Saving June [Book Review]

Title: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Genre: Young Adult; Contemporary
ISBN: 9780373210244
Pages: 336
Year: 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Rating: 5/5


Everyone thought June was the perfect daughter and Harper was the troubled one. Until June kills herself, leaving her mess of a family to deal with the ramifications. June always wanted to go to California, so Harper, her best friend Laney, and June’s mysterious friend Jake end up taking her there. The three have quite the adventure as they cross the country, finding a little more than they bargained for along the way.

My Thoughts:

This book was so many things. It was sad and heartbreaking at times while lighthearted and hopeful at others. The road trip takes both the characters and the reader through ups and downs as the story crosses the country. I adored everything about this book.

Harrington created complex characters that grew and stumbled and grew some more. Harper, Laney, and Jake are flawed teenagers grieving the loss of  June while dealing with all of the normal adolescent angst.

But Saving June isn’t all emotion; there is plenty of adventure. From protests to rock concerts, the trio stumbles into plenty of action along the way.

One of the best things about Saving June is the music. Music is weaved into the story so that it is almost its own character. Jake’s music influenced June so much that a mix cd of his was playing when she killed herself. Likewise, Jake uses music to break through the barriers Harper’s put up. A road trip wouldn’t be complete without music and this road trip doesn’t disappoint on the front (Bonus: listen to Jake’s “Saving June” playlist here).

On a personal note, I almost didn’t want them to leave Michigan in the first place. I always enjoy spending time in my home state in books, especially when I’m so far away from it in real life.

I can’t recommend Saving June enough. Harrington has talent and I am anxious to see what she does next.

Memorable passages:

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” p. 175*

“These songs tell me I’m not alone. If you look at it that way, music…music can see you through anything.” p. 185

“It’s like I’m on the cusp of something desperate and dangerous, but I don’t know what it is.” p. 187

Others’ ThoughtsGalleySmithKellyVision; Fiction Folio; Anna Reads; GReads!

Buy It Now: Amazon; IndieBound

*Note: Page numbers refer to the advanced reading copy and may be different in the published version.

12 thoughts on “Saving June [Book Review]

  1. Linda December 1, 2011 / 12:00 pm

    I hadn’t heard of this one til I saw you tweet about it. It sounds heartbreakingly good.


  2. zibilee December 1, 2011 / 1:20 pm

    This book sounds like it deal with some pretty complex emotions and that it does it in a very approachable and interesting way. I would love to read this one and see what I make of it. It seems like a book that is destined to make its way onto my pile. Thanks for the very thought provoking review. I enjoyed it!


  3. MotherReader December 1, 2011 / 2:20 pm

    Came from your #shameless Twitter message, more because it was funny than because I need a new YA book to read. (I’m on a current picture book binge for my blog.) But in any case, good one.


    • Michelle December 1, 2011 / 5:52 pm

      I’m going to have to start reading your picture book reviews soon with my first little one on the way. 🙂


  4. Sandy December 1, 2011 / 4:31 pm

    Wow. I’m not sure how much more you could have said to convince me. Emotion? Road trip? Playlist? (love playlists alot) Is it me, or does that cover look like something from 1966? Very retro.


    • Michelle December 1, 2011 / 5:49 pm

      It feels like an older time. Cross-country road trips, classic rock. So the vintage-y cover fits well.


  5. Michelle December 2, 2011 / 11:06 am

    Oh how I loved this book. It was just that perfect kind of emotional angst that gets me invested in characters and situations. Fantastical.


  6. Vasilly December 2, 2011 / 10:37 pm

    This sounds like an amazing book! I’m going to see if my library has it. Great review.


  7. Tara December 4, 2011 / 6:25 pm

    MICHIGAN REPRESENT!! Saving June was by far one of my favorite books this year and I’m so glad you enjoyed it as well 🙂


  8. Laurie C March 5, 2012 / 2:30 pm

    Just to let you know — I linked to your review in my blog post today. Thank you!
    I didn’t connect as much with the music in the book, and at first I thought all the discussion of it was too much, but at that age, what music you listen to is so much a part of you that it made sense to put so much emphasis on it in the story.


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