Growing up hasn’t been easy for Harrison Harrison (H2 to his mom); his father drowned trying to save 3-year-old Harrison from… something in the water.
That same night Harrison lost part of his leg, almost died from an infection, but gained immeasurable anger that pops up now and again, as well as some interesting sensitivities, which gets passed off as phantom limb syndrome.
Moving to Dunnsmouth with his marine biologist mom poses some interesting challenges for Harrison, one of which is finding his place in his new, creepy school, the other is finding his mom who disappears.
Why is this on our bookshelf?
Aside from the Lovecraftian feel?
Daryl Gregory has a list of nominations behind him for his previous novels (World Fantasy Award, Mythopoetic Award, Shirley Jackson Award, and Philip K. Dick award nominations), his novel Raising Stony Mayhall, which by the way is fantastic, was named as one of the best science fiction books of 2011 by Library Journal.
Rating (3 stars)
I really enjoyed Harrison Squared a lot, The atmosphere was perfectly creepy, the characters- both protagonists and antagonists- were as well, the Cthulhu-esque element to it was ever-present, but not overwhelming…. so why the lower rating? I’m not a huge fan of the YA genre, and Harrison Squared straddles the line of YA, and “adult” sci-fi.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all teenage-angsty, but I feel that the genre does tend to limit adult connection to the characters and plot a bit.
The bigger influence on the lower rating was the way the story seemed to wrap up quite abruptly, has an ending that implies there will be a followup to it, but doesn’t feel like there will be a follow-up. It wasn’t necessarily a poor ending, but it was awkward.
Read this book:
If you want a modern take on a Lovecraftian tale, with the added bonus of a clever, likable teen protagonist.
Don't Read this book:
If you’re not overly fond of heading back to high school, or are afraid of deep water.
Once you're done, do this:
Develop your own finger cant, become a scrimshander, then head over here to play the Harrison Squared game.