Girls*Heart* Books: 'Saving June' by Hannah Harrington: Review

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

'Saving June' by Hannah Harrington: Review

‘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.

Saving June is Hannah Harrington's poignant debut novel. I knew instantly upon reading the synopsis of the book that this was one I simply HAD to read. I was definitely not disappointed with it.  This book deals with teen suicide but it doesn't shove a message down your throat. It's more about Harper, our main character, finding out who she really is following her sister's suicide.  

Saving June is told from Harper's point of view and as abrasive as she can be at times, she is actually really sweet and thoughtful in her own way.  Being the younger sibling of a seemingly perfect sister is never easy. When everyone is constantly measuring you against someone else's shadow, it has a way of tearing you apart little bits at a time. You can see this is what Harper's been dealing with since she became a teenager and more than anything else, this is what made my heart ache for her. Her parents and her aunt don't have any idea  who she really is and Harper is tired of trying to show them what they refuse to see.

Each character in this book is interesting and complex; flawed yet likable.  My favorites though, are Harper and Jake. They both have reputations that do not fit their true personalities and they both learn to crawl out of the box that others have stuffed them in to explore who they want to be for themselves.  I don't know how anyone could read this book and not adore Jake, especially. He may be an ass at times, but there is so much more to him than the attitude he shows the world. 

It was insanely hard to put this book down once I started reading it. I seemed to fly right through it, laughing and crying and even gasping out loud while I read. Following Harper as she tries to learn how to navigate the world without her 'perfect' big sister in it, your heart breaks for her. Still, there were quite a few amusing parts in the story as well. Harrington is a talented storyteller, luring you in and ensnaring your undivided attention from the beginning to the end of the book. I highly recommend this book to more mature teens; it was one of the best non-paranormal books I've read this year.

My Rating: 

Hannah Harrington doesn't like Pina Coladas, but she does enjoy getting caught in the rain.

Oh, and she's a YA author! Her first novel, SAVING JUNE, was published by Harlequin Teen in 2011, and her second, SPEECHLESS, will be released on August 28th, 2012!

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