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See You at Harry's [Hardcover]

Jo Knowles
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)

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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. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Review

Sit back in a comfortable chair, bring on the Kleenex and cry your heart out... Prescient writing, fully developed characters and completely, tragically believable situations elevate this sad, gripping tale to a must-read level.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

SEE YOU AT HARRY'S offers, on the one hand, a deft and delicate handling of commonplace traumas — how to negotiate bullying on the school bus, what it means for everyone in a family when a teenager comes to terms with his sexuality — and, on the other, the enormous and mercifully rare drama of a child’s accidental death. And while the distinction between these narrative elements — their disparate weights — may seem to an adult huge, Knowles is aware that a child’s perspective is somewhat different.
—The New York Times

This novel is reminiscent of classics like LITTLE WOMEN in its exploration of the often difficult, always powerful bond among siblings. Despite its classic, timeless themes, however, it also touches on such contemporary issues as the dangers of bullying and sexual orientation... Young readers will eagerly turn the pages of this perfectly paced novel and will care deeply about what happens to Fern and her siblings. The story is so authentic and captivating that readers will come to love Fern’s family and feel a part of it. When tragedy strikes, readers will feel the blow almost as intensely as the family does. Readers will savor every bite of this bittersweet novel.
—VOYA

Sometimes your heart has to break before it can heal. SEE YOU AT HARRY'S will make you weep, but it will also fill your soul with the extravagant gift of love. This may be the most beautiful book ever.
—Lauren Myracle

Heart-breaking, soul-sustaining, and all-around beautiful.
—Rebecca Stead

SEE YOU AT HARRY'S is one of the most beautiful, moving books I've ever read. Full of laughter, love, and tears, it will break your heart and put it back together again, with a little more light, a little more hope than there was before.
—Kate Messner

This story of an imperfect but loving family and how it holds together through shattering tragedy as well as everyday complications is full of true heart. Jo Knowles' love for her characters shines through on every page.
—Sara Zarr

SEE YOU AT HARRY'S is a beautiful, deeply moving story-one never shying from the flawed truths that come from being part of a big, messy family. I finished the book the way I do every Jo Knowles novel: holding it close, not wanting to let go.
—Nova Ren Suma

Jo Knowles writes a family you know in your bones-their routines, rituals, petty gripes, recurring jokes-which is why it about kills you when something equally real and terribly unexpected threatens their very existence as a family. Thankfully, Knowles brings hope-first a flicker, then a big, booming beacon of it. I loved it.
—Linda Urban

Jo Knowles has crafted a shimmering, pitch-perfect novel of love, loss, and resilience which finds the beauty in the small joys of everyday living, the comfort in the often-infuriating bonds of family, and the gentle hope that grows from the heartbreak of tragedy. Beautiful and life-affirming.
—Libba Bray

About the Author

Jo Knowles is the author of the young adult novels Lessons from a Dead Girl, Jumping Off Swings, Pearl, and See You At Harry's. She has a master's degree in children's literature. Some of her awards include the PEN New England Children's Book Discovery Award, YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults, YALSA Quick Picks Top Ten, YALSA's Popular Paperbacks, International Reading Associations Young Adult Choices List, Tayshas List, and Bank Street College's Best Books for Children (Outstanding Merit). Jo lives in Vermont with her husband and son.
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