Another Word for Happy

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What does it take to come out of the closet? Since he was thirteen, Caleb has always known he’s gay. Now a college freshman, he falls in love for the first time. If it’s true that love conquers all, then will Caleb finally find the courage to reveal his secret?

In this tale about family, friendship and self-discovery, find out how Caleb discovers the path to the freedom he’s always longed for. Here’s a hint: it involves doing things outside his comfort zone, such as joining a spoken word group!

My Thoughts:

Agay Llanera has yet to write something that I’d dislike. I have been a fan (and a follower!) ever since I read Vintage Love and I knew from that time on that I’d be reading more of her books. Vintage Love was one of the early romance class novellas that instantly captured my kilig bones. Choco Chip Hips tugged at my heartstrings with hiphop and cookies, Once Upon A Player reminded me why I fell in love with volleyball while I was in grade school, and This Side of Sunny had me daydreaming of sun, sea, and shore. She also has a short story contribution to Promdi Heart which affirmed my love for Agay’s writing skills. And now, Agay has again brought out a heart-warming story full of beautiful words and imagery.

Another Word for Happy made me do and feel a lot of things: I smiled, I cried, I laughed, I hummed, I pumped my fist in the air (especially during poetry nights). Agay writes with vivid clarity and her narrative moves with so much emotion; I want to swim in all my feelings.

Caleb’s story may not be that new but it is still worth telling. It’s a story that liberates and inspires but it also doesn’t deny the fact that the journey towards self-acceptance and self-love is not easy. As always said, the struggle is because there will always be risks to weigh and consequences to consider. I can only hope that Caleb will find the strength and the courage to bear life’s challenges in the days to come.

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There are too many heart-warming moments in the story but perhaps the most touching part for me was Caleb’s relationship with his mom. It’s always the family moments like this that never fail to make me teary-eyed. I can only imagine how difficult (and probably heart-breaking) it will be for moms like me to let go of our kids — to set them free and let them live their own lives but still being there for them, even though we don’t agree with their choices.

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Another Word For Happy ended with me sighing in contentment and with a smile on my lips. This may be a coming-out story but I believe it is more than that. It talks of resilience and bravery and the risks to take in choosing to be honest. We all can get a lesson or two (or more) from Caleb’s story: to be brave enough to take risks for the sake of happiness — gay or not, and that self-expression liberates and communication frees — be it in the form of poetry, or music, or hair color, or even bow-ties.

An absolutely wonderful read!

*Thank you, Agay, for the e-copy!

**The pretty quote cards are made by @_jessuiabbie.

About the Author:

Agay Llanera - PhotoAgay Llanera is a freelance writer for television and a published writer of children’s books. She took piano lessons when she was a kid, and wished she hadn’t given them up. Her titles include the following:

Romance: Vintage Love / Once upon a Player / This Side of Sunny

Young Adult: Choco Chip Hips


Contact the author: 


Twitter: agayskee

Facebook: Agay Llanera

Instagram: AgayLlanera

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