TITLE: Saving June
AUTHOR: Hannah Harrington
PAGES: 336 (Paperback)
PUBLISHER: HarlequinTeen (22 Nov)
I received this ARC from Harlequin in exchange for an honest review, please know that these are my thoughts alone and are not affected by monetary considerations.
As an avid paranormal and fantasy fan I don’t venture into contemporary very often, but when I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Saving June something about it made me want to start reading it immediately. Filled with heartbreak, grief, and friendship, Saving June is an amazing debut novel about finding yourself and embracing the past.
16-year-old Harper Scott’s world is shattered when her ‘perfect’ sister June commits suicide 9 days before her own graduation. Lost and empty, Harper decides to steal her sister’s ashes – which were going to split between her divorced parents – and take them to California, where June had always dreamed of going. Accompanied by her best friend Laney and Jake, a music obsessed, troubled young man with a mysterious connection to June, Harper sets out on this strange trip that changes everything, altering her perception of her life and everything she thought she knew about her sister.
I will be the first to admit that Harper is a hard character to like, she immediately takes things the wrong way and is quick to fling insults. But she’s seems comfortable with being that way, and over the course of the book I found her to be a strong and confident young woman who doubts how remarkable she really is. I didn’t like how she was often snappy towards Laney, but when it counted you could see just how close those two were.
Jake is the wild card of their little adventure, blackmailing his way into coming and yet a pivotal character in the plot. Music means everything to him and he hears it in a unique way, as if it’s speaking hidden messages for only his ears. I loved how he wasn’t afraid to be real with Harper, their dialogue always means something and he has a huge impact on her in a way no one else can. When the romance did eventually come into play it was sweet and hot and wonderfully right, and I found myself swooning right along with Harper at some parts.
I mentioned before I don’t read much contemporary, but when I do this is the kind I go for; it’s genuine, honest, and doesn’t cut out the crap to make you feel better. Ms. Harrington has impressive skill at this kind of writing, it’s real and allows you to feel all of Harper’s strong emotions as she goes on this difficult journey. It’s obvious that Harrington loves music as it is mentioned on nearly every page, but it constantly has significance to the story and Saving June would never be the same without it.
Saving June is a striking debut novel filled with teen angst and confronting issues, a wonderful addition to the sometimes underrepresented YA Contemporary genre. I am so, so glad I had the sense to request this ARC, and if you’re a fan of this kind of novel then I think that this is the book for you.