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Just Henry

(Hollis Family #3)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  753 ratings  ·  71 reviews
'Just Henry' is a mystery-thriller, set in post-war Britain. Whenever Henry can escape his new, and annoying, stepfamily he does, and goes to the cinema. For his school project Henry is given a camera, but he's initially disgusted to be put in a group with Jeffries, the son of a man who went AWOL, and Pip, born illegitimate. ...more
Hardcover, 703 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Egmont Books (UK) (first published 2008)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  753 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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This book made me so happy! It was hard to get into but after some time it was okay :)
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I found this a bit hard to get into at first, mainly Henry is a bit of a twit at the start, but as the story went on you could see how his Gran's malevolent influence had brainwashed him. He slowly started to see that she was wrong about various things, and as he started to realise just how awful she really was the plot began to get more and more interesting - I was really gripped by about a third of the way through, and raced through it.

The setting was really well done - immersive, detailed and
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Required reading for film buffs, people seeking their tribe, or anyone who loves a great story. One of my very favorite books. What a cracking talent Magorian feels like she has a window to my heart.
Jul 14, 2010 rated it liked it
This is the story about a boy called Henry, who is sometimes called Henry Dodge and sometimes called Henry Carpenter, so ends up being just Henry. He lives with his mother and stepfather, his stepsister Molly and his Gran (the mother of his father). While he grows up, he is told many tales of his father's heroism and his Gran takes every opportunity to talk down his stepfather Bill and Molly.

When a new teacher takes over history Henry is forced into a group for project work with Jefferies (the s
MCalhen MCalhen
Jun 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember starting this when I first received it as a gift, but I was only about 30 pages in before I got sidetracked. It took me two days to finish the rest of it once I picked it up again - I didn't want to put it down once I started. I've enjoyed Michelle Magorian books in the past, so I was looking forward to this one as well.

(view spoiler)
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was so beautifully written and the story was gripping.
It explored several important topics from the perspective of protagonist, Henry, and didn't shy away from them or dumb them down.
I found it very difficult to put down this heartwarming story.
Alex Tedford
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much. I loved Goodnight Mr Tom and Back Home as a child. Michelle Magorian paints such a descriptive picture. It was heartbreaking but warm and loving all at once. I cannot rate highly enough!
A great read from a talented author. Having read a number of Michelle Magorian's books, I was already familiar with her captivating stories. I'd very much enjoyed Goodnight Mister Tom, Back Home and A Little Love Song, and this was no different.

Magorian's books tend to flit between very predictable storylines, some great plot twists and some lovely character developments. I love the way her characters are so engaging. My only sticking point with this book (SPOILER ALERT) is the ending was a bit
Jannah Cloud Child
This was one of those that no matter how hard I tried to put down I kept coming back to do finished the whole thing last night and yes I'm paying for it.
One star removed because Henry is rather too much like an imbecile and it was beyond belief that anyone could be that bloody oblivious. Ok yes people can be but it's annoying.

Overall decent and gripping and all that. A decent middle grade book. Will review at some point properly when I don't have q toddler jumping all over me
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Good book about a boy heavily influenced by his grandmothers views, he is interested in films and getting into work as a clapper boy. His real father comes back into his life but is not what Henry pictured in his head, what follows leads all of them down a nasty path. Enjoyed it even though it was a long book.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I was very put off by the size of the book and it took me a while to get into but once I got hooked on it I couldn't put it down. The characters and developments were very well portrayed and it was interesting to read their experiences. I do not usually read this sort of genre and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. ...more
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sometimes I found the magnitude in which Henry repressed his memories a bit unbelievable (for example - when he forgot he used to read books a lot), but then again, i have done no research and don't actually know anything about it.
A thrilling and heart-warming read otherwise. Don't let the number of pages discourage you, I got absorbed in the story and was surprised when it ended.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have read several novels by Magorian. I still like them, although the plot seems to become more predictable especially in the Hollis Family series. Will try to get hold of a different story line next.
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Some books are rather hard to get into. This, however, was not one of them. It had me gripped right from the start. It highlights the issues of living just after the war, and has a recurring motif: family and friendship. Henry starts to learn that not everybody is the same as their parents, and that not everybody can be trusted, no matter how close you are.
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up when I went on holiday three years ago because I had read Goodnight Mr Tom in school and was interested in what Magorian’s other books were like. I had been pleasantly surprised when Goodnight Mr Tom turned out to be a nice read so I wondered if Just Henry would be the same (the other books in the hotel looked dodgy as well).

Just Henry is about a teenage boy called Henry set around world war two. It features a lot of trips to the cinema and has a rather thrilling ending. That is
Nithya Ezhilchelvan
Feb 16, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting read, about challenging prejudices and what post-war Britain was like. I liked the fact we had an unreliable narrator, in the form of a child, and the villains were deliciously written. Grace and Pip were particularly great characters. Only a few things irked me. The character of Mrs Beaumont (view spoiler) but this is perhaps where the ...more
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Truly incredible book. I read this book because I loved Goodnight Mr Tom, and it was worth it. The plot had so many twists and turns, it seemed every time I turned the page a new part of the mystery was unveiled. Great character development. I loved the friendship between the boys. I found this book so shocking but beautiful and it's one of the best I've ever read. It makes you think about which characters you can and cannot trust. Loved it. ...more
Pauline Ross
This ought to be a nice little story, an award-winning YA coming-of-age tale of fourteen year old Henry, set in a not-quite-settled post-war England, learning that his assumptions about people are not always accurate. Yet none of it worked for me. So what went wrong? Firstly, the characters are so simplistic it’s hard to take them seriously. There’s a harassed mum, a bratty sister, a truly nasty and parasitic gran, a working class stepdad studying to better himself. There’s the angelic Mrs Beaum ...more
May 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
How did I not know about this great historical from the author of the superb "Goodnight Mister Tom"?

