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The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen

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4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,581 Ratings  ·  329 Reviews
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.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Tundra Books
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Jubilation Lee
So I met Susin Nielsen a few months ago, friends, and quickly realized she was possibly the nicest lady in the history of the world. I called my mom afterwards from the conference hotel room, babbling and over-caffeinated, very much “and then she signed my book, and then she posed for a picture with me while I was holding an alligator, and then we went to a brewery and swapped pizza slices and she commiserated with me about having Swedish in-laws, and then she invited us all to visit her and obv ...more
Michelle (FabBookReviews)
I don't know how she does it.

The 'she' of course refers to Nielsen, author of Word Nerd, Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom, and now The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen. Three consecutively published middle-grade/YA novels I have loved, each one beautifully written, with diverse narrators dealing with consequential subject matters. The Reluctant Journal...is a departure- of sorts- for Nielsen. It is, without a doubt, darker and more uncomfortable than her previous works. The novel dea
...more
Vikki VanSickle
Sep 20, 2012 Vikki VanSickle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, ya, canadian
Henry is my favourite Nielsen protagonist yet. He manages to be sweet and vulnerable without being cloying or un-relatable. Sometimes I worry that male readers don’t gravitate towards sensitive male narrators, but that won’t be an issue here. Henry is too specific to be an “everykid” (thank goodness), but Nielsen has given him lots of traits and worries and interests that will endear him to a wide range of readers.

His grieving process is handled carefully. Henry has moments of anger, fear, regre
...more
Rose Ann
So much to say about this book!
Will write it all up in the next day or two.

A day or two has come and gone. I have not stopped thinking about this book, and how I wanted to put into words how much I loved it.

Honestly, in my own ignorance, I have never really thought much about the families of the shooter, when I hear of these things on the news. I have felt for the shooter in some cases, but never really thought about their families. Always the victims' families. But they are victims also, aren't
...more
Ellen
Sep 14, 2012 Ellen rated it really liked it
Henry K. Larsen’s therapist has suggested that he write down his thoughts and feelings. Like any teenage boy, Henry does so reluctantly. Hence the title.

There are three things I especially like about this book:

1. Suspense: The author uses progressive revelation, doing out little by little what is at the heart of Henry’s troubles. His whole life has changed because of IT, and we read to find out what IT is. (If you read the book jacket, you find out it has something to do with his older brother p
...more
Anidos
Mar 19, 2016 Anidos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would never know about this book if it wasn't for sale last year-end in one online bookstore. One blind-buy that turns out to be one of my best-buys.

This is a story about Henry whose life seems to ruin after his brother Jesse shot his bully and commited suicide afterwards. Written in a form of a journal, it is both heart-wrenching and heart warming. Henry's writing is cynical and raw (and funny) that it makes us feel broken and guilty knowing how society could be so cruel and life could be so
...more
Sandra Dussault
Mar 29, 2015 Sandra Dussault rated it really liked it
Shelves: tordant
J'ai lu "Journal d'un dégonflé" mais c'est tout, je n'avais aucun intérêt pour tous les autres "Journal de..." sur pages lignées ornées de petits dessins faits à la main. J'ai quand même voulu lire celui-là parce que j'avais adoré Word Nerd et que j'avais beaucoup apprécié Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom de la même auteure. Et je n'ai pas été déçue ! Bien que le roman soit écrit sous forme de journal et que l'humour soit très présent, c'est une histoire tragique et triste, vécue par un ...more
Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee
Wow. Just wow. The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen was nothing like what I was expecting. The book description was something along the lines of "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."

