See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles
"Starting middle school brings all the usual challenges - until the unthinkable happens, and Fern and her family must find a way to heal.
Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible. Her dad is always busy planning how to increase traffic to the family business. Her Mom is constantly going off to meditate. Her sister Sarah, who's taking a "gap year" after high school, is too busy finding ways not to work; and her brother Holden is too focused on his new "friend" to pay attention to her. And then there's Charlie: three years old, a "surprise" baby, and the center of everyone's world.
If it wasn't for Ran, Fern's best and oldest friend, there would be nowhere to turn. Ran is always calm, always positive. His mantra "All will be well" is soothing in a way that nothing else seems to be. And when Ran says it, Fern can almost believe.
But when their lives are unexpectedly turned upside down, Fern feels more alone than ever, and responsible for the event that wrenches the family apart. All will not be well. Or at least, all will never be the same."- summary from Amazon
Oh my gosh, this book is amazing. I've been meaning to read Knowles' work for a while now but only just got around to it now, with her fourth book. This is a wonderful middle-grade novel that really deals with death and the guilt and emptyness that it leaves in its wake. It's just such a realistic snapshot of a family, both before and after the accident- there's humor, heart, growth, and healing.
The relationships between all the characters were handled really well and it was interesting to see them go through this turmoil and turbulence. Knowles really knows how to deal with each character's grief and how that translates to their relationship with other certain characters.
Fern is a great main character and her voice was so real. Charlie was great too and I enjoyed seeing him interacting with people in various scenes because, as a toddler, he pretty much just says whatever and it's usually hilarious. I also loved the setting of a diner- it provided for some funny scenes.
Basically, this is a fantastic book and it really makes me want to read all of Knowles' books, past and future. Definitely check this one out!
FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.