REVIEW: See You at Harry’s

Hello, Cabbages!

A little reminder, today’s a busy day for Written Constellations. As you may have remembered, I participated in #ReadThemAllThon TBR, and finally, I’ve got updates (which will be on a separate post).

One of the books I’ve read for the said read-a-thon, is See You at Harry’s  by Jo Knowles, which will be under the category:

Cerulean City: Cascade Badge–Read a book that might make you cry.

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730639Title: See You at Harry’s

Author: Jo Knowles

Release Date: May 1, 2012

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Page: 310

Format: ebook

Goodreads: Starting middle school brings all the usual challenges — until the unthinkable happens, and Fern and her family must find a way to heal.

Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible. It seems as though everyone in her family has better things to do than pay attention to her: Mom (when she’s not meditating) helps Dad run the family restaurant; Sarah is taking a gap year after high school; and Holden pretends that Mom and Dad and everyone else doesn’t know he’s gay, even as he fends off bullies at school. Then there’s Charlie: three years old, a “surprise” baby, the center of everyone’s world. He’s devoted to Fern, but he’s annoying, too, always getting his way, always dirty, always commanding attention. If it wasn’t for Ran, Fern’s calm and positive best friend, there’d be nowhere to turn. Ran’s mantra, “All will be well,” is soothing in a way that nothing else seems to be. And when Ran says it, Fern can almost believe it’s true. But then tragedy strikes- and Fern feels not only more alone than ever, but also responsible for the accident that has wrenched her family apart. All will not be well. Or at least all will never be the same.



Neatly done, it brought me to tears.

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I already posted a short review on Goodreads. I actually haven’t reviewed a book for quite some time now, and I wasn’t sold on how I was organizing my thoughts in Goodreads, that I’ve decided to make a separate post on my blog.

→ See You at Harry’s wasn’t how I expected it to be. For a middle-grade book, the premise was surprisingly a bit heavy to handle. Indeed, it was an emotional experience for me [and to those who have read this as well]. It focuses on family relationships and individual growth; it teaches acceptance not just of others but of oneself.

In my opinion, the synopsis gives too much away, by stating: But then tragedy strikes- and Fern feels not only more alone than ever, but also responsible for the accident that has wrenched her family apart. 

Upon reading that, I instantly prepared myself, I knew something was about to happen. At first, I patterned my guess to the audience the book was written for, so I thought of possible scenarios that aren’t too hard to digest. I also had close guesses to the actual plot–99%, but I got the character wrong, because I wanted to think of the worst that can happen.

Part of the reason why I can’t come up with a decent review is that, I don’t know how to discuss a book clearly without hinting too much relevant information while doing so.

Character wise, I loved how they were all unique and given life. Each voice were crisp and evident, which made them all stand-out and important. After the life-changing experience, how they adjusted and changed were highlighted; each experienced a different level of impact. The emotions felt by the people within the story made them real, and the story easy to relate with.

One thing I dislike about See You at Harry’s is how the synopsis give too much of the plot away. Like I said, it helps you prepare–to put your emotional pieces in order. It warns you of such unpleasant happenings along the book.

I only gave it 4 stars in Goodreads because it did make me cry–I ugly cried towards the last 20 chapters. However, I am the kind of person who likes being surprised–and as I have said, synopsis was a little too informative and specific than necessary. I haven’t read similar books as much, but if you’re interested with stories that features family relationships, maybe you’d like:

[I haven’t read either of those, but I’m quite familiar with their premise. Hopefully I’ll get to read them soon!]

If you know any other similar book, please do recommend some of your favorites!

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Thank you so much for all the support, Cabbages! Stay tuned for another book review and read-a-thon update within the next hour or two. Keep the hype goin’, tell your friends to subscribe and follow!


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