Title: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Release Date: November 22, 2011 (US)
Pages: 322, Paperback
"Only I would notice a guy's ears when he's half-naked. There's something seriously wrong with me." -Saving June, pg. 245
Saving June was quite the read. It's one of those darker contemporaries that makes you think. When I first heard "roadtrip", I immediately thought it was going to be a fun, summer-y read that would make me light-hearted and cheerful, but I received quite the opposite. Although what I read was unexpected, I loved it. The turnout was fascinating, and it was only some areas in the plot that really slowed it down for me, but otherwise, Saving June is a magical story that everyone should try out.
The story starts off with the death of Harper's older sister, June, who committed suicide. Harper and her mother are both devastated, but the devastation Harper feels is… different. She doesn't cry; instead, she's hollow. Nothing. She doesn't even know why June killed herself. What she does know is that June always wanted to leave their city and go to California. And with that, Harper and her best friend, Laney, take the road trip to California, to scatter June's ashes. But Jake Tolan, a boy of June's past, comes along with them. Jake helps them and in a way, heals Harper.
The characters were extremely strong. Harper was so real to me. Her emotions were carried out very well and I could really truly understand her anger, despair, love, grief, and passion. Her progression and healing process was paced very well, and I loved watching her transition back into herself during the road trip. Laney was very fun, I loved her. She was serious when she needed to be, and a great friend when Harper needed her. I also really admired Jake Tolan. His love for music was so great, and his personality was so pure and although he was portrayed as a bad-boy, his inner self was astonishing and completely different than what I had thought. He was also an intricate and secretive character as well. But all the same, all of the characters were fabulous.
I think very highly of Hannah Harrington's writing. It was utterly breathtaking. I couldn't have loved the characters as much as I do if it weren't for Hannah's writing style and imagery!
The factor that really deflated this stellar novel was the plot pacing. The first half was extremely slow for me, and I kind of had to push my way through. Do not get me wrong, I loved the characters from the start, but the plot was moving along very slowly. It wasn't until the middle of the book that it really started to pick up. And the ending… it took my breath away! It's always really important for an author to have the perfect ending, because it's usually the last thing that the reader reads & remembers. And Hannah was not near to disappointing me. The ending was absolutely perfect.
In the long run, despite the occasional slow-paced moments in the story, Saving June was a beautiful and stunning story with exceptional characters and outstanding writing. I cannot wait to check out more of Hannah Harrington's oncoming novels!