Title: Saving June [Amazon]
Author: Hannah Harrington [website]
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Stars: 5 out of 5
‘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.
When I first got Saving June I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew I wanted to read it because I had added it to my to read list a while ago, but I couldn’t remember what it was about. I remembered seeing the cover with the rainbow and thinking it was going to be overly religious so I was a little uncertain. I had read a couple of religious themed books that were great, but I know I won’t always be so lucky. So imagine my surprise when I started it and was shocked by what I found. This wasn’t a book about finding religion or believing in a higher power. It was a book about finding yourself and believing you are worth it.
Harrington’s book is about 16 year old Harper and her quest to save her older sister June who killed herself right before her high school graduation. Having left no note Harper is left feeling lost and angry and unsure. She has no idea why her sister, who was seemingly perfect, would do this to herself and their family. She is devastated and alone with only her best friend Laney by her side. With an idea in her head Harper enlists Laney to help her bring June’s ashes to the one place she thinks her sister will find peace. She wants to bring her to her dream, to California. Unsure how to get there they are offered an answer by the mysterious Jake that knows June somehow but it isn’t clear how. Taking a chance the three head off together on what becomes a journey of a life time and something they will never forget. They embark on a journey that involves fights and laughter and tears and love and music.
Music is one of the biggest themes in this story. Jake believes that music is the answer to everything and he imparts that knowledge on his two travel companions showing them how lyrics and melodies are as essential to air and breathing. He shows them how simple words in a song can show your feelings without having to say a word and how music can help you heal when you need it the most.
Honestly I don’t even know what to say about Jake and Harper’s relationship. It was truly remarkable. It built at such a great pace with just enough push and pull to have you craving more. They were exactly what the other needed in their time of grief, a way to put themselves back together again, a way to love again and not fear living.
Truly Saving June is one of the most profound road trip books I have read. The lose and love will just tear you apart but leave you feel hope through your tears. Excellent read.