Nick and June Were Here

Nick and June Were Here

by Shalanda Stanley


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399556586
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 02/12/2019
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 189,593
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Shalanda Stanley grew up in Louisiana and earned her BA in creative writing at Florida State University. She has an MEd in special education from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and a PhD from LSU in curriculum and instruction, with a focus in reading curriculum and research. She's an assistant professor at the University of Louisiana at Monroe in the School of Education. Follow her on Twitter at @ShalandaStanley and learn more at

Read an Excerpt

It was midnight and we lay on our backs in the bed of Bethany’s truck. We were in the middle of a cornfield and it was after harvesttime, so it was just the three of us and the leftover broken stalks. There was supposed to be a meteor shower that night. We’d been watching them together since we were in elementary school, back when we’d watch from my trampoline with my parents sitting on the swing on the porch, back when we thought the meteors were shooting stars and we’d make wishes.
Nick checked the time on his phone. “It should start any minute now,” he said.
That was his job, to check the time. Nick made sure things happened when they were supposed to.
The night was clear and the sky was so huge it felt infinite, so big that I felt the weight of it.
The world feels too big. Sometimes the world feels so big you can’t breathe.
My breath hitched and my fingers jerked, reaching for the edge of my notebook that lay next to me. I never let it get too far away. I’d gotten better at not reacting when it happened, but I had to write it down before I forgot the words. I sat up.
The world feels too big. Sometimes the world feels so big you can’t breathe, I wrote.
“Hey, lay back down,” Nick said.
Not yet. “What time is it?” I asked him.
“12:03,” he said.
12:03, I wrote.
Nick and Bethany didn’t ask what I was writing. They were used to my documenting. They were used to everything about me. Bethany and I had been together since birth, born only a day apart. She came first. Nick had been in my class every year since kindergarten, but we didn’t start spending time together until the fifth grade, when we were assigned to work together on a social studies project. Our project was called “Cotton: Then and Now.” It was a long and arduous task. Secrets were spilled. Bonds were forged.
Bethany nudged me. “Is it happening again?” she asked.
I nodded. It happened more and more.
She pulled me down to them. “Keep your eyes on the stars,” she said. “They are so beautiful.”
They are so beautiful.
She felt me flinch and turned to me. “It’s okay,” she said.
They are so beautiful they are SO beautiful.
“I’m with you,” she told me. Her breath on my cheek was warm and smelled like coconut. Bethany always smelled like sunscreen and reminded me of summer.
And she was right. The stars were beautiful. I imagined what Earth would look like if I was on a star and looking down at it.
The world feels too big.
I imagined sitting on the star and looking down at Earth. I’d hold up my thumb and close one eye so the whole world disappeared behind it.
I squeezed the notebook to my chest. Sometimes I could just hold it and feel better. Nick scooted closer to me so that his leg touched mine. He knew when I needed him to touch me.
A year ago, things had changed between us. One day, every time I looked up, he was looking back at me, and then I caught him drawing my face in the margins of his history notebook. He drew all the time, but he’d never drawn me before. When I asked him about it, he said, “I just feel better when I’m looking at you.”
His dad had gone to prison two years earlier and Nick had been sad ever since, so I was glad something was making him feel better. We started spending more and more time together, just the two of us. He’d come over and we’d sit on my porch swing. My parents didn’t know what to think of it, so I’d bring a textbook outside with me. We could all pretend it was just homework. Nick would even ask me a question or two. At first we sat on opposite ends of the swing, but every day he’d sit a little closer, until we sat so close that our legs touched. Once he pulled a sucker from his pocket. It was root-beer-flavored, our favorite, but there was only one. We shared it, back and forth from his mouth to mine. That was how things changed between us. It was a few gained inches on a front-porch swing and that sucker. He told me things he’d never told anyone, the kinds of things you’d confess only in the dark. It was a powerful feeling, and I was addicted.
He noticed things about me that others didn’t. Some were big and some were small. He noticed that the time we almost had a wreck, I covered my ears instead of closing my eyes. It was the same way with scary movies, in the everybody-is-about-to-die parts. I’d much rather see it than hear it. He knew I didn’t read books with animals in them, just in case they didn’t survive the story, and I didn’t eat yellow food, not because I thought it was gross but because yellow was my favorite color and I thought the world needed more of it, not less. After our first fight, he snuck into my house while my parents and I were out for dinner and painted one of my bedroom walls sunlight yellow. My parents didn’t appreciate his apology like I did.
He was the first person to realize something was wrong. He knew before I did.
I noticed things about him, too. His pinkie finger on his right hand was crooked for reasons we couldn’t remember and he prayed before he ate, but only a soft mumble so nobody would notice. It was the same thing when he did something nice for someone. It was small gestures, so if you weren’t watching closely, you’d miss it. That was Nick. He never wanted to reveal his true self. When his mom left town with her boyfriend and he had to go live with his aunt Linda, he started saying, “I’m okay,” before anyone had a chance to ask him how he was doing.

