29 May 2012

Tween Tuesday Review: See You At Harry's by Jo Knowles

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great MG reads for tweens! 

Release Date: 8 May 2012
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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Goodreads description:
Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible. It seems as though everyone in her family has better things to do than pay attention to her: Mom (when she's not meditating) helps Dad run the family restaurant; Sarah is taking a gap year after high school; and Holden pretends that Mom and Dad and everyone else doesn't know he's gay, even as he fends off bullies at school. Then there's Charlie: three years old, a "surprise" baby, the center of everyone's world. He's devoted to Fern, but he's annoying, too, always getting his way, always dirty, always commanding attention. If it wasn't for Ran, Fern's calm and positive best friend, there'd be nowhere to turn. Ran's mantra, "All will be well," is soothing in a way that nothing else seems to be. And when Ran says it, Fern can almost believe it's true. But then tragedy strikes- and Fern feels not only more alone than ever, but also responsible for the accident that has wrenched her family apart. All will not be well. Or at least all will never be the same.
My Thoughts...
This is really a great read that I think a lot of MG readers will enjoy.  It deals with a lot of the emotions of being a 12 year old just starting middle school, family dynamics, and the grieving process.  When I started this one, I don't think I was fully prepared for the emotional roller coaster ride that it was going to take me on.  So, while I definitely don't want to spoil anything for you (and I hope you don't find spoilers anywhere else), definitely be prepared for a few moments of truly devastating grief.

Fern is a very realistically written 12-year-old, with the common insecurities that many kids feel at that age.  Older siblings create havoc that gets them notices; younger siblings get all the love and attention.  New schools, new people, changing friends. It's easy to feel invisible. I thought Fern gave readers a very realistic look at the emotions that you deal with at that age--you do a lot of growing up right around the time in life.

The tragedy that rocks Fern's family--I didn't see that coming at all! I mean, obviously you knew that something was going to happen, but the tragic event really creeps up on you. It is the kind of event that is accompanied by painful emotions and tears (well, if you're like me, then there are probably at least a new tears). The character development and family dynamics shift in unexpected ways as a result and it added a whole extra layer to the story.

See You At Harry's tackles the topic of dealing with tragedy quite masterfully.  While this isn't the sort of book that every 10-12 year old will thoroughly enjoy, I think that there are probably a decent number of middle grade age kids dealing with these types of emotions and this book would be a perfect companion.



Really great review!! I still have to read this book. I had the pleasure of going to a book signing a few weeks ago and meeting Jo Knowles and she talked a bit about the book and where the idea of it came from. I could tell that this would be an emotional book. I can't wait to read it. 

Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

Oh no! I'm not for sad reads.  I'll have to know what the tragedy is before I read it.  I'm a sap.  Lol.  Fb review!

Jessi said...

I'll admit that I read the end first (as I usually do, lol) so I kind of knew what was coming but it was still surprising how it happened!

Jessi said...

It was a really fabulous read and super quick.  I'd like to find some time to read Jo's other books as I really enjoyed her writing style. :)

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