Saving June

It’s not every day I read books dealing with death, loss, or anything depressing. It’s the reason I didn’t read this book immediately after I got a copy from Netgalley. I haven’t experienced losing a loved one. So I don’t really know how it feels to lose someone you’ve known all your life. I know it’s never easy but how painful would it be if the person didn’t die a natural death but chose to leave instead?

Type HerSaving June by Hannah Harrington

ARC, Harlequin Teen Australia, 336 pages
YA Contemporary

Read from January 15 to 19, 2012

‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one — so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going — California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down — again.

I’m speechless. For a few seconds after finishing the book, I laid on my bed staring at the ceiling thinking of how a devastating topic I usually avoid turned out to be one of the most striking stories I’ve read in a while. Hannah Harrington’s writing is real, honest and impressive.

Harper, Laney and Jake are believable characters with realistic problems. I love their honest voice and witty banter throughout the whole trip. Harper is not really a likable character but I connected with her. I understand why it was difficult for her to cope with grief; everyone has their own pace of moving on. Jake is mysterious, obsessed with music, sings and plays the guitar and what else? Cool. Laney is an amazing best friend that will go to the ends of the earth to support Harper. I was surprised that Harrington presented a conflict in Laney. Usually, supportive characters like her are just—supportive. Not all authors do this and I admire Harrington for equally sharing the limelight to all her main characters.

The three of them lost June and Harrington showed how they cope with the loss. Laney losing a friend she considers as an elder sister. Jake losing an acquaintance that changed his life. Harper losing a sister she loved. Oh, I like how the stages of grieving was presented in this book. They can be best represented by the lines/dialogues in the novel.

Stages of Grief
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance

I also liked the way religion was discussed in this book. I understand how and why Harper felt that way. I did too. Once. And ever since I became a non-practicing Catholic.

If God does exist, then He’s just an asshole, creating this world full of human suffering and letting all these terrible things happen to good people, and sitting there and doing nothing about it. – Harper

I know this isn’t a good line to share for everyone but this is one of the dialogues I really like from Saving June. When I first read it, I remember I also said the same things 5 years ago. I asked why bad things happen to good people and why He’s not doing anything about it. Just like Harper, I went through a similar process of healing but in the end my faith didn’t come back the way it was. I know a lot of people may not understand my stand with religion but that’s how it is. I appreciated Harrington’s unbiased view of faith in this book. She presented both sides of religion. It doesn’t matter if you’re a firm believer or not. You wouldn’t feel left out. And you won’t feel bad if you’re not a devoted practicing Catholic.

Hannah Harrington turned loss and grief into a compelling story of heart and music. Death isn’t a pre-requisite for you to relate with her characters. Saving June is not just a story of pain and misery; it’s a journey of healing. And at end Harper didn’t only save her sister—she saved herself.

Fantabulous: I can’t stop talking about it!

There is so much beauty in just existing. In being alive. – Harper

You only have one life. Cherish it. Don’t waste it. Don’t give up. Choosing death isn’t bravery—it’s cowardice.

Other Reviews:
Bibliophilic Monologues
NESSA’S THOUGHTS
ONE BILLION BOOKS

Challenges:
Free Reads      
Book # 2 of FreeReads         Book # 7 of 2012

Blurb: Goodreads
Photo Credit: annettesbookspot

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