Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review: Saving June

Title: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Publication date: November 22nd, 2011

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one so when 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 her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes 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 nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down again.

Saving June was a very emotional account of the roller-coaster ride that ensues after a loved one has committed suicide. I was expecting this book to be on the darker side with a lot of grief and sorrowful moments, and while it did have its fair share of those, it was also a very fun read. I'm always up for reading a good book about a road trip, and this one was no disappointment. 

There were definitely some interesting characters in the book that I enjoyed getting to know, such as Harper's crazy Jesus-freak aunt, but most of the story focused around three main characters. First, there's Harper, who I felt completely sympathetic towards. I could clearly feel her pain through the snappy, bitter tone she displayed most of the time, and it made my heart ache to imagine being in her situation, always feeling inferior to June while she was alive and then still being compared to her after her death, knowing that she'll never live up to the expectations of everyone around her. Then there's Laney, Harper's best friend whose parents let her pretty much do as she pleases with little expectations, and Jake, who has had his fair share of problems as well, is completely obsessed with music, and holds a mysterious connection to June that Harper can't quite figure out.

There are so many amazing things in this book: the friendship between Harper and Laney, and relationship that forms between Harper and Jake, the music that narrates the story and provides the soundtrack to their road trip, all of the fun touristy things that take place along the way, and the more serious moments that each character experiences. While "saving" June, Harper also learns a lot about herself along the way. With the help of Jake, Harper goes from trying to build up a wall around everything to block out her emotions, to being able to let them out and feel comfortable with what she feels. Saving June was a very powerful and very well-written book that provided a wonderful mixture of heavier issues and fun experiences, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a moving yet fun read. 

Characters: 9/10
Plot: 9/10
Originality: 9/10
Writing: 9/10
Overall grade: A

Received from Book Divas for review.

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