Published by Tundra Books on September 11th, 2012
Genres: Bullying, Contemporary, Middle Grade
Darker than her previous novels, Susin peoples this novel about the ultimate cost of bullying with a cast of fabulous characters, dark humour, and a lovable, difficult protagonist struggling to come to terms with the horrible crime his brother has committed.
What happens to a family after there’s been a suicide in the family? Life goes on and in this case Henry Larsen is trying to live life in the best way he knows how after his brother’s death. When it’s his turn to go to high school, and his friend becomes the victim of another bully, will he stand up and fight?
Henry’s angry most of the time but there’s also a lot of good memories thrown in. He’s a little pudgy, clumsy, and loves watching wresting on TV. Yet he has a great friend Farley who is described as “a rubber ball who bounces back and forth.” Nothing could get that kid down. He was delightful to read. And I’m incredibly glad he became best friends with someone who stood by him and defended him.
Susan Nielsen definitely wrote just like a thirteen year old boy would think, I absolutely loved it. It felt exactly how the characters would act and think. To be dropped into Henry’s life and read his daily thoughts and actions just made me more aware of how bullying is such a horrible and unnecessary action. There’s a lot to be said about bullying, and this was one story that didn’t have an ending because the ending is clearly up to the reader to imagine. Beautiful and thought provoking The Reluctant Journal of Henry Larsen is filled with lessons, heartache, pain, anger, family and friendship. Wonderfully done Susan. I love her style and writing and I can’t wait to pick up her other books.