Okay, so I'm being anachronistic, but every time Henry's malevolent grandmother is onstage, George Thorogood's 'Bad to the Bone' played in my head. She's one nasty piece of work, and if not the Nastiest Fictional Grandmother Ever, certainly a major contender.

But a host of other splendid adult and child characters rise to counter her sneaky, nefarious ways, and help teen Henry see the truth about h
Fab Librarian
Nov 05, 2013 rated it liked it
The Second World War has ended but times are still tough and Henry Dodge loves to escape everyday life at the cinema. He loves but resents his Mum for marrying again after the death of his war-hero father, and dislikes his step-father who seems to stand for everything his father despised. Influenced by his Gran’s prejudices Henry has also found it difficult to make friends at school.

Then a new teacher sets the pupils projects about their interests and hobbies, and Henry finds himself in a group
Meeeriams Fleep
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book has a very funny twist. I will not reveal it, however, because its a bit subtle, despite being outrageously blatant. The thing about this book is that its characters are quite lovable, as Magorian seems to take you along with them in a personal manner. Theres a subtle hint of dramatic irony, especially concering Henry's grandmother, where you can see how deluded she is and hopw mean and brainwashy, but Henry cannot. Its another example of Hnery's maturation, as it were, how easily such ...more
Lee Wilson
Ah, Michelle. Nothing is ever going to approach the love I feel for Goodnight, Mr. Tom at this point. But it has the advantage of having had at me early, when I could still truly fall in love with a book. Still, this was a great one as well. Despite being quite a bit longer than Goodnight, Mr. Tom and most of your other books, I would say that this one is almost better for a younger audience - a mix of derring-do, mystery, and youthful coming of age. Dark themes, as always, but if there's anythi ...more
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Having read and enjoyed "Goodnight Mister Tom" thought I would give this one a try. Set in post-war Britain (1949) this book is an insightful look into the attitudes of the times. The story centres around Henry. He misses his father who died a war hero, and he escapes from his annoying stepfather and stepsister whenever he can and goes to the cinema - his passion. One day in the cinema queue he meets Mrs Beaumont who also loves films, and lends Henry a camera for his school project. The story ta ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Just incredible. Just awesome. Just amazing. Just Henry.

Michelle Magorian is just awesome. Her book is a mixture of emotions and an excellent story that difficulty, you'll find another with some stuff like that.

Henry is a young boy that lives a sad life without his father that dies in the Second World War. Henry tries to console himself with the movies in the cinema. Then he’ll find friends that will help him in all the aspects in her life. But, suddenly, a camera enters in the story, you may t
Mar 08, 2013 rated it liked it
I like this book, but not quite as much as the author's "Goodnight, Mr. Tom". This one, like her others is set around WWII, or just after. Henry is a 15-year-old boy who has been very sheltered. He is put wiht 2 boys he feels are not his equal for a school project, and what he learns after this starts his growing up. The book is a bit long, and could have been shortened some, but there's a lot going on.
The author's biography states the books are for young people, but I really enjoy her writing.
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Absolutely splendid read, which once again proves a fine children's writer can often be more engaging and just more worthwhile than an adult novel. Magorian turns her wisdom and compassion seen in the classic 'Mister Tom' to a post-war setting and the prejudices and hardships therein, but also the exciting power of the new. Escapism in the form of cinema is a large part of the book, but slowly four outsiders become friends over a very readable plot. Read the blurb for more...but this is a very g ...more
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
This book may possibly have the most evil grandmother ever in it. It is truly astonishing to watch Henry's world completely turned over. Set in Britain in the 1950's it is an incredibly long and detailed portrait of the time and place. I first read Michelle Magorian in middle school (Good Night, Mr. Tom) and I am surprised she's still around 25 years later... stellar work!

Because a lot of the book is focused on Victorian films, this would be interesting to pair with Brian Selznick's "Invention
Dec 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens_books
Starts a little slowly, but moves to a rollicking climax. Not quite as good or as touching as Good Night, Mr. Tom or Back Home, but I'm definitely glad I read it. I wish Michelle Magorian would write more books and do it faster! ...more
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
What a surprisingly brilliant book, I never suspected that I would enjoy it as much as I did. In fact it lead to at least two 3 am reading sessions. Although the main character is sympathetic, it's hard to stick with him in the beginning as he is quite arrogant and unlikable. However, the book does a great job of charting the growth of Henry and the reader's affection for him. This novel gives a fascinating view of post WWII London, and the changes in society such a huge loss of life wrought, bu ...more
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British children's author Michelle Magorian - author of the celebrated Goodnight, Mr. Tom (1981), which won The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize - was born in Southsea, Portsmouth, in 1947. She trained to be an actress, studying at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, and at Marcel Marceau's L'école Internationale de Mime in Paris. While pursuing an acting career, Magorian became interes ...more

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Hollis Family (4 books)
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