Title: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 2012 (I received this book as a digital ARC from NetGalley)
Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis (from goodreads):
‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’
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.
Harper Scott doesn’t know what to do or how to feel after her older sister June takes her own life just a week before graduation. All Harper knows is that her parents splitting her ashes is not what June would have wanted. For as long as Harper can remember, June had her heart set on escaping Michigan and going to the West Coast – more specifically, California. With no car, no money and no way her mother and overbearing aunt will let her go, Harper enlists the help of her best friend Laney and the mysterious boy who was somehow connected to June to help her do this one last thing for the sister she loved.
I enjoyed this book for many reasons. And the biggest of these was Harper. She’s hurting so much and is a little snarky and sarcastic and at times down right rude. But she still loves her sister so much regardless of what happened and she’s in pain over her death. Harper doesn’t always do the right thing but she’s just trying to get along with her life however she can. I really admired her for that.
As for Jake? I admit I was willing to write him off as a “hipster music snob with the tastes of a forty-year-old white guy” as Laney puts it. But Jake has more depth than that. He likes all kinds of music – not just the pretentious stuff – and I liked him as a character and loved him as a potential love interest for Harper.
Laney was a fantastic sidekick and character in her own right. More complex than first seems but doesn’t take the highlight off Harper and her story.
I loved the soundtrack to this story and the journeys that the characters took – musically, physically and emotionally. I thought the complicated issues of love, life and death were beautifully handled and I really enjoyed reading this novel.
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