Saturday, October 8, 2011

[Review] Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Title: Saving June {goodreads}
Authors: Hannah Harrington
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 01/05/11
Publisher: Harlequin Teen (AU)
RRP: $19.99
Source: For review (thanks G at Harlequin Teen)
Age: 15+  
Drugs, smoking, sexual references, swearing maybe?
Pages: 380
My Rating:

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.
My thoughts: 

I read the majority of this book while on the train on my way to uni - not the best time to read it, appropriate it may seem (train, road get the link?). This book is quite possibly one of my favourite contemporary YA novels, though it firmly sits at #1 for my fave contemp for 2011 (I haven't read LOLA yet, so we'll see). I could sit here and gab on about how much I loved it. Easy.

There's really so much to like in this book, and for me . . . I can't find one thing I didn't like about it. Though some people may be offended by the smoking, drinking and other hijinks that goes on, I found it appropriate and only serves to complexify the characters even more. It's what (some) teens do. Why hide it? Harrington really strips bare these characters she created and fleshes them out to the extremes, to the point where you feel you REALLY know them.

-- I read this book over 3 weeks ago, which makes this REALLY hard to think of what I was going to say, sorry for the rest of this review! --


1. The atmosphere of this book! ROAD TRIP and blasting out totally appropriate music from the car stereo. This book could convince anyone to just head out on an impromptu road trip.

2. Harper and Jake. I love their dynamic - lots of the time they really oppose each other but they can't deny the instant connection they have through June.

3. Laney. What an awesome friend.

4. Heartfelt and funny!

5. Beautiful cover and overall feel of the book - grab a copy (AU) and you'll know what I mean!

6. The places. What would a real road trip be without the pitstops along the way? Harrington is spot on with writing up an interesting and adventurous road trip!

7. Dialogue was realistic and - you guessed it - had me chuckling at times.

SAVING JUNE follows the significant journey that three teens - June, Jake and Laney - take to come to a point where they come to terms with a mutual friend's (June's sister) committed suicide.

Taking the highway on an epic adventure from Michigan to Chicago, the three find out so much more about each other - and the mystery surrounding June's sister - than they ever could have imagined. Readers looking for a realistic portrayal of loss and friendship and romance can stop looking and pick up a copy of this thought-provoking novel.


First lines

"According to the puppy-of-the-month calendar hanging next to the phone in the kitchen, my sister June died on a Thursday, exactly nine days before her high school graduation. May's breed in the golden retriever--pictured is a whole litter of them, nestled side by side in a red wagon amid a blooming spring garden. The word Graduation!! is written in red inside the white square, complete with an extra exclamation point. If she'd waited less than two weeks, she would be June who died in June, but I guess she never took that into account.


" he left, he grabbed me in a stiff-armed hug. In that second I had this feeling, the kind that grabs up by the throat, a desperate desire for him to stay, because he knows Mom so much better than I do, because he might know how to fix this.
     When he pulled back, he ruffled my hair the way he did when I was a kid. Exceept now the gesture felt unnatural, like he was out of practice. And I knew he couldn't fix anything in our family. Not anymore.
     "I'll be in touch, kiddo," he promised, but promises from my father never meant anything before, and I don't expect them to mean anything now.

(p. 33, Harper)

"June wouldn't be so selfish. June wouldn't be so cold. June wouldn't abandom her daughterly duties. Except that she did, permanently, leving me to take the reins of a role I cannot possibly fill. But no one wants to think about that.
     My sister is dead and I'm still being measured up against her ghost. I'm not even surprised.
     So why does it still hurt?

(p. 75, Harper)

"Suddenly I realize it has been almost three hours since my sister crossed my mind at all. A new record. It hurts to think about June, but not thinking about her feels like betrayal. After all, this trip about her. For her. And I deserve to carry all of this. Her ever-present memory. The incessent twinge of guilt in my gut. I deserve every bit of pain I get. I deserve to hurt.

(p. 163, Harper)

My favourite section is, no doubt, pp. 339-343.
The moment where everything before then was leading up to. Beautiful.


* cheapest Australian e-store price


Fishpond * | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile


All links from Booko, because I'm too lazy to search each individual store anymore.

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: 2011 YA Debut Challenge

SAVING JUNE in a song: ...the playlist. XD 

Comment with your own "SAVING JUNE in a song"!

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