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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...
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.
According to the puppy-of-the-month calendar hanging next to the phone in the kitchen, my sister June died on a Thursday, exactly nine days before her high school graduation. May's breed is the golden retriever—pictured is a whole litter of them, nestled side by side in a red wagon amid a blooming spring garden. The word Graduation!! is written in red inside the white square, complete with an extra exclamation point. If she'd waited less than two weeks, she would be June who died in June, but I guess she never took that into account.
The only reason I'm in the kitchen in the first place is because somehow, somewhere, someone got the idea in their head that the best way to comfort a mourning family is to present them with plated foods. Everyone has been dropping off stupid casseroles, which is totally useless, because nobody's eating anything anyway. We already have a refrigerator stocked with not only casseroles, but lasagnas, jams, homemade breads, cakes and more. Add to that the lemon meringue pie I'm holding and the Scott family could open up a restaurant out of our own kitchen. Or at the very least a well-stocked deli.
I slide the pie on top of a dish of apricot tart, then shut the refrigerator door and lean against it. One moment. All I want is one moment to myself.
Not that that will be happening anytime soon.
It's weird to see Tyler in a suit. It's black, the lines of it clean and sharp, the knot of the silk tie pressed tight to his throat, uncomfortably formal.
"You look nice," he says, finally, after what has to be the most awkward silence in all of documented history.
Part of me wants to strangle him with his dumb tie, and at the same time, I feel a little sorry for him. Which is ridiculous, considering the circumstances, but even with a year in age and nearly a foot in height on me, he looks impossibly young. A little boy playing dress-up in Daddy's clothes.
"Can I help you with something?" I say shortly. After a day of constant platitudes, a steady stream of thank-you-for-your-concern and we're-doing-our-best and it-was-a-shock-to-us-too, my patience is shot. It definitely isn't going to be extended to the guy who broke my sister's heart a few months ago.
Tyler fidgets with his tie with both hands. I always did make him nervous. I guess it's because when your girlfriend's the homecoming queen, and your girlfriend's sister is—well, me, it's hard to find common ground.
"I wanted to give you this," he says. He steps forward and presses something small and hard into my hand. "Do you know what it is? "
I glance down into my open palm. Of course I know: June's promise ring. The familiar sapphire stone embedded in white gold gleams under the kitchen light.
The first time June showed it to me, around six months ago, she was at the stove, cooking something spicy smelling in a pan while I grabbed orange juice from the fridge. She was always doing that, cooking elaborate meals, even though I almost never saw her eat any of them.
She extended her hand in a showy gesture as she said, "It belonged to his grandmother. Isn't it beautiful?" And when she just about swooned, it was all I could do not to roll my eyes so hard they fell out of my head.
"I think it's stupid," I told her. "You really want to spend the rest of your life with that jerk-off?"
"Tyler is not a jerk-off. He's sweet. He wants us to move to California together after we graduate. Maybe rent an apartment by the beach."
California. June was always talking about California and having a house by the ocean. I didn't know why she was so obsessed with someplace she'd never even been.
"Seriously, you're barely eighteen," I reminded her. "Why would you even think about marriage?"
June gave me a look that made it clear the age difference between us might as well be ten years instead of less than two. "You'll understand when you're older," she said. "When you fall in love."
I rolled my eyes as I drank straight from the jug, then wiped my mouth off with my sleeve. "Yeah, I'm so sure."
"What, you don't believe in true love?"
"You've met our parents, haven't you?"
Two months later, June caught her precious Tyler macking on some skanky freshman cheerleader at a car wash fundraiser meant to raise money for the band geeks. The only thing really raised was the bar for most indiscreet and stupidest way to get caught cheating on your girlfriend. Tyler was quite the class act.
A month after that disaster, our parents' divorce was finalized.
June and I never really talked about either of those things. It wasn't like when we were kids; we weren't best friends anymore. Hadn't been in years.
Now, even looking at the ring makes me want to throw up. I all but fling it at Tyler in my haste to not have it in my possession. "No. I don't want it. It's yours."
"It should've been hers," he insists, snatching my hand to try and force it back. "We would've gotten back together. I know we would have. It should've been hers. Keep it."
What is he doing? I want to scream, or kick him in the stomach, or something. Anything to get him away from me.
