Excerpt from See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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See You at Harry's

by Jo Knowles

See You at Harry's
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  • First Published:
    May 2012, 0 pages
    Aug 2013, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

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“Yay!” Charlie yells, and runs over to hug Eric’s legs.

We all look at my mom. “Um, wow, honey!” she says. “I had no idea!” She makes an apologetic face at us, but she knows very well there is no amount of money that is going to make us be OK with this plan. “That’s why it’s a surprise!” my dad says. He’s beaming, as if this is the best idea he has ever had. “OK, OK. Let’s get set up.” He puts his hands on my shoulders and walks me backward so I’m standing under the huge sign in front of the restaurant. “You look terrific, sweetheart!” he says in my ear. His stale coffee breath is particularly pungent.

“ Holden? You next. Right here beside Ferny.”

“I want Ferny!” Charlie whines. He grabs hold of my legs so tightly, I almost fall over.

“ Watch it!” I yell. “And don’t call me Ferny!” I hate that name.

“ Daddy said it first!”

“You’re not Dad!”

“Stop it, Fern,” my mom says. “He’s paying you a compliment.” Any time Charlie bugs me and I complain about it, my mom tells me I should be flattered. Flattered because he’s the only one in this family who ever pays any attention to me? I don’t think she gets how insulting that is.

My dad continues to line us up so that finally Sara, Holden, and I are squeezed in between my mom and dad. My dad picks up Charlie and perches him on his shoulder.

“I’m not doing this,” Sara says, stepping out of line. “Now, look, honey,” my dad says. “I’m paying these people a lot of money. And with any luck, we’ll get it back tenfold when the business starts booming.”

“I don’t want business to boom. That’s just more work for me.”

“More money for you, sweetheart,” my dad says through gritted teeth. “You want your own car to take with you to college next year?”

My sister perks right up. “Seriously?”

My dad nods. “Now try to look happy.”

Sara gets back in line, and we all plaster on our happy faces.

“Just try to act normal,” Eric says, fiddling with the camera lens.

“That’ll be a first,” Holden mumbles.

“That’s us, one big normal family,” I whisper back.

“Hush, you two,” my mom hisses.

“ Harry, you ready?”

We all look at my dad. His name is George.

“ Ready when you are!” my dad says.

Eric holds up his hand and counts silently on his fingers. Five, four, three, two, one, then points to my dad.

“ WELCOME TO HARRY’S!” my dad booms. Holden’s sweaty arm rubs against mine. My mom is stiff behind me. I hope the camera is zoomed in on my dad because I think I cringed when he started talking. I try to smile as he lists off the most popular flavors of ice cream we sell.

“. . . and our most popular, Dinosaur Crunch!”

I hear Charlie chomp like a dinosaur. My dad laughs way too loud, then clears his throat. “IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN TO HARRY’S, YOU HAVEN’T BEEN TO HEAVEN!” he yells.

Sky motions for all of us to wave. Charlie flaps his arm frantically and shouts, “See you at Hawee’s!” in his worst baby voice yet.

I think my ears are bleeding.

“ Aaaaand cut,” Eric says.

My dad tosses Charlie in the air. “ Great line, buddy!” he yells. “ Should we do another take, Eric? I’m not sure how that came out.”

“Nah, Harry. It was perfect. We’ll cut anything that doesn’t look quite right and pan in on some scenes I’ll take inside. I’d like to film some customers eating cones, sundaes — stuff like that.”

Excerpted from See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles. Copyright © 2012 by Jo Knowles. Excerpted by permission of Candlewick Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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