The YRCA reads are coming along nicely! I find summer is the perfect time for children's books because I'm able to work in more extended periods of reading and I can usually read one in only a few days! Save the long slogs for the depths of winter, I say.
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen
Henry Larsen is asked by his psychologist to write in a journal. He does so reticently at first, and as Henry opens up the reader gets a first-person glimpse into the lives of those who are left behind after a tragedy. As Henry struggles to come to terms with events, there are moments in the story which are absolutely heartbreaking, others which are hilariously funny, and on the whole the entire tale is truly thought-provoking.
In it's coverage of issues surrounding bullying, I feel that this book does an excellent job of not only presenting the victim and perpetrator, but even more so the feelings of witnesses and family members of those affected.
Reluctant Journal is so much more than just another book about bullying though. The realistic nature of the situations of the characters and their reactions make this book absolutely haunting. This really is a necessary read for all Junior High aged kids, and is well-written and exciting enough to hold the reader's attention despite the heavy topic.
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen is thusfar my favorite read of this years batch of YRCA books. I highly recommend it not only to it's main audience of early teens, but to absolutely everyone. Its a fascinating book that will have you thinking about it for days after you finish reading.
Next up, watch for a review of Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead and Ungifted by Gordon Korman.