Title: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Published: 1 June 2012
Length: 336 pages
Warnings: (safe) sex, smoking, drinking other things, mature 13+
Other info: This is Hannah’s debut novel. Her second book, Speechless, should be published later on this year in the USA.
Summary : ‘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.
Review: June's the perfect one in the family. But that still doesn't stop her killing herself, leaving her family to pick up the pieces. Harper, the sister, isn't happy with the way the ashes are treated, and so she decides to take the ashes to California-where June always wanted to go. Along with musician Jake, best friend Laney and a few people they meet along the way, Harper goes on a journey for both her sister and herself.
This wasn't one I'd normally pick up. But there were many great reviews for this. So I decided to give it a try. And I'm really glad I did.
It's easy to get into the setting of this, to pick up what's happened, and the general tone of the book.
I liked Harper throughout, and she handles everything really well. Jake is a really nice boy, with a different taste in music and generally really kind and caring for Harper. Laney was her own character, very different, and great to read about.
I really feel like I want to see more of June. Yes, she’s dead, and yes, there’s a little closure. But it would be nice to know what led her to suicide, and everything else.
The writing was full and kept you just wanting to know more. Or maybe that’s the plot. Either way, I really didn’t want to stop reading this.
The music side was a nice element. To me, music is a big part of life, and I think it is for most teenagers. The music covered in this book was different to what we normally think of when you think teenagers, but it worked for this. I’ve currently listened to the first playlist and love how it fits in with things. I definitely need to get round to the others.
This book handles death in a completely different way to the way I read the most of the time. This is one of the few books that presents it in a more realistic, calmed down way, that I still enjoy. It’s presented through the eyes of someone who doesn’t understand why her sister killed herself, and it’s really easy to feel for her. It’s presented really maturely, and in a sensible way that fits the tone of the novel.
The other side things were handled well too. Sex, drinking, smoking. Because that’s what teens do. Everything about this book seemed natural. Jake and Harper having sex was a natural progression in their relationship, the dropping in on a gig because they were passing by, the meeting people from pasts. It all worked and fitted together nicely.
Overall: Strength 5 tea to a powerful book that takes you on a journey on many different levels.