BookBrowse Reviews See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

See You at Harry's

by Jo Knowles

See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles X
See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2012, 0 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2013, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A novel for young readers about a funny, messy, complicated and loving family, and the bond that keeps them together when tragedy strikes

Twelve-year-old Fern is named after Wilber's first friend in Charlotte's Web. Fern's older sister, Sara, is named after the Sarah in A Little Princess. Her older brother is named after Holden from The Catcher in the Rye, and her three-year-old brother after Charlie in the eponymous Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Not exactly conventional parents, Fern's mother spends as much time as she can meditating in the office above the family restaurant, and her father spends just as much time brainstorming nutty advertising schemes that inevitably involve embarrassing the kids--all but Charlie who is game for anything.

Even though Fern and her siblings are named after fictional characters, and they, in turn, are fictional characters, it's tough to remember that they aren't real. Knowles imagines each one with such resonant details and pitch-perfect emotions that they could easily be the family that lives next door. They're funny, messy, complicated, and loving. They're dealing with emerging sexuality, bullying, sibling rivalry, and all sorts of other typical family and growing-up issues. They are, in a word, real.

Because they are so believable, and because Knowles writes with careful attention to every word in this tight, clear novel, Fern and her family wiggle their way into the reader's heart from the very beginning. Told from Fern's perspective, the plot is skillfully crafted to be both surprising and inevitable, so when a tragedy enters the story it's utterly devastating. The spot where Fern and her family entered the reader's heart becomes a giant fissure. With exacting details and authentically portrayed emotions--which range wide depending on which character is experiencing them--Knowles truthfully and beautifully depicts shock and grief.

Ultimately, Fern and her family find the pinprick of light that gives them the hope they desperately need. They will survive, together. In fact, the only way they'll survive is if they focus on what they unconsciously felt before the tragedy--that they are a connected family. The reader sees this from page one, because Knowles crafts such an emotionally convincing picture of the family. But it takes them a while to see it themselves.

Fern is a good and kind person, just like her namesake in Charlotte's Web. But she's not derivative of E.B. White's Fern. Jo Knowles creates a memorable fictional character that will endure in her own right. See You at Harry's is more than a pinprick of light; it's a bright sun shining down from a cloudless sky, the bright light of hope. And it's this hope that allows the reader's heart to mend itself, and like Fern and her family, the reader is stronger and wiser than she was before.

Reviewed by Tamara Smith

This review was originally published in May 2012, and has been updated for the August 2013 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Real Harry's

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Future Home of the Living God
    Future Home of the Living God
    by Louise Erdrich
    Louise Erdrich began Future Home of the Living God in 2002, set it aside, and picked it up again in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Mrs. Parrish
    The Last Mrs. Parrish
    by Liv Constantine
    Amber has lived in poverty all her life, and she has had enough. Of course, wishing to have money ...
  • Book Jacket: Never Coming Back
    Never Coming Back
    by Alison McGhee
    18 out of 23 reviewers gave Alison McGhee's Never Coming Back a rating of 4 or 5, with an average ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss

A debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Strangers in Budapest
    by Jessica Keener

    Strong characters and a riveting plot combine in this psychological thriller set in Budapest.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E Dog H I D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.