Saving June

Saving June

Book rating: 04 Paperback Harlequin Teen

By (author) Hannah Harrington

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  • Publisher: Mills & Boon
  • Format: Paperback | 322 pages
  • Dimensions: 135mm x 208mm x 23mm | 91g
  • Publication date: 1 December 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Richmond
  • ISBN 10: 0373210248
  • ISBN 13: 9780373210244
  • Edition statement: Original.
  • Sales rank: 31,059

Product description

"Everyone's sorry. But no one can explain why." Harper Scott's older sister, June, took her own life a week before high school graduation, leaving Harper devastated. So when her divorcing parents decide to split up June's ashes, Harper steals the urn and takes off cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going--California. Enter Jake Tolan, a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession...and an unknown connection to June. 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 Harper needs. Except...Jake's keeping a secret that has the power to turn her life upside down--again.

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Customer reviews

By Stephanie Forster (Stepping out of the Page) 21 May 2012 4

As soon as I heard about this book, I knew that it was going to be something that I would enjoy. I'm a big fan of contemporary books, especially if they have the ability to make me cry (weird?). I am glad to say that Saving June was everything I wanted it to be - captivating, fun, hopeful and heartbreaking, all at the same time. This will hopefully be one of the top contemporary YA reads of the year.

We are sent on a road trip through America with Harper, her best friend, Laney, a mysterious guy called Jake Tolan and June's ashes. The story is narrated by Harper and focuses on coming to terms with her sister, June's suicide. I am happy to say that I thought that the topic was dealt with in a realistic and tasteful way. Although I do find books based on mental-health issues very interesting, I do sometimes feel wary of them as they can easily be handled in an incorrect manner - thankfully this wasn't the case for this book. I thought that the characters all handled the situation well, yet differently, in their own ways and it was interesting to see how the different parties reacted to the news. I do wish we could've learned a little bit more about June and her decision, but what we did learn with Harper was enjoyable. We definitely learned a lot about Harper herself.

All of the characters that we were introduced to in this novel felt well presented and each had their own unique personality, something that is very important, and although they were different, they were all relatable in some way. Harper is our protagonist, and as aforementioned, grieving over her sister. I thought that Harrington did a phenomenal job of portraying Harper's grief in an atypical manner. Harper was seen by her parents and aunt as 'rebellious', but that didn't really seem true to me - it just looked like she was doing what she thought was right during her life, and had her own opinion on things. Her relationship with Laney, her best friend was fantastic. It was clear that they both supported each other, despite their differences in thoughts. I loved that Laney was very forthright and she did what she want - she oozed confidence whilst still having some fragility, was very fun and I can see a lot of people loving her.

We met a whole bunch of different people during the road-trip and experienced a lot of different things, mostly due to meeting Jake Tolan, a boy who had a connection with June before she died. I really liked Jake for the most part and I thought that his passion for music was wonderful. I've read a few books that have been music-orientated but didn't like them - Harrington successfully managed to connect me with Jake as I could certainly relate to a lot of the things he said about music. As a love interest, I can understand why Harper was attracted to him - he was respectful yet snarky and there was a good amount of chemistry between them both. Trying not to include spoilers - I did feel a little irked by him towards the end, though I could understand his decision at the same time.

I like listening to music for much of the same reasons as Jake - to quote:
"It's just nice, I guess. Knowing that someone else can put into words what I feel. That there are people who have been through things worse than I have, and they come out on the other side okay. Not only that, but they made some kind of twisted, ******-up sense of the completely senseless. They made it mean something. These songs tell me I'm not alone. If you look at it at that way, music... music can see you through anything.""
I thought it was SO cool that this book had not one, but three playlists included. I absolutely loved being able to listen to the songs that captured the mood of the characters at the time and it certainly added another form of 'connection' to them. Harrington didn't just say that Jake felt these things, but she proved it by creating some amazing soundtracks to back it all up. Reading this book, along with listening to the soundtracks, really made it feel as though we were having an experience with the characters. I felt pure emotion whilst reading and admit to tearing up as the book came to a close.

