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Gr 6-9-Based on his therapist's recommendation, 13-year-old Henry begins to keep a journal of his experiences as he transitions to life in a new city, a new school, and in a new apartment with his dad. It's been a year since his older brother, unable to bear a bully's relentless torment, took a gun to school and killed the boy and then himself. Subsequently, Henry's mom has had a breakdown and has been in and out of a psych ward. Nielsen slowly reveals the plot, giving out clues as to what actually happened and the aftereffects of such a tragedy, always through the lens of the younger sibling. Farley, Henry's nerdy new friend who shares his family's love of wrestling, and classmate Alberta complement the story as they aggravate Henry and enrich his life, drawing him out of his anger and grief, and help him open up to others and try to find his way. With fully developed adult and child characters and a solid sense of middle school humor, the author has crafted an insightful and nuanced novel about bullying and suicide, and familial love and resilience.-Kathy Lyday, South Caldwell High School, NCα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Henry, 13, is in therapy, hence this journal. So, fine, he will write all about how his mom is in a psych ward, how his dad is floundering without her, their weird new neighbors, and, oh yeah, the reason they moved in the first place. It’s been less than a year since Henry’s older brother, Jesse, buckled beneath the pressure of bullying and did the unspeakable “IT.” No, they don’t speak of it. Instead, Henry focuses on his dorky new friend, Farley Wong, and comes up with a big idea: he could reunite his parents by raising enough money to buy them all tickets to a Global Wrestling Federation event—their favorite family pastime before Jesse ruined everything. There is quirk to spare here (take, for instance, the home-shopping-addicted neighbor, Mr. Atapattu), but it’s in service of a highly emotional story about a family that blames one another, and themselves, for an unimaginable tragedy. Nielsen’s balance of humor and pathos is finely honed, making this a surprisingly breezy read for so heavy a topic. Grades 5-8. --Daniel KrausSee all Editorial Reviews
This book is full of real life tragedies and teaches you that your family will always be there with you.Published 2 months ago by Johana
amazing story with a powerful heartfelt message. this book not only got me back into reading, it made look differentley at our society. a must read for any teen.Published 6 months ago by cynthia
Susin Nielsen has an amazing flair for creating human characters that feel totally authentic. In this read, Henry K. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Carol Anne Shaw
"The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. larsen" by Susin Nielsen is the first book to make me cry in years. Read morePublished on August 18, 2013 by Amazon Customer
A great book for adults young and old, male or female.
True feelings with a male teenage narrator.
Henry and his dad have moved to a new town in Canada following a family tragedy. His counselor recommends he keep a journal and although journalling is not his cup of tea, Henry... Read morePublished on February 8, 2013 by Heidi G
This is, hands down, the most profound book I have read this year. I think it should be required reading for ALL teachers and school administrators in both high school and... Read morePublished on January 11, 2013 by Kimberly Stark