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The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  2,480 ratings  ·  425 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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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  2,480 ratings  ·  425 reviews

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Rebecca McNutt
I loved every page of this book! It really brings back memories of books like Adrian Mole and Go Ask Alice, but instead of being written from the perspective of some patronizing psychology professor, this book is written as though a real teenager wrote it, and its darkly comedic, sometimes lyrical and somber prose is very effective. ...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 a departure- of sorts- for Nielsen. It is, without a doubt, darker and more uncomfortable than her previous works. The novel dea
Jayne  Downes
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen-issues
Great book which will create empathy in a reader on themes of bullying, family breakdown, suicide, grief and then moving on with your life. Story is written from Henry's journal which his psychiatrist has encouraged him to write as therapy, Henry is a wrestling fan which some teens will identify with. Sounds depressing but it has very funny moments and it is believable. A fantastic read for secondary students, not just for boys.
Vikki VanSickle
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, canadian, middle-grade
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
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought Henry K. Larsen was one of the most engaging characters I'd met recently. He is a thinker, a keeper of secrets, a homelife that is challenging and a deeply troubled soul. But for all his troubles, he has a sense of humour, a taste for WWE and a tendency to gather unusual friends. Farley, who befriends Henry at his new school despite Henry's best efforts, is just gorgeous!

I loved the way the big underlying secret was revealed one tiny detail at a time. Henry's journal is a joy and a del
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
Sep 14, 2012 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
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.
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful, sad and insightful book! I absolutely loved it and nearly cried many, many times. It handles a lot of difficult topics such as trauma, bullying and loss with great sensitivity. The characters feel more real than usual in YA, especially the teens, as they are flawed, dorky, just like a bunch of awkward 13-year-olds.
Alex Peachman
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a big fan of Susin Nielsen, and this is my favourite one so far. It is quite a depressing/shocking story about the brother of a school shooter, but as usual with Nielsen it's done with humour and a lot of heart. I particularly like Henry's quirky new school friends and his drippy, but actually quite effective therapist.
Aug 19, 2012 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
Oct 12, 2012 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
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
☼Book her,   Danno☼    thepam
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
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016, nbhs
Henry K Larsen is possibly the cutest character evah! Something terrible has happened to his family and now they are broken as a unit and as individuals. Henry's counsellor suggests he keep a journal as he struggles to come to terms with his life as it is now. Henry does, but reluctantly. Henry has such a genuine voice, he is honest and sometimes hilarious in his observations. I found myself rooting for him right from the beginning, and even when he did some very cruel things I just wanted to gi ...more
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.
Jun 19, 2012 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.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This turned out to be remarkably well done. I think it could pass as a YA book or an adult book from a younger protagonist's perspective. It's certainly engaging, and vivid. It had strong sense of compassion that was addictive and hard to ignore.
Brian Marion
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-alouds
This book is brutally real. Henry experiences some very traumatic things in his life and we hear about all of them by the end of the book. He has few friends but there are a few people that seem to like and care about him. His parents are too wound up in their own problems to be of much help to him. He has a counsellor that he dislikes for most of the book. There is a neighbor who seems to like Henry and helps him out from time to time. Will Henry accept the help from those around him to come to ...more
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The saddest and most emotional book I have ever read. A quality book!!!
Crisis Bird
Sep 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
From the glowing reviews detailing how "darkly humorous" and how it "tackles heavy themes like suicide and bullying", The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen would've sounded like a book I'd enjoy. Sadly, such is not true. This book was covered as a novel study in my English class. I love novel studies, but I've never been able to do one until now due to attending a french school. I was super excited when one was announced. I must admit I was disapointed from the get-go. I have two main problem ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian, favourites
Honestly one of my all-time favourite reads.
Apr 10, 2014 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
William Stanger
Jun 20, 2012 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
Rachel Hartman
Nov 03, 2012 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
Liz at Midnight Bloom Reads
Jul 21, 2012 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
Mar 02, 2015 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
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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

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