Monday, May 6, 2013

See You at Harry's

Is it strange for a book blogger to write that she's "back into reading"?  It's the only way I can say it...I can't get enough! After almost half a year of doing anything but reading, I am now glued to my kindle. Maybe it has something to do with all the incredible books I've been checking out.

See You at Harry's got a lot of blog love when it was first released, but I couldn't bring myself to read it because I find the cover dated. When I saw that an educator I really admire, Gary Anderson, adored it, I knew I had to pick it up. I'm so glad I did. This is a beautifully crafted, modern story that makes me want to read everything Jo Knowles has written. (This review was just paused for ten minutes while I read the synopses of all her other books and then looked to see if my school library has them.)

Like many middle schoolers, Fern finds her family embarrassing. She has a mother who spends more time meditating than parenting, a father who will do anything to keep the family restaurant running, a hippie older sister who doesn't seem to be going anywhere, a gay older brother who is coming to terms with himself, and a toddler brother who always seems to be sticky and underfoot. As she navigates her way through the beginning of middle school, she thinks that bullying on the bus is a problem, until tragedy strikes and she must learn how to cope with true problems. I don't want to spoil the book, although I will say that the horrible event is not what I anticipated. What impressed me most was Knowles' descriptions of how the family deals with the unimaginable. It features one of the saddest scenes I've encountered in a long time, leaving me in tears during the D.E.A.R. time at our school. Everything about the novel feels so real, and judging by the dedication, for good reason. When my kindle-happy girls ask me what they should be downloading to read this summer, See You at Harry's will be at the top of my recommendation list.

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