Seven Ways to Get Rid of Harry

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

Jen Conley is known for her character oriented short story work and here she expands an earlier story into a full novel. The plot is as the title suggest with 13 year old Danny Zelko looking to remove his mother's new boyfriend, Harry, from his home and his life. Danny is still struggling to process his father's death and Harry's actions and attitude to Danny leads to him looking to take extreme action to get rid.

Danny's world is inhabited by lots of school friends and acquintances as Danny's hair trigger temper gets him in fights that either alienate or galvanise these relationships. The story is as much about Danny the character as his situation with the reader seeing all sides of his character and left to judge. 

This is billed as a YA/Teen novel on NetGalley and it plays as such with nothing too gruesome happening and the swearing censored and kept to a minimum. It plays as such too with it being a story of Danny's growth as much as his situation with Harry.

This is a simple, affecting and engaging tale from an author I look forward to reading more of.

Thanks to Down and Out Books for the advance review copy.
Was this review helpful?
I hate to rate a book I haven’t finished, but this book is stressful to read.

The writing is really bad. It’s repetitive, and there’s many occasions where the main character acknowledges the audience. Odd. This would’ve worked way better as a journal. I have no issue with juvenile writing, but based on the fact that this dude actually sounds like a 12-year-old and how he’s always throwing in these overdone references, I believe this would be way more tolerable in a Diary of a Kid format.

There’s also this really weird part where the MC goes on a tangent about the Soviets? It was useless, because it could’ve been used to show how the MC’s mentality had changed between last year and now, but I feel like the author just wanted to throw in her own boring thoughts from when she was his age on the Cold War. All that’s really said is, communism bad, mutually assured destruction, and nuclear bombs aren’t cute. I’m grateful for that creative, refreshing insight. 

Pacing is also really bad. With an upcoming stepdad the MC hates, him having nErdY friends, and almost no one on his side, the author makes no attempt at showing how much anger must be bubbling up inside. He just explodes one day, and for what seems like no reason.

Ugh. I don’t like this.
Was this review helpful?
This middle grade mystery thriller gave me "My Babysitter's A Vampire" meets Percy Jackson, which I was obviously into. I read middle grade frequently, so I'm accustomed to running into unrealistically mature middle graders, but although our MC was intelligent, he displayed realistic flaws (i.e.:  anger issues).
Was this review helpful?
Description
Danny Zelko, 13 going on 14, needs to get rid of his mom’s boyfriend, Harry. The guy is a creep. Drinks too much lock Danny out of the house, gets in Danny’s face and calls him Danielle.

Of course, everyone blames Danny. It’s his fault he gets into fights at school. It’s his fault he can’t control his anger. It’s his fault Harry is such a jerk. Danny isn’t such a bad kid—he has his own lawn business, makes his own dinner, even takes out the garbage and closes up the house without being asked. All he wants is for his mom to be like she used to be—a real mother who acted like one. Because Harry makes her stupid. When she gets around him, she forgets about her kids. Disappears with him, doesn’t stick up for her own son. And the prospect of spending another day with this man makes Danny feel helpless and broken.

So when Danny’s sister, Lisa, reveals that Harry and their mom are getting married, Danny, never the one to cower, decides to do something. That’s right, one way or another, he will get rid of Harry.

Set in 1983, New Jersey, Seven Ways to Get Rid of Harry is packed with Danny’s friends and enemies, a few fist fights, heartbreak and fury, and a little humor too. 

Harry is a bully and goes out of his way to Danny. It is sometimes humorous, sometimes sad. A young teen trying to get a break while making list to get rid of the family's problem...Harry. He writes lists on how he should do this, not intending to follow through them. 
A good book for YA, teens. 
Thank you, NetGalley for the advance copy .
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley and Down and Out Books for the ARC. I see that it is classified in the Teens and YA category. I am decades beyond those targeted readers, but I enjoyed it. I found the young teenagers' problems, dialogue and behaviour very realistic. It was written in a way that Daniel's home life immediately engaged my sympathy.

Daniel is a responsible thirteen-year-old boy. He has his own snow removal and lawnmowing business. He also displays a lot of anger. He is getting in trouble at school for fights, some which he instigates, and others for which he is blamed unfairly. This behaviour is getting worse because he is under much stress at home. His mother's boyfriend, Harry, is a mean drunk and even when sober he picks on Daniel. Daniel is afraid that it will escalate to physical abuse. His mother is no help, always taking Harry's side, and she accompanies Harry in his heavy drinking, often passing out drunk. Both Daniel and his sister feel neglected, and resent and fear the day of their mother's upcoming wedding to this vile man. To add to Daniel's distress, Harry is taking money which Daniel has earned mowing lawns.

 Daniel fears the day that Harry moves in for good. He makes a list of 7 ways to get rid of Harry with some suggestions and encouragement from his sister and a couple of friends. He is having little success with attempts to carry out plans from his list, as most everything in his life is fouled up. The outcome is not what Daniel was hoping for, but probably the most rational and mature solution for a boy in his predicament.
 Recommended  for its  realistic, and thought-provoking insight into the life and mind of an unhappy teenager
Was this review helpful?