All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Saving June – Hannah Harrington

on October 17, 2012

Saving June
Hannah Harrington
Harlequin UK MIRA Ink
2011, 327p
Read from my TBR pile

Harper is sixteen when her older sister June chooses to take her own life. There’s been no note found, no reason why and Harper is struggling with the fact that her older sister is gone. Her family has been falling apart – her parents have split up and she now rarely sees her father who has moved in with his new girlfriend. June was an ally in a crazy world and now that she’s gone, Harper and her mother are left to pick up the pieces, to search for an answer where one might not be found. Feeling in the way, like no one understands her, Harper makes a snap decision.

She’s going to take June’s ashes (planned to be divided in half between her mother and father) and take them to California, somewhere that June always wanted to go. She had longed to go to college there, talking of the beach, weather, lifestyle and beauty of the place but June had done the good thing that was required of her and accepted a local place instead. Harper decides that this will be both something she can do for June, take her to California and also for herself – she needs to get away, to breathe.

Accompanied by her best friend Laney and a mysterious musician named Jake who was friends with June, they travel from Michigan across the country, heading for California. They stop along the way, making detours and choosing to do things on impulse, relishing in their freedom and the rare chance to do as they choose. With a soundtrack of classic music to keep them going, some stolen kisses and the promise of golden beaches and clear blue oceans, Harper is determined to give her sister the send off she knows that she deserves. And maybe along the way she might be able to let go of her anger and grief and find a little peace for herself too.

After reading Speechless by Hannah Harrington a little while ago, I knew I had to read this one, her first novel. I had it marked but hadn’t gotten around to purchasing it but I ordered it straight away after Speechless, deciding I couldn’t wait any longer. I’ve discovered that YA that tackles an issue such as bullying or suicide plus a budding romance is pretty much an instant winner with me and this novel turned out to be no exception.

Harper is angry and she’s hurting. Her sister and her were close but as far as she can tell, June left her no note. Gave her no indication that this was where she was heading. She blames herself, she thinks that she should’ve been able to see it, that she could’ve done something. When she gets the feeling that her being around is just a burden, that maybe it might’ve been better if she and June had’ve switched places, Harper gets the idea to do something for June, to take her ashes to California and scatter them over the Pacific. She ropes in her best friend, crazy Laney and when Laney’s car dies, mysterious musician Jake steps in and offers the use of his fan (named Joplin). Harper isn’t sure what happened between Jake and June but a mixtape she found made for June and Jake’s taste in music that matches said mixtape has her wondering.

loved Harper and Jake. Harper is so prickly, partially from what happened and partially because that is just her. Jake is such an interesting mix of cool musician and awkward boy. They had me from their first interaction at June’s wake because I was as curious as Harper what had exactly occurred between Jake and June. I love a good road trip book and even more I love a good road trip book with some sexual tension and a blossoming romance. I thought the pacing of this one was perfect, enough interactions to really set the scene and build an almost reluctant attraction on Harper’s part and I liked that despite it being Harper’s narrative, it was always very easy for the reader to pick up on Jake’s interest as well.

Harper’s grief is excellently done – it’s there and it’s in your face and it’s believable without straying into embarrassingly dramatic. She does and says things that made me cringe a couple of times but they were all things I can believe in someone in her situation saying or doing, they were things I might say or do myself in a quest to understand something so shocking and final. When she feels betrayed at the end of the novel, she has a right to and she doesn’t hold back at all. She’s blisteringly angry and she remains angry later even though she realises that perhaps her actions of removing someone from her life were hasty. Instead she tries to work things out, a sign that she has matured throughout the book and learned to deal with things in a different way. The trip to California does help Harper deal with June’s death, especially the fact that it was at her own hand. It doesn’t cure her grief but it certainly does help to give her some peace, both the actual trip and the fun she has on it and what comes at the end of it.

I really enjoyed this book and became very invested in the characters. I’ll be keeping watch pretty anxiously for Hannah Harrington’s next book.


Book #207 of 2012

4 responses to “Saving June – Hannah Harrington

  1. Belle says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this one! I’ve wanted to read it for so long. Do you think it matters whether you read Speechless or Saving June first?

    • No, I don’t. Harper and Jake are in Speechless but it’s like half a page and only one of their names gets mentioned so I think it’s basically just a little nod to say to the readers they’re ok

  2. I read this one after loving Speechless too! It was so good! I think Hannah is such a good writer that what could be annoying is instead relatable. Great review!

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