Happy Head

Happy Head

By Author / Illustrator

Josh Silver


Suspense & Thrillers

Age range(s)



Oneworld Publications




Paperback / softback




'We are in an epidemic. An epidemic of unhappiness....  Friends, here is the good news: HappyHead has the answer.'

When Seb is offered a place on a radical retreat designed to solve the national crisis of teenage unhappiness, he is determined to change how people see him and make his parents proud. But as he finds himself drawn to the enigmatic Finn, Seb starts to question the true nature of the challenges they must undergo. The deeper into the programme the boys get, the more disturbing the assessments become, until it's clear there may be no escape...

See book 2:  Dead Happy


Ark - Age 13

HappyHead is genuinely one of the best books I've read. It made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me feel so many emotions at once. It was extremely engaging, I just could not put it down! Be warned that this book does contain mature language and themes, as well as violence and a few mentions of blood, although not too many references/too much blood though.

Suggested Reading Age 14+


HappyHead is a fantastic YA dystopian debut fiction book from Josh Silver about a group of unhappy teenagers who are selected to attend a residential community, 'HappyHead', which promotes wellbeing. Or does it.....?

Sebastian begins the retreat with a mixture of emotions; open to having a go yet guarded about oversharing within his allocated team. From the first day he is attracted to the enigmatic Finneas. Finn is cynical, rebellious and a loner. He does not trust HappyHead's leaders or purpose and is determined to discover the real reason they have been selected for the retreat. Unable to resist, Seb joins him behind the scenes in trying to uncover the mystery. This both identifies them as a threat to the authorities and causes friction with their peer group in their challenge team.

HappyHead is both a thrilling and chilling book exploring dark themes whilst celebrating friendship and romance. It is a compelling read and was difficult to put down as the tension built. The main characters are authentically written, recognisable but not always likeable which I imagine was the author's intention. The themes around mental health and wellbeing are thoughtful and thought-provoking and drawn from the author's own work experience with teenagers.

Please note this book has mature themes and offensive language, hence I would recommend Happy Head to older students and young adult readers.

400 pages / Reviewed by Ruth Cornish, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 14+


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