Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Age: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Music, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Source: publisher via Netgalley
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Harlequin |
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.
It's a soul searching and peace finding adventure that brings two best friends, and a boy with a van, incredibly close.
June Scott, the dependable daughter, couldn't take the pain she was feeling hidden any longer and she did what was best for her knowing it would devastate her family and friends. Her aunt Helen would probably call her selfish (and probably did), but I found something so human and relatable in the frail character, having never even been introduced to her except in memories provided by the other characters of the story.
With their mother breaking apart, and their father not around, June's sister Harper is left to pick up all the broken pieces of her life. Unable to deal with the drama pulling her in every direction at home, Harper decides to do what she needs to do for herself and her sister. Along with Jake and Laney, Harper takes June's ashes to California and has an unforgettable summer while sorting through all of her feelings.
The mysterious Jake Tolan is a man full of secrets that Harper is determined to figure out, like how close was he to June? I loved his character, he can be charming when he wants to, and sweet at times but he puts up this bad boy front that may not be much more than an act. I picture his voice like Jarrod Gorbel's of The Honorary Title, sexy and heartbreaking. Jake and Harper's banter back and forth made me think of Remy and Dexter of Sarah Dessen's This Lullaby. Hannah Harrington did a fantastic job creating a book that tore me to pieces on every page and still managed to keep me hopeful.
Harper doesn't take crap from anyone, but she also doesn't try new things. She's outspoken, yet enjoys being comfortable. Someone I think a lot of girls can relate to. And, she's not perfect, who is? She has become my favorite character in a book, especially after the part at the concert (you have to read it to find out why). She's as lost as any other character I've read about, but she manages to make it through this hard time little by little, and from beginning to end it's like a new character. Never wavering from her side is Laney, and on her other side is Jake. Together, the three make an unstoppable force.
Music defines moments in life, and Hannah Harrington's use and taste of exceptional songs and artists adds so much to this cross country road trip. What would a road trip be without great music? She found the perfect songs for parts of the book, and this book makes me want to make a playlist right now.
Bonus: all of the mixes and track lists found in the book were in the back of the e-book! I'm assuming the paperback would have the same.
I have no complaints about this one, none. I loved and adored it. I loved the writing, characters, story, all of it! I laughed, cried, and cried some more. One of the best contemporary novels I've ever read and I look forward to reading more of Hannah's work.
I recommend it to everyone looking to get their socks rocked by a story about loss, first love, heartbreak, and moving on.