See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles
(Candlewick Press, 2012, 310 pages)
This book kept getting recommended as a great read so I finally decided to pick it up. See You at Harry’s could be classified as young adult but it also has appeal for middle-grade readers given that the protagonist of the book is 12.
See You at Harry’s centers around the family of a young girl named Fern. Her family owns a local restaurant and her dad is always trying to think of clever new ways to market it to the public. Fern has three siblings, the youngest of whom (Charlie) was a surprise addition to the family. It seems like 3-year-old Charlie gets ALL the attention and it’s something of an understatement to say he annoys Fern regularly.
Fern and her older siblings, Sarah and Holden, are all entering a new phase of life. Fern is entering middle school, Sarah is taking a gap year after graduating from high school, and Holden is entering high school and trying to figure out how to embrace his sexuality. When something terrible happens it’s hard to imagine that the family will ever be able to recover.
Oh man. People said this book would make you cry but I had to put the book down and not read it for a few days. That’s new for me. If you’re looking for a good cry, go ahead and pick this up. The author’s portrayal of guilt, grief and forgiveness in this book is done really well.