"I don't want it." My voice arches into near hysteria. What makes him think this is appropriate? It is not appropriate. It is so far from appropriate. "Okay? I don't want it. I don't."
Our reverse tug-of-war is interrupted by the approach of a stout, so-gray-it's-blue-haired woman, who pushes in front of Tyler and tugs me to her chest in a smothering embrace. She has that weird smell all old ladies seem to possess, must and cat litter and pungent perfume, and when she releases me from her death grip, holding me at arm's length, my eyes focus enough for a better look. Her clown-red lipstick and pink blush contrast sharply with her papery white skin. It's like a department store makeup counter threw up on her face.
I have no idea who she is, but I'm not surprised. An event like this in a town as small as ours has all kinds of people coming out of the woodwork. This isn't the first time today I've been cornered and accosted by someone I've never met acting like we're old friends.
"It's such a tragedy," the woman is saying now. "She was so young."
"Yes," I agree. I feel suddenly dizzy, the blood between my temples pounding at a dull roar. "So gifted!" "Yes," I say again.
"She was a lovely girl. You would never think " As she trails off, the wrinkles around her mouth deepen. "The Lord does work in mysterious ways. My deepest sympathies, sweetheart."
The edges of my vision go white. "Thank you."
I can't do this. I can't do this. It feels like there's an elephant sitting on my chest.
"There you are."
I expect to see another stranger making a beeline for me, but instead it's my best friend, Laney. She has on a dress I've never seen before, black with a severe pencil skirt, paired with skinny heels and a silver necklace that dips low into her cleavage. Her thick blond hair, which usually hangs to the middle of her back, is twisted and pinned to the back of her head. I wonder how she managed to take so much hair and cram it into such a neat bun.
She strides forward, her heels clicking on the linoleum, and only meets my eyes briefly before turning her attention to Tyler.
"Your mom's looking for you," she says, her hand on his arm. From the outside it would look like a friendly gesture, unless you knew, like I do, that Laney can't stand Tyler, that she thinks he's an insufferable dick.
"She is?" Tyler glances from me to Laney uncertainly, like he's weighing the odds of whether it'd be a more productive use of time to find his mother or to stay here and see if he can convince me to take the stupid ring as some token of his atonement, or whatever he thinks such an exchange would mean.
"Of course she is," Laney says glibly, drawing him toward the doorway to the dining room. She's definitely lying; I can tell by the mannered, lofty tilt in her speech. That's the voice she uses with her father—one that takes extra care to be as articulate and practiced as possible. It's completely different from her normal tone.
As soon as Laney and Tyler disappear from sight, the woman, whom I still can't place, starts up her nattering again with renewed vigor. "Tell me, how is the family coping? Oh, your poor mother—"
And just like that, Laney's back, sans Tyler. She sets a hand on the woman's elbow, steers her toward the doorway.
"You should go talk to her," she suggests with a feigned earnestness most Emmy winners can only dream of.
The woman considers. "Do you think?"
"Absolutely. She'd love to see you. In fact, I'll come with you."
This is why I love Laney: she always has my back. We've been best friends since we were alphabetically seated next to each other in second grade. Scott and Sterling. She's the coolest person I know; she wears vintage clothes all the time and can quote lines from old fiftiesera screwball romantic comedies and just about any rap song by heart, and she doesn't care what anyone thinks. The best thing about her is that she thinks I'm awesome, too. It's harder than you think, to find someone who truly believes in your unequivocal, unconditional awesomeness, especially when you're like me: unspectacular in every way.
As they walk away arm in arm, Laney glances over her shoulder at me, and I shoot her the most grateful look I can manage. She returns it with a strained smile and hurries herself and the woman into the crowded dining room, where I hear muted conversation and the clatter of dinner-ware. If I follow, I'll be mobbed by scores of relatives and acquaintances and total strangers, all pressing to exchange pleasantries and share their condolences. And I'll have to look them in the eye and say thank you and silently wonder how many of them blame me for not seeing the signs.
"The signs." It makes it sound like June walked around with the words I Am Going to Kill Myself written over her head in bright buzzing neon. If only. Maybe then—
No. I cut off that train of thought before it can go any further. Another wave of panic rises in my chest, so I lean my hands heavily against the kitchen counter to stop it, press into the edge until it cuts angry red lines into my palms. If I can just get through this hour, this afternoon, this horrible, horrible day, then maybe maybe I can fall apart then. Later. But not now.
