Saving June by Hannah Harrington
HarlequinTeen, 322 Pages
US Release Date: November 22, 2011
Challenges: Completely Contemp Challenge, Local Library Challenge
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.
I hate this. I hate feeling too much and not enough at the same time.
So, definite new literary crush: Jacob Tolan. Yes please. There's a paragraph where Harper talks about the reasons she's confused and what she likes about him, and all I did was nod vigorously along and was like, "YES! That's what I want!" (page 268, if anyone's got their copy.)
I'd been hearing about Saving June for awhile, and I kept seeing it at the store and picking it up and putting it back down...I completely regret not discovering this earlier. It is the perfect mix of token YA gold: road trip and music and yummy boy and best friend and loss and emotion and EVERYTHING. I teared up and hurt so hard for Harper, and I just wanted to laugh and scream with Laney, and I wanted to stare into Jake's eyes and figure him out. Not even joking, as soon as I finished my library copy I ran out to my closest bookstore and purchased a shiny new copy to add to my shelves.
I love how widespread the music is handled in this. A lot of books I've read make me feel like an idiot if I don't listen to certain classic rock, or if I don't know of a certain song immediately when a character plays it, or simply just makes me feel bad for not being some indie kid. But not Saving June - the tastes are eclectic, and the integration of Jake being a musical trivia book was perfect to explain some things and prompt me along as though I was in the van with them.
Also, can we please talk about the kissy scene? Because HOT DAMN AND A HALF, that was hot. I kept marveling at how tastefully it was done but still remained incredibly breathtaking and sexy. Well done, Hannah Harrington: well done.
I know my review is making it seem like it's just a romance book, but trust me when I say it's so much more than that: it's learning how to live with pain, how to continue on when someone you love has given up, how to make difficult choices and sometimes how you have to give in and not be ok. Even though I have never, ever experienced something like this (thank goodness), I related so much to Harper it was like I was reading my own thoughts. Harper is gritty and real and confronts those feelings we're so scared to admit we have. The anger and guilt and everything from in-between and afar.
The characters are really what drove this story for me. Harper is fabulous, a badass doesn't-take-shit-from-anyone girl running lost and trying to find answers; Jake is this quietly funny and steadfastly, rudely honest guy who does the best with what he can (and he listens to jazz! and plays guitar! and dances! oh my heart...); and Laney is the best friend you could ask for, always there to offer a shoulder to cry on, a joke to cheer you up, or the simple presence you need when you're being torn apart. Their interactions are funny and sincere and heartbreaking and I really, really wish I was in that van on that road trip seeing Fridgehenge and that diner and Huntington with them.
(By the way, does Fridgehenge really exist? Because it needs to if it doesn't, and I need to see it if it does.)
If you haven't read this, I absolutely implore you to do so as fast as you can. Don't make my mistake of putting it off, because this book will be your new best friend.
5 Stars / 5
*it's a 5-Star, so it's added to my Birthday giveaway!