Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen

I picked up this book before Christmas because it was on the list of Red Maple books. It sounded great with the review, but to be honest, the cover didn't grab me, so it just sat on my book shelf. I needed something to read the other night, and I knew I needed to read this one, so I decided to give it a go. Am I ever glad I did! Don't be fooled by the cover, this book is complex and deals with very serious issues. Henry K. Larsen is a 13 year old boy who is learning to deal with a very traumatic event. It is hard to go into many details, because one of the beautiful things about this book is the clever way Nielsen reveals details about Henry's past. Henry finds himself in a small town starting over again. He wants to just fly under the radar, but he finds that very challenging to do. He becomes friends with the boy nobody wants to be friends with and joins a group at school with other misfits. Slowly, Henry starts to heal from the event in his past, but while he is healing, he is forced to make some decisions about how to move forward. Henry is a great character. He has a great sense of humour and honesty as he learns to cope with his new reality. I think he is one of those characters that will stay with me for a long time. There are some mature themes in this book, I would still have it in my classroom- it is on the Red Maple list- but I would suggest teachers read it first before having it on their bookshelves. I really think many boys would enjoy reading it.

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