See You at Harry's tells the story of Fern, a 12-year-old girl who feels invisible when surrounded by the craziness that is her family. Her older sister is surly and detached, her older brother is consumed with avoiding the school bullies that torment him, her father spends his time dreaming up obnoxious advertising schemes for the family business (a diner/ice cream parlor named - you guessed it - Harry's), and both of her parents spend whatever spare moments they have left doting on Fern's 3-year-old brother Charlie, a Gerber cherub of the highest order who is adored by everyone he meets. Fern just wants to be normal, to fit in, and to get just the tiniest bit of positive attention from... well, from anyone, really. But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the family, any hope of normalcy flies out the window. The family is plunged into grief, and what's worse: Fern feels responsible.
Lauren Myracle, in her review blurb for this book, said "Sometimes your heart has to break before it can heal." That pretty much sums up my experience of reading this book. Fern's story broke my heart -- I mean, really, it ripped it right up into little pieces -- and then somehow, by the end of the book, it was whole again. Jo Knowles created such wonderful characters; I was instantly drawn into their world and cared deeply for them. The story was perfectly paced, making for a quick read. I would have finished it in one sitting, had I not needed to take periodic breaks to go cry and hug my babies. Let me be clear: this is one seriously sad book. But it is also a beautiful book. I can't recommend it highly enough.