Monday, 2 July 2012
Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Mira Ink
Released: June 1st, 2012
If she'd waited less than two weeks, she'd have been June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that. When sixteen-year-old Harper’s sister June, the perfect, popular, pretty one to Harper’s also-ran, commits suicide just before her high school graduation, nothing in Harper’s world makes sense anymore. With her family falling apart, Harper has a plan – steal June’s ashes and take her sister to the one place she always wanted to go: California. Embarking on a wild road trip of impromptu gigs and stolen kisses with mysterious musician Jake, the one person who could hold answers about June, Harper’s determined to find peace for her sister. But will she find peace for herself along the way?
Saving June took me a while to get into, I thought it started off quite slowly and I didn't immediately click with all the characters. It wasn't until about halfway through that I really appreciated the story Hannah Harrington had told, a story of loss and friendship and overcoming one of the worst things a family can face.
Saving June's premise is a fairly simple one: Harper Scott's older sister June committed suicide, and Harper's separated parents decide to split her ashes between them. Harper takes June's ashes with the intention of scattering them in California, a place June never got to visit, and is accompanied by best friend Laney and June's friend Jake. There's so much more going on in this novel than first meets the eye and, as I found out myself, Harper's journey turns into something truly poignant.
Road trips and music are two of my favourite subjects in YA books, and Saving June has both. Music is a huge part of Jake's life and I loved all the references to bands, songs and playlists. It really gives the characters personality and makes them seem like real people, especially when I'm familiar with the music and the feelings it can evoke.
Throughout their road trip, Harper, Laney and Jake learn things about each other as well as themselves. Harper comes to realise that the June she knew wasn't the real June, and that so much was hidden from her, including June's sadness that ultimately led her to end her own life. Jake perhaps knew her slightly better, but even he never saw the complete picture. He helps Harper come to terms with her grief, a grief she finds hard to confront, and their building relationship is brilliant to read and be a part of.
I can't even comprehend what it would be like to lose a sibling, and because of that I could never completely identify with Harper. It didn't deter from my enjoyment of the book, though, and there were even a few moments that left me with tears in my eyes. I liked this one, and if it wasn't for the slow start I think I would have loved it. Read this one if you liked Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson - it's not quite as good but it isn't miles behind.