Okay. I can deal with some dark humor. Especially when I look at the cover. Doesn't it look light-hearted? I was expecting s
...more
Jenny
Aug 19, 2012 Jenny rated it it was amazing
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen is a dark yet hilarious novel about 13 year old Henry who is still trying to come to terms with the death of his brother Jesse and the awful thing that Jesse did. This book addresses topics like suicide, grief, depression, mental health and bullying.
I loved how this book managed to be so funny while talking about such dark topics. This is mainly due to Henry, the main character. Henry is bitter and angry, a sarcastic and stubborn kid who at first, refuses
...more
Meaghan
I got this book free from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

This is an excellent depiction of a boy and his family family, ripped apart at the seams by violence and tragedy, and how they begin to stitch themselves back together again. The protagonist, 13-year-old Henry, began his diary at the request of his therapist. Although reluctant to write at first (hence the title), Henry came to depend on his journal as a confidant to help him deal with his pain and grief. The characterization of this boy and
...more
Trisha
Gosh! Tough read, even with all the humour and affection.

Well written with terrific pacing and reveals. Henry is a great narrator (coz I couldn't find a way to say person who journals), no matter how reluctant he is.
Kirsty (overflowing library)
I enjoyed The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen. Henry is suffering after the incident. I won't say too much for fear of spoiling it for others but it really shows the impact events have on the wider family group and how people deal with the fallout. It also has a lot to say about the impact of bullying again not just on the individual but also on the wider family. I really liked Henry and very much enjoyed his story.
Michaela
Mar 12, 2015 Michaela rated it really liked it
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen is a great read for high-schoolers although adults may enjoy it as well! I am twenty-one and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The issues the book focuses on are bullying, suicide, family problems, and the aftermath of death which are issues that unfortunately many people in today's society can relate to in one way or another. I enjoyed reading about Henry's inner and outer struggles as he attempts to move past the death of his brother and the struggles tha ...more
ֆǟBʀɛɛnǟ
Apr 21, 2014 ֆǟBʀɛɛnǟ rated it really liked it
Susin Nielson yet again astounds her fans with her new novel about the harrowing journey a young teenager has to undergo after disaster hits him and his family. When Henry's older brother Jesse commits a terrible crime, and then takes his own life, Henry's family is thrown into depression. His mother is sent off to a mental institute, and his father falls into bankruptcy. The life Henry once knew is shattered into a million pieces. Now, as Henry tries to pick up the broken pieces, history threat ...more
Colleen
Jun 20, 2012 Colleen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2012
Wow, I honestly don't have the words right now for how much love I have for this book.
Bailey Lenihan
Mar 01, 2015 Bailey Lenihan rated it it was amazing
I bought this book recently and, having nothing to do today, I picked it up to read a couple pages - and I was hooked! Right from the lead I wanted to know more. By 11 o'clock tonight, I had finished all 243 pages and I knew I had to write a review. The book is about a boy named Henry, who lives with his father in an apartment that they moved into after his brother died and his mother was admitted to a psych ward. I definitely was not expecting the book to have as much of a dark theme as it did, ...more
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy
Aug 31, 2013 Kathy rated it it was amazing
I don't know how many people judge a book by its cover but I have to say that I was not going to read this book because of its cover. It did not appeal to me at all. Then, the book was up for contention for our Battle of the Books so I decided to read it. Thank goodness I did.

Henry K. Larsen has moved away from his family home to live in a cramped apartment with his father. His mother is living with her parents while she sorts some things out. Henry is seeing a therapist to deal with "IT". In o
...more
Liz at Midnight Bloom Reads
Sep 11, 2012 Liz at Midnight Bloom Reads rated it it was amazing
After completely falling in love with Susin Nielsen's Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom a couple of years ago, I couldn't contain my excitement when I got my hands on her new novel. I wasn't too sure what to make of the rather obscure book cover at first, but the premise immediately reeled me in and I couldn't tear my eyes away from its compelling pages. The cover really does make much more sense once you begin reading the novel, tying into aspects about Henry's life really well...

In the
...more
William Stanger
Jun 21, 2012 William Stanger rated it it was amazing
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen is a wonderful book. Once I started reading it I really did find it hard to put down. As may be deduced from the title, the book is the story of Henry K. Larsen written in the style of a personal journal. The reluctance to write the journal is revealed in the story, but it would spoil it to give it away here.

