Genres: Young adult, contemporary.
Harper Scott is left crushed after her older sister June commits suicide a week before graduating high school. Harper is desperate to know why her seemingly perfect sister took her own life and discovers a college acceptance letter from University of California, Berkeley. Harper remembers that it was June’s dream to move California, but as the family could not afford to pay the tuition fee, she was forced to remain in Michigan. Harper is determined that her sister will get to go California, even in death. She takes her sister’s ashes, her best friend Laney, and Jack – a sullen boy who has a mysterious connection to June on long road trip. It’s a trip that will force the three teenagers to examine themselves, their lives and their relationship with each other.
One of the first things I noticed while reading Saving June was how genuine the experiences and emotions that the three main characters – Harper, Laney and Jake go through. They’re three people who are very different from each other, but each have their own personal problems. Harper’s always felt inferior to her sister, Jake’s never had the opportunity to be himself, and there’s more to Laney’s confident demeanor. The characters aren’t perfect – they make mistakes and can be downright nasty, but they each add something special to the story.
I also love the idea of a road trip, something that’s not very common in the United Kingdom since you can drive from the south of England to the top of Scotland in less than a day. Although Saving June is no sightseeing holiday, Hannah Harrington makes the trip surprising and engrossing. She manages to evoke numerous emotions from the reader throughout the story as we delve deep into the characters’ thoughts. The dialogue is intelligent, quick-witted, and extremely humorous at times. (Think Gilmore Girls as a John Green novel). Other times, you’ll have to stop reading and take a deep breath because the situation is so intense. Hannah Harrington does not censor teenage life, and covers issues surrounding sexuality, identity, and religion with great fervour.
Saving June is a moving, realistic portrayal of a young girl’s emotional journey in the aftermath of her sister’s death. It’s a brilliantly written contemporary novel that evokes every possible emotion.
This book was obtained as an eGalley from HarlequinTEEN.