Winner of the 2012 Governor General's Literary Award
2013 Snow Willow Award Nominee
Thirteen-year-old Henry’s happy, ordinary life comes to an abrupt halt when his older brother, Jesse, picks up their father’s hunting rifle and leaves the house one morning. What follows shatters Henry’s family, who are forced to resume their lives in a new city, where no one knows their past. When Henry’s therapist suggests he keep a journal, at first he is resistant. But soon he confides in it at all hours of the day and night.
In spite of Henry’s desire to “fly under the radar,” he eventually befriends a number of oddball characters, both at school and in his modest apartment building. And even though they know nothing about his past – at least, not yet – they help him navigate the waters of life after “IT.”
Susin Nielsen has created a fantastic new character in Henry, whose journal entries are infused with humor and provide a riveting read about a family in turmoil.
IN BOOKSTORES AUGUST 2012
"Even while dealing with heartbreaking issues and frightening concerns, (Nielsen) manages to keep hope alive - and instils in her characters a survival instinct and a sense of humour that keeps them afloat ... It's no surprise that this remarkable book has been shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award. I fervently hope it wins." Montreal Gazette
"Henry is a likable, sympathetic protagonist, as are the supporting characters in the story. Nielsen injects enough humor into the story to sustain the drama of Henry's ordeal without making it too maudlin or morose, and the honesty with which he confronts his feelings in his journal is both disarming and endearing. A realistic, poignant portrait of one teen who overcomes nearly unbearable feelings of grief and guilt." Kirkus Reviews
"You will just fall in love with Henry ... He is Nielsen's most authentic, hilarious character to date, which is really saying something because no one can write a middle grade character like Susin Nielsen ... So for those of you in the know about Susin Nielsen: this book lives up to everything you are expecting and more. For those of you who are Nielsen neophytes, stock up on her stuff now so you can share in my smugness." George's Favorite Tooth - Tidbits on Books for Young People
“…a highly emotional story about a family that blames one another, and themselves, for an unimaginable tragedy. Nielsen’s balance of humor and pathos is finely honed, making this a surprisingly breezy read for so heavy a topic.” — Daniel Kraus, BOOKLIST
With fully developed adult and child characters and a solid sense of middle school humor, the author has crafted an insightful and nuanced novel about bullying and suicide, and familial love and resilience.– School Library Journal, Starred Review