Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Saving June
By Hannah Harrington
November 22, 2011
Harlequin, 336 pgs

Amazon description:Everyone's sorry. But no one can explain why.
Harper Scott's older sister, June, took her own life a week before high school graduation, leaving Harper devastated. So when her divorcing parents decide to split up June's ashes, Harper steals the urn and takes off cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going—California.
Enter Jake Tolan, a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession…and an unknown connection to June. When he insists on joining them, Harper's just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanor and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what Harper needs. Except…Jake's keeping a secret that has the power to turn her life upside down—again.”

Here’s the breakdown: 

Plot: The idea for the plot was something I’d never read before and I thought it was a really creative way to bring some depth and gravity to something as light as a road trip novel. The ultimate goal for the plot is for Harper to get her sister’s ashes to California. Along the way we encounter political extremists, a George Clooney-loving diner waitress, and a revolving cast of musicians, artists, etc. The plot dragged a little to me for a few reasons. First, it takes FOREVER for the road trip to start. They talk about the road trip, debate the road trip, plan the road trip, before it FINALLY happens. Second, a lot of the travelling and the pit stops along the way were irrelevant. They spend several pages in St. Louis, riding up to the top of the arch and what not, but in the end it has nothing to do with the plot or the goal of getting to California. Granted, a lot of discussion and emotional inner dialogue occur for our characters in this scene and others like it, but it could have just as easily happened without detailed description of the city and its monuments. 

Characters: Harper is awesome. She is tough as nails and does what she wants, but she also has a vulnerable side that we get to see a lot more as the novel progresses. Laney is also really cool- the type of loyal and quirky best friend every teen girl wants. And JAKE! Can I just say…WHERE IS MY JAKE? I loved him so much! He’s starts out very mysterious and then…well, he stays pretty mysterious for the whole book. But he’s passionate about music (one of my passions too) and as he and Harper get to know each other…whoo! Let’s just say it’s something you’ll want to read for yourself.

Writing style: Harrington’s style is smooth and easily and quickly read. The depth of the emotion is very real and at times I felt myself aching for the characters’ suffering. Also, The Music. Jake is obsessed with music and he has fabulous taste. Music is a central theme throughout and the novel even comes with its own soundtracks! It’s pretty great. 


A real and emotional read with developed, interesting characters and the perfect amount of romance.

Side Note: There’s a lot of religious and philosophical discussion and political commentary in this one. If that’s not your cup of tea, you might want to read something else. Just a warning.  

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