See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
First things first. This book made me cry like a baby. It is the Steel Magnolias of middle grade fiction.
When we meet 12-year-old Fern, she is just about to start middle school. She has some average-type problems - parents that can be embarrassing, siblings that can be annoying, a friend whom she might have a crush on, and the worst bus driver ever. But all of that changes about halfway through the book when her average-type problems are eclipsed by a devastating accident that blindsides the whole family.
(Side note: It also blindsided me. I was lured by the ice cream cover into thinking this was a lighthearted romp. Which is what I get for not reading the inside flap.)
Author Jo Knowles does an amazing job here. The characters are well-developed and Fern's often conflicted perspective is right on. I love the way the siblings have each other's backs, and how there are still moments of levity even as the characters are struggling to come to terms with their grief.
This book might not be for everyone. It is not a lighthearted romp. But it has such a healing touch and is so emotionally honest that I'd definitely recommend it.
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