Overall, this was a very powerful, emotional yet enjoyable story. It didn't just feel like I was reading a book - even if it is an overused phrase, I totally felt as though I was taking a journey with Harper, Laney and Jake. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to any young adults or adults. I think that this is a story that will stay with me for quite a while.

By MissPageTurner 07 Mar 2012 5

SAVING JUNE is everything but insignificant. It is thoroughly beautiful, tragic and magical. Hannah Harrington wrote a story full of music and sound...with each note and word making you fall even more for Jake, Harper and the story around her sister June.

~The road trip~

"You cannot be in love with someone you've really only known for barely a week and on top of that someone who drives you crazy most of the time. No matter how goodlooking and charming and interesting and understanding he may be. Not even if he's the one person who makes you feel like yourself.
Right?"

Harper, Jake and Laney intend to drive all the way to California. And their road trip is grand and adventurous. It promises pure awesomeness. SAVING JUNE actually features the best road trip I've read about so far. On their way the three teens meet many funny and cool characters and see and try out so many great new things.

~The feelings~

"So really, it isn't as if noticing something like his well-toned biceps or his seriously long eyelashes means anything - other than a confirmation of the fact that I'm not blind."

The relationship between Harper and Jake is definitely no stereotype. It's raw, it's hot one moment, cold the other. Their struggles don't consume the entire story or dominate the part that concentrates on Harper's sister June. It's subtle and I find it simply perfect the way it is in the exact moment.

SAVING JUNE doesn't only circle around Harper and Jake's feelings for each other; Hannah Harrington specially emphasises the relationship between best friends, throws light on the possible way two sisters can feel about each other and doesn't forget Harper's parents either.

~The soundtrack~

"He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that's what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you."

Music is a big part of this novel. It'll get to you. Make you love Jake, Harper and the whole story around SAVING JUNE even more. There are so many musical references that SAVING JUNE is a whole soundtrack itself. So be prepared for a read that challenges your taste and makes you even more curious about that meaningful rock Jake always refers to.

~The writing balance~

"My love for June and Jake is an anchor, bound with unbreakable chains. Weighing me down, but at the same time... keeping me grounded. Keeping me here. Tying me to the world. It hurts, but it's supposed to, because that's what it means to be alive. And that's comforting, actually. The realization that I'm not some robot devoid of emotions. That I still have the ability to feel things this brutally, this immediate and sharp."

The beginning and the end are engaging and I almost floated through the story. Hannah Harrington's writing is fantastic, her sentences felt just right to me and her sense for structure and syntax are natural. What amazed me were little sentences filled with prose and loaded with meaning along the road.

Although SAVING JUNE is an insightful read about serious meanings like suicide and the way of coping with the death of a beloved person, it is still a fun read. It might sound weird, but it has the talent to balance moments of pure joy and adventure with moments of grief and anger. It'll be a pleasure to read more from Hannah Harrington in future, this girl knows how to rock the words!

THE VERDICT

SAVING JUNE has so much to offer and I am grateful I didn't miss one single page of this overly fantastic story. SAVING JUNE feels like a really good and loved song and you don't want to forget the lyrics too soon. This is definitely a book that will find a place in my heart.

Review quote

Harper Scott's older sister, June, commits suicide two weeks shy of her high school graduation. So Harper, at sixteen, defiantly finds herself an only child while mourning her sister's death and is not kind to her divorced and grief-stricken parents. To make matters worse, Harper is the one who finds her deceased sister. But a huge unanswered question for Harper is why? June does not even leave behind a goodbye note. Meanwhile, Tyler hangs around during the wake at Harper's house. Harper ponders his connection to her late sister and investigates clues regarding June's unfulfilled dreams. This takes her on a road trip to California with her best friend, Laney, and Tyler to scatter her sister's ashes into the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, they encounter adventure among their far-flung friends and acquaintances. Just when you discover Tyler's connection to Harper's sister, the climax takes the reader on a gigantic twist. This is a work of realistic fiction. The author portrays the life of wayward teens who seek independence. Although the language may be a bit salty, it is realistic. The story also includes the theme of budding romance, with some sexual expression. SAVING JUNE should become a movie some day - it even includes a soundtrack. -- VOYA