Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Published November 22nd 2011 by Harlequin
Review Copy: NetGalley
Description From Goodreads:
When her older sister commits suicide and her divorcing parents decide to divide the ashes, Harper Scott takes her sister’s urn to the one place June always wanted to go: California. On the road with her best friend, plus an intriguing guy with a mysterious connection to June, Harper discovers truths about her sister, herself and life.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Saving June” is one of the best – if not the best – contemporary novels I’ve ever read.
Harper Scott’s older sister, June, took her own life. It’s a tragedy that no one seems to understood, one that no one saw coming – especially Harper. Unlike everyone else around her who seems to be falling apart, Harper finds it impossible to even cry at her sister’s death. It isn’t because she isn’t upset. But for some reason, she can’t truly process the certainty of the situation – June’s gone and she’ll never come back.
Desperate to save what’s left of June and give her what peace she can, Harper plans a trip to California with her best friend Laney where she plans to spread her ashes. But they won’t get there without Jake – a stranger somehow connected to June. When Jake offers to bring Harper and Laney to California, Harper’s initial reaction is to say no. She doesn’t understand why he’d want to tag along or what kind of relationship he had with her sister. But when Laney insists that Jake’s offer is just what they needed, Harper forces herself to tell Jake yes, still wary about his reasons for offering to help them.
I really enjoyed reading along as Harper, Jake, and Laney made their way to California. Between staying at the vegan house, the protest, the concert, and the motel – there was never a dull moment. But what I really enjoyed best was watching the romance develop between Harper and Jake. They are both struggling to deal with a loss – one more so than the other – and they still don’t know much about each other, but you can feel that connection there, that longing.
And let’s not forget the music. Talk about a book with a fantastic soundtrack! Yet another reason why I loved Jake’s character. He was a bit of a music snob, albeit one with fantastic taste. To him, music needs to tell a story. And the music in “Saving June” only helped to do just that.
On a more personal note – the reason why Harper’s story hits close to home: Back in July of this year, an old friend of mine took his own life. One of the best memories I have with him is the night we went to see The Unseen (a punk band) in concert. He’d never heard of them, and probably would’ve never gone had I not dragged him with me, but it really was one of the best nights of my life. Reading “Saving June” brought back those good memories, while also reminding me just how beautiful life can be, even in a time of loss and pain.
I’d highly recommend “Saving June” to anyone who loved “If I Stay” and “Where She Went” by Gayle Forman.