Review: Harrison Squared

Book: Harrison Squared by Daryl Gregory
Publisher: Tor Books, 2015
Genre: Fantasy/Sci-Fi, YA
Source + Date Read: ARC + Finished March 2015
Recommend: For those that love some laughter with their fantasy.
Book Pro’s: Hilarious fantasy/sci-fi addition with a YA feel.
Book Con’s: Some aspects of the plot seemed a little bit convenient.

Summary: Harrison Harrison—H2 to his mom—is a lonely teenager who’s been terrified of the water ever since he was a toddler in California, when a huge sea creature capsized their boat, and his father vanished. One of the “sensitives” who are attuned to the supernatural world, Harrison and his mother have just moved to the worst possible place for a boy like him: Dunnsmouth, a Lovecraftian town perched on rocks above the Atlantic, where strange things go on by night, monsters lurk under the waves, and creepy teachers run the local high school.
More Information: GoodReads

I remember requesting this on Netgalley, unsure of whether I’d be accepted or whether I’d even like it. You see, when it comes to reading I tend to play it safe and go for books I know that I will like 100% or that friends have recommended. This one, this, I had heard nothing about but I was impressed with the synopsis and found the cover intriguing. Actually, let’s discuss the cover for a moment– isn’t it quite good? I think it’s brilliantly simple and well executed and interesting. It sucks you in, what do you think?

Anyway, to the book! I loved Harrison Squared even though I’d never read anything by this author before. What I liked most about it is that it’s funny in an understated and sometimes cheesy way– I have no sense of humor so for me to get a joke it has to be quite good, I think. I laughed often in it and it’s an aspect that makes this novel quite a strong one. I say quite a lot, I see now… oh well!

Another strong aspect is that each character is truly a character. They’re odd, they’re quirky, they’re petty and highly unusual. And I think that quirkiness is amazing. I admit that it won’t appeal to everyone but for fans of Jasper Fforde, this might be a less sarcastic or odd book to add to your TBR! Harrison means well but he is so unequivocally odd. His Aunt, oh goodness, don’t get me started on his aunt, she’s a problem and a half and I loved her. Maybe because I’d be that semi-comatose irresponsible Aunt in real like, that and real children tend to terrify me into sarcasm. Read the below quote, it’s from when Harrison2 was a child:

“That morning, while Mom had fought with Grandpa, Aunt Sel had asked me to bring her a glass of wine—it was nine in the morning—and when I’d delivered it she’d handed me a ten dollar bill and said, “I dislike children, but I do appreciate decent service.”

Come on, how can you not fall in love with a line like that?

Thirdly, and this will be the last of my list style format for this review, I promise, is that the book is diverse. It’s seriously diverse. The protagonist is biracial and his comfort with this or his mother’s background are something that he is immensely comfortable with, I think it’s refreshing. Without giving away too much of the plot as well, he is differently-abled as well, and this is something that drives his personality and the plot in a specific direction. I liked that, to read something a bit different, it is a truly diverse read.

I do think that this novel isn’t for everyone and though I categorised it as a YA addition, I’m not exactly sure that it can count as a YA novel. I think it is, but I’m not sure. I think it’s an excellent book and I highly recommend it.

Has anyone else read this? I’d love to hear your thoughts if so! And if you haven’t, do you want to read it?



About Claire (BWB)

It's Claire (aka Quirky) from Bitches With Books, an online book blog that serves up a healthy dose of book reviews, lists + literary madness.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, SFF and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Review: Harrison Squared

  1. Pingback: 2015 Reads | Bitches With Books

  2. Pingback: Claire x Nikki Review April 2015 | Bitches With Books

  3. You convinced me. And that little pull quote sealed the deal.

  4. Oh man that quote alone makes me want to read the book. And the promise lovecraftian story with diverse characters sounds excellent, as I have trouble balancing my love for Lovecraft’s creepy atmosphere with his personal bigotry… Harrison Squared might be the perfect balm for those worries! Will definitely be checking this one out.

  5. I loved this novel also. I thought it was quirky (in a good way) and found the characters endearing. I’m also a fan of Lovecraft, so that helped. Great review!

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