See You at Harry’s

See You at Harry'sSee You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to love this book and then part way through I wanted to be disappointed in it and in the end it won me over. I find that my reaction to a book can be colored by the surrounding books I am reading. This book came on the heels of “Wonder” and “Out of My Mind”, which are pretty tough acts to follow. There is a sense that currently all children’s lit must tackle the issue of Bullies.
Each story seems to cover a different subject of persecution but the theme is consistent. In this case the topic is homosexuality. My issue with this is, believing that early adolescents can be so certain about their sexuality at this stage in their development. Sadly, I believe that the bullying often forces kids into a stereotype simply because they seem different. Adolescence is all about finding ourselves and our walk in life, I hate to see any kid pigeon-holed for the sake of an axe society has to grind. Although the topic of sexual orientation was carefully dealt with in this story I would not hand this book to middle-grade readers.
The rest of the story, was quite a tear-jerker. At the risk of being a spoiler, I will leave it at that. It took me a large portion of the book before I really engaged with the characters in this family. I liked the children, but the parents irritated me. I suppose they were intended to to some extent. didn’t think I had connected with the characters enough to empathize with the sorrow I knew was coming. But in the end I did. All the character flaws became more real within the context of grief.

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