Customer Reviews

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Nick and June Were Here 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous 5 days ago
Lovely story, wonderful characters, nice story line. In my opiniom, the book ended far too quickly though. I wish the story was longer. It ended far too fast, I wish there was more to Nick and June's story. Is definitly worth a read.
_magicbookdom_ 5 months ago
Nick and June were here by shalanda Stanley 4⭐️ Thank you to NetGalley and Random house children’s for an E-arc in exchange for an honest review. June, a young teenager going through a mental breakdown. Months of not knowing what’s going on and months of trying to hide her secret. Nick, a young car thief that hasn’t known anything else in his life other than being madly in love with June. Best friends and now madly in love with each other, they try to take their life into there own hands. After June gets diagnosed with schizophrenia and nick gets arrested for grand theft auto they decide to run away. Running away proves to be more than they could possibly handle. One thing leads to another and they hope the wronged can be righted again. This book was so intense with young love, mental illness, friendship, and family. I would highly recommended this book to anyways who needs a read with good representation and a love story that feels just right!
thegeekishbrunette 6 months ago
Nick and June Were Here is about two teenagers in love trying to stay afloat when their both faced with harsh reality. June has always been the good one and figuring out her plans for college while Nick has had a rough life since his mother left and his dad is in jail for the same thing he is doing now. Both are opposites but love makes you do questionable things as they set off on an adventure together.  I enjoyed the plot of the book and how it touched on mental illness which can be a hard subject at times. The characters were unique in their own way but I didn't feel as though I connected with them on a deeper level. The relationship between Nick and June was one thing that kept me going. Every step of the way, Nick wanted what was best for her and even when he does put her in danger he has the courage to realize it and make a decision that changes his life. Her writing style was great and I loved how the chapters were split by point of views, Nick or June. It's nice when you can get into the head of multiple characters too see why they would make decisions especially in this book which is full of them. I can't say I was a fan of the ending because I am one that needs more closure but overall it was a decent tie up. Although the characters lacked a bit for me, it was a decent read and didn't take long to finish. If you like contemporaries then give this book a try! (I received a digital copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.)
xokristim 6 months ago
There was no doubt in my mind that I would enjoy this one, it has so many qualities I like reading about. It’s a love story, deals with mental illness, and ultimately making an important decision. I was definitely not disappointed in this one. It was told at a pace that the story flowed beautifully, making me have a hard time putting it down. I almost immediately fell in love with both Nick and June. Nick ultimately would make the “wrong” decisions, but for all the right reasons. He was a character torn in two with how he should live his life and how he wanted to. June on the other hand seemed to always be making the right decisions. Until symptoms of something she knew nothing about starting showing and she had no idea how to handle them. I absolutely recommend this book if you are looking for a contemporary book that deals with tough scenarios. There is a lot more to it than what the synopsis portrays and I have a feeling you, too will not be disappointed. The writing is just captivating and really made me feel like I was friends with the two main characters. At points I just wanted to hug them and tell them everything would be ok, but who knew if that was true.