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See You at Harry's Hardcover – May 8, 2012
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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 Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
Top customer reviews
It's about a family restaurant that Fern's grandfather started and her father inherited called Harry's. Harry's serves food and ice cream with ice cream being the focus of getting new customers into the building. As with most family business's all family members work there.
I love the fact that each of their children have been named for favorite book characters; although the teenagers are less than thrilled about that reality themselves. Fern complains that what can she expect from life when she has been named about a character in Charlotte's Web whose only friend was a pig headed for slaughter. I loved Fern's offbeat humor and middle school sarcasm right off the bat. Jo has nailed the middle school quirks and personalities and I can picture the hallways and classrooms perfectly.
The book jacket said that something was going to happen during the course of the book, but my suspicions could not have been farther off track. You'll have to read for yourself to find out what happens.
Bullying is a strong theme in the book as well as finding and being true to oneself. Everyone in the book feels responsible for what happens and each suffers in their own little worlds playing the what if game. But, we must move forward like it or not and Jo has done an outstanding job with the grief and recovery section of the book. The dialogue seems real, the advice perfect.
Readers who have grown up in a small town with a mom/pop business such as Harry's will have memories restored. For the urban residents who may not have ever experienced such a restaurant, Knowles has been true to her setting. Harry's could be found in Anyplace, USA.
Don't miss this new YA novel. You won't be disappointed.