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See You at Harry's [Kindle Edition]

Jo Knowles
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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. 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.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month for Kids, May, 2012: 12-year old Fern just wants to be normal. Instead she must endure her father’s endlessly embarrassing advertising ploys to boost the family business and the invisibility that comes with being the middle child in a family of strong personalities….including her adored younger brother Charlie. While everyone seems to be too busy for Fern—her mom dotes on Charlie, her brother Holden is mysterious and absent, and her sister Sarah seems not to care—Fern is left feeling she is all alone. But when a sudden tragedy occurs, Fern’s family must learn to stick together to overcome their grief and sadness. With engaging characters and an endearing protagonist who transports the reader back to the tumult of adolescence, See You at Harry’s is the kind of book that will make you laugh, cry, and wish you could go back and read it again for the first time. --Heather Dileepan

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up-Twelve-year-old Fern is quiet and conciliatory, and often taken for granted. Left to take care of whatever the rest of the family members are too busy to deal with, she feels alone and resentful. Dad is constantly trying to boost business for the family restaurant, Mom is always escaping to meditate, Sarah is spending an embarrassing post-high school gap year working in the restaurant, and Holden is teetering on the verge of announcing his sexual orientation. The glue that holds the family together is three-year-old Charlie. Everyone's biggest joy, and sometimes Fern's biggest pain, Charlie's uninhibited glee in life keeps everything in perspective. Then, while in Fern's care, a freak accident takes Charlie's life. What starts out as a wonderfully realistic look at growing up in a semi-dysfunctional middle-class family turns swiftly into an equally realistic portrait of profound loss and guilt. Knowles's novel (Candlewick, 2012) takes us step by painful step through the days leading up to the funeral, the day of the funeral, and onto the impossible process of getting back to "normal" life. Kate Rudd gives a brilliant performance as, through the eyes, heart, and soul of Fern, she gives voice to the full breadth of grief experienced by each member of the family. Listeners are taken through every stage of the dark, heart-wrenching grieving process with throat constricting immediacy, and then led slowly back into the light. A beautiful, if painful, story delivered with remarkable clarity and sensitivity through an exceptional performance.-Cary Frostick, Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Product Details

  • File Size: 391 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (May 8, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007PVOFIK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,289 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully composed tradic story for MG readers May 30, 2012
Format:Hardcover
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wrenching read, but message conveyed very well July 30, 2012
Format:Hardcover
Perhaps like most kids about to start middle school, Fern is simultaneously dependent on and horrified by her family. She loves them, but at the same time, they annoy the heck out of her. Her dad, who runs the town ice cream shop and has grand visions of taking on Ben and What's-His-Face, constantly enlists his family to appear in advertisements for the restaurant. Her mom, who named all four of her children after characters from books, compensates for the ice cream parlor by feeding her kids aggressively healthy vegetarian dishes.

Fern's two older siblings, Sara (named after A LITTLE PRINCESS) and Holden (named after THE CATCHER IN THE RYE), have their own dilemmas. Sara, who's taking a gap year while she figures out where (or whether) she wants to attend college, just wants privacy from her well-meaning parents, but that's hard to find when she works at the family restaurant. Holden is mercilessly tormented by the bullies on the school bus, and despite Fern's reassurances, he's terrified of coming out as gay to their parents.

And then there's Charlie, named after CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. Fern loves three-year-old Charlie (of course she does), but she also finds him draining. He clearly adores her and likes to show her by pulling her ears and calling her "Ferny." Fern never asked for a baby brother when she was nine, and now that she's almost a teenager, the last thing she wants is to feel like she has to take care of him all the time.

Fern's family is a lot like most families --- they take each other for granted a lot of the time. But when tragedy strikes in the sharpest and most unexpected way, they must redefine and reestablish relationships with each other, even as they all figure out how to move forward both individually and together.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt and Heartbreaking Middle Grade November 26, 2012
Format:Hardcover
I never thought I would be into reading middle grade books, myself being 25+ I didn't think i'd be able to find anything relatable in these stories, but i've honestly read quite a few this year, and its totally changed my opinion. See You at Harry's definitely takes the cake for the best middle grade book i've read this year. Anyone can relate to this story despite your age. Everyone has family in some shape or form and dealing with grieve is unfortantually a part of life.

I haven't read any of Jo Knowles other books although I do have a copy of Pearl sitting on my TBR which definitely has moved its way up my list to be read, because I found her writing to be truly breathtaking. She wrote pain and utter heartbreak in such a geniune way. The characters were all so unique and I loved that all of the kids had literary-related names!! Something every booknerd can appreciate.