Air. What I need is air. This house, all of these people, they're suffocating. Before anyone else can come into the kitchen and trap me in another conversation, I slip out the back door leading to the yard and close it behind me as quietly as possible.
I sit down on the porch steps, my black dress tangling around my legs, and drop my head into my hands. I've never felt so exhausted in my life, which I suppose isn't such a shock considering I can't have slept more than ten hours in the past five days. I close my eyes and take a deep breath, and then another, and then hold the next one until my chest burns so badly I think it might burst.
When I inhale again, I breathe in the humid early-summer air, dirt and dew and—something else. A hint of smoke. My eyes open, and when I turn my head slightly to my left, I see someone, a boy, standing against the side of the house.
Apparently getting a moment to myself just isn't in the cards today.
I scratch at my itchy calves as I give him a cool onceover. He's taller than me by a good half a head, and he looks lean and hard. Compact. His messy, light brown hair sticks out in all directions, like he's hacked at it on his own with a pair of scissors. In the dark. He's got a lit cigarette in one hand and the other stuck in the front pocket of his baggy black jeans. Unlike every other male I've seen today, he's not wearing a suit—just the jeans and a button-down, sleeves rolled up to his elbows, and a crooked tie in a shade of black that doesn't quite match his shirt.
I notice his eyes, partly because they're a startling green, and partly because he's staring at me intently. He seems familiar, like someone I've maybe seen around at school. It's hard to be sure. All of the faces I've seen over the past few days have swirled into an unrecognizable blur.
"So you're the little sister," he says. It's more of a sneer than anything else.
"That would be me." I watch as he brings the cigarette to his lips. "Can I bum one?"
The request must catch him off guard, because for a few seconds he just blinks at me in surprise, but then he digs into his back pocket and shakes a cigarette out of the pack. He slides it into his mouth and lights it before extending it toward me. When I walk over and take it from him by the tip, I hold it between my index finger and middle finger, like a normal person, while the boy pinches his between his index finger and thumb, the way you would hold a joint. Not that I've ever smoked a joint, but I've seen enough people do it to know how it's done.
Posted December 18, 2011
WOW This book blew me away. I have been digesting it for two weeks trying to decide how to review it. Every time I think about it again I honestly get all teary eyed. I am usually not a fan of realistic fiction because I never find it realistic. So when I read this and completely connected to and understood the main character I was surprised. Harper was so much like me which is always amazing to find in a book.
This book dealt with death in such an honest and relatable way to me. Whether you have lost someone as close to you as a sister or not, most of us have lost someone or have a friend that has lost someone. Harper lost her sister. With no previous signs of depression, her sister took her own life and Harper was the one to find her. Harper is left trying to take care of her mother while still holding herself together. Also having a nosy and obtrusive aunt trying to tell her how to deal with her loss and trying to make her attend church. Harper is not religious and this does not help her with the loss. Everyone deals with loss in a different way but forcing what worked for her aunt on her was not helpful. She has a caring best friend, Laney but you can only stand to hear "Are you okay?" so many times. Of course she is not okay and never will be again.
Then she meets Jake Tolan. A secret friend of June's that seems to hate her. He over hears her plans to take June's ashes to California and he wants to come. Since Harper needs a car she agrees. June always dreamed of California and Harper feels this will grant one of June's greatest wishes. Harper is very curious to know what Jake and June's relationship was like. Laney tags along for the journey and they sneak off stealing June's urn.
Harper thinks Jake is infuriating but he seems to be exactly what she needs. He is understanding and she is beginning to see a softer side to him as they travel. They play road games and he helps her when she has had too much to drink. The pain of her loss continues to hit her and Jake is there for her. He is helpful and sweet when Laney faces some devastating news as well. She can't help but begin to think about what it would be like to kiss him. Jake is definitely a deep character that I slowly began to understand and love.
Laney is trying her best to help Harper but sometimes Harper lashes out. It is understandable. There is no right thing to say when someone close to you loses someone. You just have to be there and Laney is there every step of the way to be what Harper needs. She wants Harper to be okay but it will take time. I could relate to Laney's struggle to say the right thing and to deal with a friends loss along with what the loss means to you and also have to continue to deal with your own life and problems. It is an overwhelming struggle.