The story is set mainly in British Columbia, with a little bit of Ontario thrown in. I have never read the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books so I'm not sure
...more
Rachel Hartman
Nov 04, 2012 Rachel Hartman rated it it was amazing
Once again, I am utterly charmed by Nielsen's voice and how her characters are so completely themselves. This one deals with a much more serious (and topical) subject than Word Nerd did: bullying, and its most horrifying aftermath. Our protagonist's brother, after enduring years of abuse (some of which is described in graphic, disturbing detail), does the... well, it's not the unthinkable anymore. I wish so hard it were unthinkable, but these kinds of incidents happen and keep happening, which m ...more
Aylee
Oct 29, 2012 Aylee rated it it was amazing
In short: The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen was a wholly enjoyable read with a very important message.


What a lovely, quick read this was! I'm not really sure what I had been expecting of The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen - perhaps just a nice and moral story about bullying - but I had no idea of the depth of the subject matter, nor that I would end up enjoying it so much! Susin Nielsen manages to create a perfect balance of serious and poignant subject matter and c
...more
Alexis
Dec 15, 2012 Alexis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
This was a weird book to read after the shooting in Connecticut, because it deals with the aftermath of bullying and a shooting.

However, this book is amazing. My favourite category of book is funny/sad, and this fits the bill. It's the journal of a 13-year-old who has to deal with the death of his older brother. It's about his grief and how he tries to deal with rebuilding his life. I laughed and I teared up.

This is a beautiful well-written book about a family trying to cope. It was realistic,
...more
Chris
Apr 29, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
I love a novel that lingers. I read a lot as a job hazard, which often means once I finally close the cover on a book I generally leave it behind and mentally move on to the next title on my list. But some books won't let me move on right away, as the characters keep calling to me and my mind keeps replaying their stories. This is one of those books.

I nearly gave this five stars due to my emotional engagement and the tangible nature of the characters, but in some ways it was almost too perfect--
...more
Anne
Aug 26, 2013 Anne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
It would be way too easy to dump this into the "broken boys of YA" category of books, but it is simply much much more than that. With dark humor and almost pitch perfect dialogue, Susin Nielsen profiles the excruiating purgatory that Henry's family falls into after his terribly bullied older brother, Jesse, takes things into his own hands and two young people tragically die - both the bully and the bullied. Thirteen year old Henry and his family are left to pick up the shattered remains of their ...more
Debbie Armbruster
Fantastic! Susin Nielsen, where have you been all my life?!

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen is such a well done book. Believable characters, real reactions/feelings/issues, and the topic is timely. The content is handled with grace, humor and heart. Pair this one up with Kathryn Erskine's Mockingbird and Nicky Singer's Feather Boy. Recommended for grades 7-12.
Jill Guccini
I feel like the cover betrays how serious but wonderful this little book really is. Last year, Henry's brother took a gun to school and killed his bully and then himself. This is the important story of the lives that are left afterward, dealing with both the love and the hate Henry has for his brother and his whole family, and it manages to be heavy but also funny and realistic and good.
Ronna
Mar 18, 2016 Ronna rated it really liked it
This is a very good YA read. Would recommend for students grades 7-9. And for adults who like a good YA read once in awhile!
Melodie1974
Oct 06, 2015 Melodie1974 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canada, ya
Livre pris au hasard et quelle belle surprise. Karine, me semble qu'il te plairait.

After the stupid characters of The Rumor, how great it was to have such complex and realistic ones.

Et quelle histoire touchante. J'imaginais mes bébés qui un jour seront grands et devront peut-être vivre des situations semblables et ça me touchait. Susin Nielsen a réussi à donner une vraie voix aux ados.

I'll definitely read her other books
Rana
Aug 06, 2015 Rana rated it liked it
Apparently I have a thing for middle-grade books about bullying. Who knew that could be a literary fetish?
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Susin got her start feeding cast and crew on the popular television series, Degrassi Junior High. They hated her food, but they saw a spark in her writing. Nielsen went on to pen sixteen episodes of the hit TV show. Since then, Nielsen has written for over 20 Canadian TV series. Her first young adult novel, Word Nerd, was published in 2008 to critical acclaim. It won multiple Young Readers’ Choice ...more
More about Susin Nielsen...

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