Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Book: Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Released: November 22, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 251 (Nook version)
Stars: 2 Stars out of 5

   Harper Scott's sister, June, is the golden child; she has perfect grades, she's pretty, and popular. So when June commits suicide, no one can explain why and Harper is devastated.
   Searching for answers and attempting to keep June's ashes from being split in two by her divorcing parents, Harper steals them and sets off on a road trip. She's accompanied by her best friend, Laney, and Jake Tolan, the mysterious boy with secrets of his own and some sort of connection to June. The three of them set off to take June to the one place she had always dreamed of ... California. 

   I'll start off by saying that I had a difficult time relating to Harper. She's self obsessed and lacks awareness of others around her. She doesn't seem to have thought about what stealing her sister's ashes would do to her grieving parents. After all, she's taking away what remains for their dead daughter. It came off as heartless and selfish. 

The black and white contrast between June and Harper was very cliche. June was the perfect one and Harper has a bad attitude and is always in trouble. June was gorgeous and outgoing, Harper is plain and unpopular. Harper's constant sulking and focus on how perfect everyone else is compared to her was extremely tiresome and obnoxious.

The road trip portion of the book does make story a bit lighter. The group has many interesting encounters along the way. However, when they reach their destination, Harper is forced to confront the secret Jake has been keeping from her. That particular scene was so anti-climatic that I almost stopped reading the book right then and there. It seemed that the only point of Jake's secret was to cause conflict between him and Harper. For me, personally, this big secret came off as inconsequential and Harper's reaction to it made her even more juvenile in my eyes. 

As far as the mystery of June's suicide? There is no real resolution. I was hoping for something emotional, something cathartic. But it wasn't any one thing that caused her to take her life. June was just a girl who kept all her real emotions hidden and was in far more pain than anyone realized. This tends to be the case in a lot of teen suicides; so the aspect of the book was realistic, I suppose.

There are a few more bits of drama here and there. Laney's drama for instance, though her issues came late in the book and seemed forced. As did Harper and Jake's romance. They literally go from their first kiss to having sex for the first time in the same scene. 

The only aspect of this book that actually saved it from getting one star or no stars at all was the music. Jake has some interesting taste in music, much of which I appreciate. 

With all of that said ... The suicide of a sibling seems so devastating to me that it’s hard to imagine any sort of closure within this book actually being achieved and in a few short months at that. All in all I gave Saving June two stars. It was mediocre at best. 

Happy reading!


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