Monday, December 10, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: See You at Harry’s

Today’s pick:  See You At Harry’s by Jo Knowles

Candlewick, 2012

From Amazon:
Starting middle school brings all the usual challenges - until the unthinkable happens, and Fern and her family must find a way to heal.

Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible. Her dad is always busy planning how to increase traffic to the family business. Her Mom is constantly going off to meditate. Her sister Sarah, who's taking a "gap year" after high school, is too busy finding ways not to work; and her brother Holden is too focused on his new "friend" to pay attention to her. And then there's Charlie: three years old, a "surprise" baby, and the center of everyone's world.

If it wasn't for Ran, Fern's best and oldest friend, there would be nowhere to turn. Ran is always calm, always positive. His 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.

But when their lives are unexpectedly turned upside down, Fern feels more alone than ever, and responsible for the event that wrenches the family apart. All will not be well. Or at least, all will never be the same.

My Take:

Not many books make me cry, but this one did. I got totally caught up in the story and characters and I had to read it all the way through to find out what happened. This is a moving, heart-breaking story that touches on bullying, fitting in with friends, and family conflicts as well as grief and loss. The cover blurbs from other authors are all true! It’s one of my favourite reads of the year.

As a writer, I’d read this again to study how to write from a first-person point of view. In fact, though I borrowed it from the library, this is a book I’m going to buy for myself and read again.

Favourite quotes:
"From the moment you were born, I could tell you had a special soul. I knew you'd be a good friend. A hero."
“The truth feels like it’s crushing me. Drowning me before I even get up to my knees.”

“Somehow, it makes me feel safe, standing here with my best friend. His arms around me feel like a promise I believe.”

Other info:

Jo Knowles lives in Vermont. Growing up, she always loved writing stories, but didn’t begin to enjoy reading until high school.

On her website, she talks about how important it is for writers to read: “I try to read at least one novel a week. If you want to be a writer, I suggest you try to read a book a week, too. Reading makes us better writers. I’m a firm believer in that.”

 Other books written by this author include:
Pearl (MG)
Jumping Off Swings (YA)
Lessons from a Dead Girl (YA)

For more, visit Jo Knowles’ website.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of the Lost Cities. Visit her blog for an up-to-date list of all the bloggers who are participating and posting about middle grade books today!


  1. This was a really sad book. The cover was almost too happy looking!

  2. This sounds like a really good book. Thanks for sharing about it Andrea.

  3. Wow, Andrea. I can't believe I haven't even heard of this book. Good to know it's one you'd purchase for yourself.

  4. This has been on my list for awhile, but so far, my local library system doesn't have it. I may need to simply purchase it (which is usually something I don't do until AFTER I read a book because I want to know I'll love it and re-read it again and again). This book seems to fit my criteria for purchase.

  5. sounds beautiful! thanks for sharing!!


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