Monday, January 14, 2013


Twelve-year-old Fern is often seen as the most dependable, normal member of her family. Her father is solely focused on the success of their family restaurant and is often coming up with embarrassing advertising schemes that involve the entire family. Her older sister Sara is unhappy working in the restaurant after all her friends leave for college, and she is quick to take her anger out on those around her. Her older brother Holden is struggling with his sexuality and faces bullying on a daily basis. Her younger brother Charlie embraces being the wild baby of the family and is always in need of a good cleaning. Finally, her mother, overwhelmed with family and work responsibilities, spends an excessive amount of time meditating in order to find her inner peace. Fern loves her family but has no problem admitting that they drive her crazy. She just wants her parents to notice Holden’s problems and see how badly Charlie needs a bath. She also would not mind if someone paid a little attention to her as well. Jo Knowles’s novel starts off as a realistic coming-of-age story; however, when a tragedy strikes this family, the themes change to grief, blame, and acceptance. 

For many See You at Harry’s will be a tearjerker. Knowles creates well-developed realistic characters that deserve sympathy. Their journey is devastating, but the novel offers hope and catharsis by the end. This book also touches on the issues LGBT teenagers face in a very non-controversial manner. See You at Harry’s is recommended for all libraries, especially for librarians looking to add LGBT titles to a middle school collection.

4 Stars
Grades 7 and up

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