Thirteen-year-old wrestling fanatic Henry used to have a normal life. Now, his therapist wants him to keep a journal so he can express his feelings about what happened.
Henry has moved with his dad to a new city, where nobody knows their name. He lives off a diet of pizza, whilst hiding from the comically overbearing neighbours and avoiding being an obvious target for bullies at his new school. But then he meets Farley and Alberta, social misfits who refuse to let him be alone. And bit by bit, the past begins to come out.
Heartbreaking, surprising and laugh-out-loud funny, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen is about the things that remain after your life has fallen to pieces.
Susin Nielsen got her start writing for popular television series, Degrassi Junior High. Since then, she’s written for many Canadian TV shows and her young adult novels have received considerable critical acclaim. Word Nerd and My Messed-Up Life won multiple Young Readers’ Choice Awards. The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen won the UKLA Award, the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award, the Canadian Library Association’s Children’s Book of the Year and many Young Readers’ Choice Awards, while We Are All Made of Molecules was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Susin lives in Vancouver with her family and two extremely destructive cats.
Both disarming and endearing. A realistic, poignant portrait of one teen who overcomes nearly unbearable feelings of grief and guilt.
Nielsen’s balance of humor and pathos is finely honed, making this a surprisingly breezy read for so heavy a topic
Nielsen writes about the heaviest subjects with the lightest of touches… the balance between tragedy and humour is so carefully managed, that this is a truly uplifting, even happy read.
Gloriously character driven… poignant and witty
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen is the perfect mix between funny and sad… A beautiful story.
Snuggling on the Sofa blog
A fantastic narrator, authentic and endearing … a memorable read for all the right reasons
With fully developed characters and a solid sense of humor, the author has crafted an insightful and nuanced novel about bullying and suicide, and familial love and resilience
School Library Journal, starred review
Thoughtful, moving and yet amusing
The School Librarian
An immensely readable story about a family recovering from a violent shooting and a teenage boy trying to come to terms with his own sense of guilt.
Inis, Children's Books Ireland
Thought-provoking and relevant … Henry’s journey is moving and weirdly, wildly funny
Governor General’s Literary Award
The novel is a dramedy, and believably balances lightness and darkness
The National Post
Nielsen treats a heavy subject with a light, optimistic touch
Neilsen’s writing is precise and stirring.
Powerful… Susin Nielsen writes the most beautifully sweet and sad novels about family, friendship and loss
So Many Books, So Little Time blog