I voted for this book in the goodreads book awards for 2012 and although it didn't make it into the final round I still think It's a book that anyone of any age will love. It's heartfelt and heartbreaking and truly showcases Jo Knowles as a superstar of a writer. This might have been my first read of Knowles, but it definitely will not be my last.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Letters Inside Out July 25, 2012
Format:Hardcover
I've heard these people saying books need ratings - maybe I need ones with emotional ratings. Not so much for content...just to be prepared. Obviously, I loved it. I finished it within a few hours, but I'm left this devestated mess. I have a feeling I'm going to be haunted forever.

See You at Harry's is the story of Fern and her family. Her dad has become a slight workaholic, but he means well. Her mom is wonderful, but slightly stressed and distracted. Her sister, Sara, is lonely, because all of her friends have gone off to college and she opted to take the year off. Holden (<3) is discovering himself and trying to come to terms with his sexuality. And three years earlier their parents announced a "surprise" baby, Charlie. He's the typical little brother who loves his sister. She finds him annoying, but what big sister doesn't? (Plus each of the kids is named after a book character - how can you not love that?!?!)

Knowles has managed to capture and develop each character so amazingly. Sure, See You at Harry's is focused on Fern, but there is just so much happening to everyone. I fell in love with this family, their friends, and their coworkers.

Twelve is one of those ages where everything is so major, from having to star in a commercial with her family to a tragedy that strikes midway though. (Tissues!!!) I have to admit, at the midway point I didn't know if I could finish the book. I got on Twitter and vented a bit. Then I tried to go back to sleep, but it kept haunting me. So, up I went and back to the pages. Due to the happenings, everything from that point on is kind of bittersweet. It's the type of book that if it had a "happily ever after" ending it would take away from the power of the book.

I have to admit, I typically don't read middle grade.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Quick read but cute.
A cute read that ends rather quickly. It's a coming g of age book for the characters Holden and fern but not too much development for anyone else. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Katherine A. Hebert
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing story
this book is so good i love it ! itbgoes really deep ino her feelings at the end when someone she loves s much dies. I criwd so many times in this bok its not even funny
Published 1 month ago by dilemma
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It was amazingly beautiful
Published 1 month ago by Chyna Covington
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly real!
This book is amazing! Okay, I'll admit when I first bought this book, it was solely for the cover. My friend and I bought it at the same time and finished at the same time, with... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Live & Laugh
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
This book was recommended by my best friend on earth and it totally broke my heart into a million pieces. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Alyson Belden
4.0 out of 5 stars good tween book
My daughter was reading this at school and she would come home talking about it, so I was curious and read it myself. Deals with a lot of life events well, was a well written book!
Published 2 months ago by S. Allison
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Five stars indefinitely, beautiful writing.
Warning there is a very heart-breaking moment.
This book is best for fifth through eighth grade. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mara K. Ford
5.0 out of 5 stars Will make you feel like you are in the family and you will be ...
Will make you feel like you are in the family and you will be crying as the book goes on. Loved this book good for middle school kids and even adults!!!!!!!!!!!
Published 3 months ago by Kmuller
4.0 out of 5 stars Really Great!
I'm extremely picky when it comes to Middle Grade books. Due to this, I tend to avoid them most of the time because when I do read them, I'm notoriously hard on them and my rating... Read more
Published 5 months ago by endlesswonderofreading
4.0 out of 5 stars Favorite book EVER
This is my favorite book in the world...... and I have read a lot. This book might be a little inappropriate for children under the age of 13. But over all best book EVER!!!!!!!!
Published 5 months ago by Gerald Allgood
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More About the Author

Jo Knowles is the author of Living With Jackie Chan, See You At Harry's, Pearl, Jumping Off Swings, and Lessons from a Dead Girl. Her newest book, Read Between The Lines, was called "masterfully woven" in a starred review by Kirkus. Some of her awards include two SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards, a New York Times Editor's Choice and Notable Book, the PEN New England Children's Book Discovery Award, an American Library Association Notable, Bank Street College's Best Books for Children (Outstanding Merit), and YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults. Jo has a master's degree in children's literature and teaches writing for young adults in the MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University. She lives in Vermont with her husband and son.

To learn more about Jo, visit www.joknowles.com or follow her blog on LiveJournal at http://livejournal.jbknowles.com.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/JoKnowles
Facebok: http://www.facebook.com/JoKnowles

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