Jake has a few secrets. When they come out Harper is devastated but she realizes in life there will always be pain. There will always be mistakes and risks but she wants to live. She wants to feel it all. She will never be the same but she will continue to live. June's choice changed her forever but she will try to understand it and remember her. Such an emotional and beautiful story. I really understood Harper and her journey through her loss. I felt like she
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Posted February 10, 2012
This book was amazing. Incredibly relatable and touching. I completly fell in love with all the charactors. A cute romance with unexpected twists is wat really put this book overthe top for me. One of the best books ive read in a long time. Highly recommend!!!
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 26, 2011
This book was...okay. Though I really wanted to like this book (main character named after an awesome author! Protagonist deals with loss in a positive way! Road trip with decent music!), I never felt like I really connected with Harper's character. I didn't really get a sense of her as a real person at all. It felt a lot more like she was 'telling' us everything instead of showing us much of, well, anything. Other than a massive single act against her parents and wearing a lot of black, I didn't really 'get' her rebelliousness. She told us about her issues with her sister, but they just didn't seem to be something she felt deeply. For the most part, she just came off as overly dramatic, whiny, self-absorbed, and shallow. I'm not sure why Laney and Jake put up with her most of the time, because quite often she just didn't seem to be worth the trouble. Her love/hate relationship with Jake especially didn't make sense to me--she hated him. She found him attractive. She was nice to him, but then remembered she hated him so she was nasty. Ugh. I just didn't find their relationship, such as it was, believable.
I liked the premise of the book--dealing with the suicide of an older sister (and divorced parents' completely inappropriate idea to split said sister's ashes between them) by road tripping to California, the place that the sister had dreamed of going one day, to sprinkle her ashes in the Pacific Ocean. It had a lot of promise. Parts of the road trip were fun--Fridgehedge, for example--and at times the camaraderie between the three teens was heartfelt and realistic. At other times, though, the trip began to feel like a disjointed group of scenes thrown together for no real reason--there wasn't a whole lot of plot development there, and most the the characters they met were there and then gone without really having done much to move the story along.
I've read much better books dealing with grieving characters--The Beginning of After in particular is a real standout. Next to that one, Saving June just pales. We don't really see Harper grow and change much, and her mother's issues are all magically solved while Harper was away. I guess the biggest change is that the two get along in the end, but really, it was so superficial a difference that it really didn't do much for me at all.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 4, 2011
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.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 26, 2012
Wow this.book.blew me out of the water who ever is thinking about buying this do it is amazing one of the best books ive read it is sooo not a waste of your money the title isnt.much about the book but at the same time it is i cant even explain in words how much.i love this book i was never able to put it down buynthe book and once you read it tell people about it i really hope they make a movie for it!!! :))
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 26, 2013
This book was exceptional, it blew me away. There were many parts to this book where I actually had goosebumps. It is not really what you expect it to be. When hearing the circumstances of Harper's "perfect" older sister June committing suicide only a week before her graduation you would expect Harper to be depressed and turning every situation into a pity party. Harper is not like that at all. She is strong and does not crumble under adversity. Harper does not even grieve in the traditional sense, in her words: she never cries. Harper takes June's ashes away without her families' knowledge on a whim. It is what she believes June would have wanted. That journey is meant to save June, or her essence in a way, but really it is a journey that saves Harper. Harper grows from the experience and learns that she is not truly alone as she initially thought she was. This book is worth the read and is one you will not forget. It is a story of romance, death, grieving, friendship, and forgiveness.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 12, 2013
I liked it. That's it though - didn't love it. Well developed characters though and I could picture everything happening in detail. Great author, just wasn't crazy about the story. I still liked it though and don't regret buying it. :)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 2, 2013
Posted November 28, 2012
Saving June revolves around Harper Scott and her life in the aftermath of her sister June’s suicide. Harper is the daughter that is forgotten about. She’d been living in June’s shadow her whole life, and now that June is dead, she’s unsure of her place in the world.
June was the golden girl, who seemingly didn’t have any problems or worries. When Harper finds her dead sister, the entire Scott family is thrown off axis. Harper blames herself and when no suicide note is found, she begins to search frantically through her sister’s belongings, trying to find some clue as to why June did it.
