“The very best day of my life, I threw up four times and had a fever of 103 degrees. I was pretty sure I was going to die, and sometimes by the look on my mom’s face every time she took my temperature, I think she was pretty sure, too.”
Fern has spent the past four years invisible, ever since her little brother Charlie turned up, her dad’s restaurant got busy, her mum started trying to find her inner peace and her older brother and sister have their own lives to lead. When tragedy strikes the family is turned upside down and they each have their own issues to deal with. Fern blames herself for what happens and when it comes to facing the rest of the family she fears she cant, things will never be the same again but she would do anything to make them a little better at least.
Excuse me whilst I try and piece my heart back together.
I don’t know how I can write this review, I was told in the publishers pitch that See You at Harry’s would make me cry but I don’t think I’ve cried that much since The Sky if Everywhere by Jandy Nelson and Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson. This book will make even the most stone hearted of readers develop a lump in their throats and anyone who often cries at books, you will need A LOT of tissues.
At the centre of the story there is tragedy. I don’t want to go into too much detail about who this happens too as I don’t want to give the story away. There is also a huge aspect of family life, love, friendship and finding out who you are in this book, especially with Fern’s older both Holden, her best friend Ran and Fern herself.
I absolutely loved each of the characters in See You At Harry’s and how they were their own person, Fern had her support in Ran and Cassie and whilst Ran was a more developed character than Cassie I found them both rounded. Even Gil, Mona and Trevor from the restaurant felt like real characters. I loved Fern’s voice and the relationship she had with some of her family members, both before the tragedy and after.
The element of blame was strong in See You at Harry’s and I know that this is a normal stage of grief but I hated it. I wanted Fern to understand that she wasn’t to blame, that there was nothing she could have done differently to change things. That was almost as heartbreaking as the actual tragedy and I shed a fair few tears because of this too.
This book can be compared to a huge tub of ice cream with a surprise buried at the bottom… you know that its bad for you to eat it all up in one go, its going to hurt you, you’ll get brain freeze (read; sob so much your chest hurts) but you need to carry on, you need to get to the end because its addictive and in the case of the book, you need to know how it ends.
I loved every page of See You at Harry’s and I will be recommending it in the same vein I do The Sky is Everywhere; to EVERYONE. I cannot get over how much I loved this book and I need everyone to read it. I am now going to find Jo Knowles’ other books and get them read.
See You at Harry’s will be published on August 1st by Walker Books. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
For more info please visit: