Hello there everyone! I know, I’ve taken quite the hiatus from blogging as of lately but I think it’s important to do something like this when you’re enjoying it, and when it starts to feel like a chore maybe it’s time to take a step back. SO, step back I did but now I’ve returned. 2013 has started off with plenty of movie watching and book reading over here. If you’re interested in the lists I keep up with on a regular basis, check them out here: Watch List 2013 and 2013 Reading List. (The format on tumblr just makes it extremely easy for me to keep track of over there.) As you can see, I’m going strong on memoir addiction again. (Actually, I’m reading No Limits by Michael Phelps,) but I like to think there’s been some variety thrown in there. Since I ended 2012 on a music and movie heavy suggesting spree, I figured I’d start this off with a book recommendation.
I had previously read Jo Knowles, Jumping Off Swings a few summers ago. I follow her on Twitter, and I had seen much praise for her middle-grade novel, See You at Harry’s. I figured why not throw it into the mix for one of my first YA-ish reads of 2013? Oh.My.Goodness. I was not prepared for the emotional roller coaster I was boarding when I dove into this one. Seriously, let me tell you – I had to take a break from reading and eat dinner because I literally couldn’t see the pages through my tears. (I’m not trying to spoil the story by any means, which if you don’t want details I would say avoid the product description). I like surprise, though. I tweeted Jo Knowles about my breaking heart, ate some dinner, and then finished reading because I had to see how the rest of this beautiful story unfolded.
Author, Libba Bray reviewed this story in a perfect way (in my opinion): “Jo Knowles has crafted a shimmering, pitch-perfect novel of love, loss, and resilience which finds the beauty in the small joys of everyday living, the comfort in the often-infuriating bonds of family, and the gentle hope that grows from the heartbreak of tragedy. Beautiful and life-affirming.”
Some favorites from this story: Fern and her siblings all have names from beloved books! Fern is named from Charlotte’s Web, Holden from Catcher in the Rye, Sarah from A Little Princess, and Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. How awesome is that?!
I read See You at Harry’s right before I went out-of-town with my parents to Savannah for MLK Jr. weekend to celebrate my dad’s birthday. It really had me reflecting on relationships within the family, and all those little quirks that those you shared space under a roof with know. It had me thinking about my own favorite moments with my dad, my mom, my younger brother and truly appreciating the time we’ve had together. Typically we get a long, and a meal together or really anything is an enjoyable experience filled with good conversation and a lot of laughter. Knowles really captured family dynamic, and the perspective of a middle-schooler through Fern. What the world looked like from that angle, the sensitivity levels, the boldness, the confusion and love. Friendship was also a key part throughout the story, and how at times we really have to rely on those who know us best to help us work through some rough stuff life will through out there.
If you haven’t read See You at Harry’s do not snub it for being a middle-grade novel, you are seriously missing out on a deeply touching, heart-warming, truly wonderful story that I’m pretty sure left a permanent mark on my heart.