Her search results in finding a postcard of California, where her sister longed to go. This discovery results in Harper deciding to take her sister’s ashes on a road trip to California to scatter them in the Pacific Ocean where hopefully June will finally be at peace.
The majority of the story takes place during the road trip that also includes Harper’s best friend, Laney and a mysterious guy from June’s past, Jacob Tolan. Initially Harper can’t stand Jacob, he’s evasive about his relationship with June and he often waffles between being an insensitive ass to the guy you want to swoon over. His dichotomy is interesting to read about and I loved how his relationship with Harper grows during their week long road trip from Michigan to California.
I really enjoyed this story. Harper’s narrative at times feels really immature, yet it fits with her persona and age group. So while it annoyed me a little bit, I can’t blame the author’s usage of it, because it was accurate for the character.
I also liked how the author weaved the secondary characters into the story in a modest, yet complimentary way.
This story probably would have gotten three stars, but I particularly enjoyed the ending between Harper and Jacob.
Posted October 24, 2012
Posted August 25, 2012
I first read this book around a year ago, and it has been on my
nightstand ever since. I re-read it almost once a month, and to this day
it is still my all time favorite book. The way it deals with June's
death was exceptional, making you grieve along with Harper. Harper is
a whole different story though, and you connect with her on an emotional
level. There was one line near the begining if the book, when she
thought somthing about a lake that still stickswith me to this day...
"It was so big, bigger then me, bigger then my pain." I don't
know if I got those words exactly right, but it just makes you realise
just exactly how much pain she is in. It's truly touching and
beautifully written. All the characters in this book, especially Jake,
are amazing well written. Music also plays a large part in this book,
and Hannah Harrington has wonderful taste. From Janis Joplin, to The
Beatles, and The Doors. It truly is exceptional.
Posted August 2, 2012
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Disclaimers: I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: I was really excited to read this one. I had heard amazing things about it and couldn't wait to get my hands on it.
I love this type of book. A book involving travel a "bad boy" who really isn't as bad as you think and a girl who just feels lost, usually from feeling like she's living in her perfect sister's shadows until suddenly that sister isn't so perfect anymore. Plus, this book was highly centered on music and for some reason books about music just seem to always be incredible.
It was set up to be an incredible novel and I couldn't wait to see if Harrington met my expectations.
She exceeded them. This novel blew me away. It's been three weeks since I read this one and I still am absolutely in love with Harrington's characters and her writing style. Her prose was beautiful and drew me in from the first page.
This novel is easily one of my favorites of the entire year. I know I've already touched upon the plot, the characters, and the writing style, but now I'm going to go in to more detail.
I loved Harper Scott. Yes, she was rough around the edges but I couldn't help but root for her. And then there was Jake, how could you not like Jake. He was just incredible.
This book left me feeling nearly every emotion possible; it made me want to laugh, cry, and at times left me absolutely furious. Any book that elicits such an emotional response is easily one I love.
In Summary: Hannah Harrington's debut novel is beautifully addicting and is bound to leave readers breathless. I adored everything about this book and definitely it recommend it to everybody. Definitely one worth reading.
Warnings/Side-notes: This book is a little rough around the edges. There are mentions of drugs, sex, suicide, and strong language. However, the sexual references were fairly vague and not too descriptive. This book wasn't clean, but neither was it filthy. I'd have no qualms about recommending this to mature teen readers.
The Wrap-up: I can't believe it took me so long to write this review, because I loved this book. It was beautiful and exceeded my expectations. Like I mentioned earlier, this book blew me away. Read this one. You won't regret it. This is one that I could easily see myself buying and reading again and again.
Posted July 11, 2012
This book really took my breath away. Harper is a great character, and her anger at times seems justified, but later on directed to certain people in a way that makes sense, if you are in mourning. Jake is also great, even though he has a few secrets. He truly cares about Harper and he was connected to June, just not in a physical sense. And I thought Laney at first was a little vapid, but she turns out to be a wonderful sidekick to Harper, and someone who truly cares about things. I like the romance between Harper and Jake, its not love at first sight and fireworks. They bicker a lot, slowly start to care, and then fall in love. I loved how music was a big part of the book, and the playlists at the end provide a great soundtrack. Even with the heavy topics of suicide(June) and pregnancy(Laney), its all dealt with in just the right manner. I still would recommend it to an older teen just because of the serious subjects.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 6, 2012
A beautiful and emotional gripping read.
