Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: November 29, 2011 (Reprint)
Synopsis: Debut author Hannah Harrington takes a road less traveled in this evocative and memorable novel.
If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.
When Harper Scott’s older sister, June, takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.
When her divorcing parents decide to split up her sister’s ashes, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the urn and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going—California.
Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession…and an unknown connection to June. So when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanor and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs. Except…Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down—again.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have to be honest, I was drawn to Hannah Harrington’s Saving June because of its gorgeous cover. Like I’ve said in recent reviews, I am a sucker for gorgeous covers. Luckily the beautiful cover had a beautiful story to match.
In Saving June, I was emotionally moved in a way that I didn’t expect. I have read books where I was drawn to the story because of a similar experience to whatever situation was presented. But in Harrington’s Saving June, grief overtook me in a way that I could never properly describe. The emotions that Harrington writes about goes deep into my soul to bring feelings out that I never knew I had.
At the young age of sixteen, Harper has lost her older sister, June – a sister who was perfect and was an overachiever at everything. June was perfect, or so everyone thought. June had secrets and problems, enough so to take her own life. But at June’s funeral, a chance meeting with an unexpected stranger sends Harper on this path to seek the truth. And that path leads her on a road trip to California.
I was surprised to love Harper as much as I did. Normally, I do not relate well to young females who, to me, seem selfish, angry, and ill-mannered. She has a bad temper and has an attitude that isn’t appealing, at all. But I get it. Harper is full of anger. Her parents are divorced, she is often compared to her sister, and worst of all, her sister left her without saying goodbye. To Harper, it seems that the only person who gets her is Laney, her best friend.
Harrington has Harper growing up right before my eyes. Harper embarks this coming-of-age journey that not only allows her question June’s decisions and life choices, but also her own. Harrington also allows the reader to see a different side of Harper. Let’s face it, Harper is cynical and angry in the beginning of the book that I almost stopped reading it. But Harper is complex; as complex as any teenager will be. She is broken and vulnerable, just like you and just like me.
Laney plays a good role in Saving June. To me, she is the calm filler between all the angst in this story. Yes, her own set of problems isn’t something to take casually, but compared to everything Harper (and Hannah) has gone through, it seems to be the lesser of two evils. Laney’s snark and witty comebacks give a sense of relief. To me, her tone and optimism screams, “It will be okay.”
Then there’s Jake. What to say about Jake? I feared the worst when it came to him. I thought something and worried about the outcome, but Harrington didn’t allow it. She wrote Jake as the foundation of it all. I believe that Jake was the constant throughout this book. The music, the words, and the emotions that relate to Jake and his story all ground Harper in a way that I could never explain.
Sure, some of you will question why Harper just decided to go on a road trip with a stranger. But, while I’ve never been in Harper’s situation, I understand the emotional and physical need to do something this colossal. Grief is one of the strongest emotions that I know of, and that relays throughout this book.
Suicide is never an easy topic, and I will never get used to the growing trend of death in Young Adult, but Harrington wrote the emotions of these complex characters so well. Harrington paces the growth of this story so well. It’s difficult to relay emotions sometimes, but Harrington never over does it. It’s tasteful and respectful to the moments.
Guys, you need tissue for this one. And if you love music as much as you love to read, this book is amazing. I urge you to read this book. I feel that the buzz for this is not enough. This book? Underestimated.