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THE RELUCTANT JOURNAL OF HENRY K. LARSEN by Susin Nielsen

THE RELUCTANT JOURNAL OF HENRY K. LARSEN

By Susin Nielsen

Age Range: 12 - 18

Pub Date: Sept. 11th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-77049-372-8
Publisher: Tundra

A young teen reveals through journal entries how he and his family piece their lives back together after a tragedy in this dark but humorous story.

Thirteen-year-old Henry's happy life abruptly ends when his older brother kills the boy who bullied him in school and then takes his own life. Henry refers to this tragedy as "IT." He moves to a new city with his family for a fresh start. To help him cope with IT, Henry's therapist recommends he keep a journal. Henry hates the suggestion but soon finds himself recording his thoughts and feelings constantly, even updating it multiple times per day. He tries to be a loner in his new school but eventually befriends a circle of eccentric outsiders. Though Henry reveals nothing to them about his dark secret, they help him come to terms with his pain. Henry is a likable, sympathetic protagonist, as are the supporting characters in the story. Nielsen injects enough humor into the story to sustain the drama of Henry's ordeal without making it too maudlin or morose, and the honesty with which he confronts his feelings in his journal is both disarming and endearing.

A realistic, poignant portrait of one teen who overcomes nearly unbearable feelings of grief and guilt. (Fiction. 12 & up)