I loved this book. I'm glad I read it. Harper's hot tempered attitude was a great addition to this book. I found Harper to be quite funny when she gets constantly angry. Jake was such a great character and I liked how Harper and him were constantly bickering. It was quite refreshing that Harper and Jake did not instantly fall in love.They first became friends, bonded and then started to like one another.
Posted June 11, 2012
(I was given a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin UK)
16-year-old Harper has always been the screw-up in the family, while her sister June has always been the high flyer. The problem is that June just killed herself. She didn’t even leave a note so nobody even knows why she did it.
Rummaging through June’s things, Harper finds a cd with a latin phrase written on it. When she listens to it, it’s rock and jazz, music that Harper would never have imagined June listening to. It seems there’s more to June than she knew; especially when she finds a postcard of California with the words ‘I’m coming home.’ written on it, and a message on the back of a receipt.
These clues lead her to a music shop where she meets Jake – the mysterious writer of the note. Harper is sure that June would want her ashes taken to California rather than being split between two urns, half to each of her parents! So Harper, her best friend Laney, and the mysterious Jake set out on a road trip to California, and discover some things about themselves along the way.
Will they make it to California? What will they learn about themselves along the way? And will they ever discover why June killed herself?
I wanted to like this book, but it just didn’t really do it for me. It was just so predictable! Want to be a teenage rebel? Simply listen to rock music, go on a road trip, join in a protest, attend a concert, and start a fight… I really felt like I had almost read this book before, it just wasn’t a very original idea.
I found it difficult to really connect with the characters in this book. Harper was almost in denial about June, and finding it hard to come to terms with things. She didn’t talk about her feelings all that much and I found it difficult to understand exactly what she was going through. Jake was just too aloof and standoffish, and Laney was just a chameleon who did whatever other people were doing to fit in.
There was some romance, but unfortunately not enough to save the story. I hate to say this but I was just bored. I didn’t care about the characters or what was happening to them. I think I probably felt most sorry for Harpers mom; who had recently got divorced, had her eldest child commit suicide, and then had her youngest child run away with the eldest child’s ashes!
Overall; a bit too cliché for me, but I’m sure other people will like this.
5 out of 10.
Posted March 7, 2012
SAVING JUNE is everything but insignificant. It is thoroughly beautiful, tragic and magical. Hannah Harrington wrote a story full of music and sound…with each note and word making you fall even more for Jake, Harper and the story around her sister June.
~The road trip~
"You cannot be in love with someone you've really only known for barely a week and on top of that someone who drives you crazy most of the time. No matter how goodlooking and charming and interesting and understanding he may be. Not even if he's the one person who makes you feel like yourself.
Harper, Jake and Laney intend to drive all the way to California. And their road trip is grand and adventurous. It promises pure awesomeness. SAVING JUNE actually features the best road trip I’ve read about so far. On their way the three teens meet many funny and cool characters and see and try out so many great new things.
"So really, it isn't as if noticing something like his well-toned biceps or his seriously long eyelashes means anything - other than a confirmation of the fact that I'm not blind."
The relationship between Harper and Jake is definitely no stereotype. It’s raw, it’s hot one moment, cold the other. Their struggles don’t consume the entire story or dominate the part that concentrates on Harper’s sister June. It’s subtle and I find it simply perfect the way it is in the exact moment.
SAVING JUNE doesn’t only circle around Harper and Jake’s feelings for each other; Hannah Harrington specially emphasises the relationship between best friends, throws light on the possible way two sisters can feel about each other and doesn’t forget Harper’s parents either.
"He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that's what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you."
Music is a big part of this novel. It’ll get to you. Make you love Jake, Harper and the whole story around SAVING JUNE even more. There are so many musical references that SAVING JUNE is a whole soundtrack itself. So be prepared for a read that challenges your taste and makes you even more curious about that meaningful rock Jake always refers to.
~The writing balance~
"My love for June and Jake is an anchor, bound with unbreakable chains. Weighing me down, but at the same time... keeping me grounded. Keeping me here. Tying me to the world. It hurts, but it's supposed to, because that's what it means to be alive. And that's comforting, actually. The realization that I'm not some robot devoid of emotions. That I still have the ability to feel things this brutally, this immediate and sharp."
