ARC Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

‘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.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Harlequin for providing the eGalley
Saving June will be available in stores on November 22nd

You know when you read a book, and as soon as it's over, everything just like hits you so hard and then you're just so numb. No, this book did not make me cry. I came close to it a couple times, but overall I was just too blown away by the words in front of me to cry. Because despite all the sadness this book holds, there is still plenty of happiness, and just...just... I don't even know what to say. I'm having so much trouble forming coherent sentences right now. But I feel like I need to get this review out RIGHT NOW, in this moment where I just finished it. If I write it tomorrow, it won't be the same.

SAVING JUNE is simply beautiful.

Sixteen-year-old Harper is torn apart over her sister's suicide. Her emotions and thoughts and feelings and everything about June's suicide were so realistic and perfect. I felt the grief Harper was feeling. I felt the confusion, the not horribleness of not knowing, and how that tore her apart. The grief morphing into anger. The trust issues. Harper had so much depth to her. The guilt she felt for all the things she said to June that she didn't mean. In bringing her sister's ashes to California and thereby saving June, Harper being able to find herself on this journey is equally evident and important.

The road trip setting is my favorite setting of all time. It's such an underused concept...but the few books I've read with a road trip setting were all brilliant. It's such a perfect way to intertwine that physical journey with an emotional one. And Hannah Harrington does both beautifully. I love the 'on the road' feel of this book, the unexpected detours, visualizing the country through different eyes. I'm DYING to take a gigantic road trip one day, so reading this story made me even more anxious. But what makes SAVING JUNE so perfect is that this was a road trip with a purpose. Going to California meant something. Just, ah so good!

I think it's time to talk about Jake. Now, there's numerous reason's why I fell for Jake, pretty much right from the start. First, and stupidly enough, I just have this soft spot for the name Jake. Is that weird? Probably. Secondly, his obsession with music--particularly classic rock--was awesome. (He named his car Joplin!) And third, he has that whole tortured artist bad boy but really good thing going for him that I am just SUCH a sucker for. Yeah, I love Jake. He had his douchey moments, but when he said something it was typically so sweet or deep or meaningful and I'm just reading this thinking like 'I love you.'

Laney was a free spirit that the perfect best friend to contrast everything that Harper was. They were an unlikely pairing, but I loved Laney. Some of the things she said made me laugh out loud. And the fact that she was just so there for Harper. That she wanted to go on this crazy journey to California to support her, and that she would go was never a doubt in her mind. Best best friend ever.

The writing in general was so beautiful. The words were so deep and poignant. Touching and real. The language and tone of the entire novel was just so perfect. Seriously, I cannot rave enough. The voice, my god, it was like Harper was speaking to me. I felt everything she felt. This book had the ability to both make me laugh out loud and bring me close to tears. And I absolutely adored all the music that was mentioned throughout, the playlists, and how they'd all be singing in the car together. It was those little things that got to me. 

SAVING JUNE is everything I look for in a book and more. It's an amazing debut. One of the best contemporaries I've read in a while. I will definitely be looking out for future books by Hannah Harrington. If her debut is this fantastic, I can't wait to see what her future work has in store for us. This book right here is what I hope to aspire to write like someday. Going on my favorite shelf, definitely. Beautiful. Heart-wrenching. Memorable. Worth more than five stars.

And yes, I totally just pre-ordered it off Amazon.


Gina said...

Wow, sounds like an amazing book!! And I have a soft spot for the name Jake too. I don't know why! It's not weird. :)

And I definitely want to read this book right now! Thanks for the review!

xo, gina

Marisa said...

Gina: It really is amazing! Definitely put it on your to-read list! :D