirus quarantine when I’m (supposed to be) overseeing homeschooling—I crave the moment when I can fall into bed and crack open a book that I know will make me laugh. That’s why Laura Hankin’s debut novel, Happy & You Know It, was the perfect read for me.

Laura writes with quick-witted humor and a keen observer’s eye about Claire, an aspiring musician who reluctantly becomes a children’s playgroup entertainer to make ends meet. When her path intersects with one stereotypical Upper East Side playgroup, she becomes a part of their lives in unexpected ways. Not only does she begin to uncover some of their closely held secrets, but she also finds, to her surprise, compassion and a sense of sisterhood.

At times happy, at times sad, Happy & You Know It will remind readers like me that no matter how different women may seem on the outside, when you dig a little deeper to that magical place of vulnerability and truth, we’re really all quite similar. (Just try to overlook the green juice.) Thanks to Laura for providing such an entertaining read during these stressful and uncertain times.

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Member ratings (18,180)

  • Vanessa I.

    Burlingame, CA

    LOVE LOVE LOVE! I finished in 1 day! This is like hulu’s “book club” or “working moms” its just hilarious and gossipy but at the same time you feel for the characters. Such a fast, lighthearted read.

  • Leahlyn C.

    Garland, TX

    I finished this book months ago and I’m still raving about it to friends. Following multiple intertwining story lines that expose a ritzy stay at home city “mommy & me” play group in an explosive way.

  • Adrianne B.

    Macomb Township, MI

    As a mom i could connect well with these women. They seemed like they had the perfect life but they have the same pressure as any mom. Plus there is a twist that keeps them from being your avarage mom group

  • Devon F.

    Clermont, FL

    As a mom of a 3 and 1 year old, I was able to relate to this story. I found it to be a fun read with an unexpected “culprit” and really enjoyed it. I think I’d have liked it even if I wasn’t a mom.

  • Courtney C.

    New York, NY

    Loved this look into the NYC moms who seem to “have it all”. The story is about a young girl who gets swept up into the allure, only to find out that things aren’t as perfect as they seem. Good read!

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