The beginning and the end are engaging and I almost floated through the story. Hannah Harrington’s writing is fantastic, her sentences felt just right to me and her sense for structure and syntax are natural. What amazed me were little sentences filled with prose and loaded with meaning along the road.
Although SAVING JUNE is an insightful read about serious meanings like suicide and the way of coping with the death of a beloved person, it is still a fun read. It might sound weird, but it has the talent to balance moments of pure joy and adventure with moments of grief and anger. It’ll be a pleasure to read more from Hannah Harrington in future, this girl knows how to rock the words!
Posted February 29, 2012
I picked this book up from the store..and started reading it when I got home..the story really sucks you in, and the characters are amazing. Very well written. You will get really attached to this book, the story is very well told. Hannah Harrington did a good job. Must check it out!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 26, 2012
This book was really hard for me to finish just because I don't want to thing about if I lost one of my sisters. I am one of six girls. I talk to my sisters everyday and I love each and everyone of them dearly. I would not know how to do deal with it if one of them past a way. But this is why this book was so good. It was very emotional and breathtaking. It was so well written. It kept the pages moving and turning. And I love that about a book.
You meet Harper. Harper is a teenage girl that should be loving life because she is about to go into her senior year of high school. She should be looking forward to homecoming, football games, basketball games, and prom. But she is having to deal with a funeral for her sister. Her sister decided to take her own life. But she doesn't know way. While at the wake she decides that she is going to do something for June. She is going to respect her sister and take her ashes to California and put them in the ocean. She is doing this because she knows that that is what June would want. So she embarks on this road trip with her best friend and one of June's friend. Her friend Jacob that is the hard rocker type that works at a music store. I have to tell you that I love when books incorporate music into them. I think that it is so amazing!
This book was so good. It reminded me a lot of Audrey, Wait! You really feel the heart break and emotions that run through the characters. You want things to happen for them not happen to them. I would recommend this book anyone that needs a good cry and a good read!
Posted February 15, 2012
I am a book fanatic and have read a great deal of books. I have not been so captured by a set of characters like these since Thirteen Reasons Why. This book just draws you in with the authors realistic and heartfelt writing.
As cheesy as it sounds, i laughed and cried...and then read the book again.
The perfect book if you are looking for something real, romantic and that will keep you reading through the night.
Posted February 14, 2012
Here’s the breakdown:
Plot: The idea for the plot was something I’d never read before and I thought it was a really creative way to bring some depth and gravity to something as light as a road trip novel. The ultimate goal for the plot is for Harper to get her sister’s ashes to California. Along the way we encounter political extremists, a George Clooney-loving diner waitress, and a revolving cast of musicians, artists, etc. The plot dragged a little to me for a few reasons. First, it takes FOREVER for the road trip to start. They talk about the road trip, debate the road trip, plan the road trip, before it FINALLY happens. Second, a lot of the travelling and the pit stops along the way were irrelevant. They spend several pages in St. Louis, riding up to the top of the arch and what not, but in the end it has nothing to do with the plot or the goal of getting to California. Granted, a lot of discussion and emotional inner dialogue occur for our characters in this scene and others like it, but it could have just as easily happened without detailed description of the city and its monuments.
Characters: Harper is awesome. She is tough as nails and does what she wants, but she also has a vulnerable side that we get to see a lot more as the novel progresses. Laney is also really cool- the type of loyal and quirky best friend every teen girl wants. And JAKE! Can I just say…WHERE IS MY JAKE? I loved him so much! He’s starts out very mysterious and then…well, he stays pretty mysterious for the whole book. But he’s passionate about music (one of my passions too) and as he and Harper get to know each other…whoo! Let’s just say it’s something you’ll want to read for yourself.
Writing style: Harrington’s style is smooth and easily and quickly read. The depth of the emotion is very real and at times I felt myself aching for the characters’ suffering. Also, The Music. Jake is obsessed with music and he has fabulous taste. Music is a central theme throughout and the novel even comes with its own soundtracks! It’s pretty great.
Verdict: 4 Stars
A real and emotional read with developed, interesting characters and the perfect amount of romance.
Side Note: There’s a lot of religious and philosophical discussion and political commentary in this one. If that’s not your cup of tea, you might want to read something else. Just a warning.