Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

‘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.

Judging from the Aussie cover (which is gorgeous) and the blurb I expected Saving June to be a melancholic (perhaps whimsical) novel exploring grief/sisterhood & bad boys ;) I thought it may be a rainy-day comfort read. But it was so much more than that. 

SAVING JUNE opens with Harper at her sisters wake ~ and the tone is pitch perfect for that kind of startled frozen grief ~ and yet Harrington had me grinning (grinning! in the aftermath of a funeral) multiple times before the chapter was through, even alongside that gorgeously portrayed ache. 

That first chapter pretty much sets the tone for the book ~ which continues to grow in it’s awesomeness right until the very end. I found SAVING JUNE absolutely refreshing and completely addictive. It’s funky and full of life even as it explores darker themes. 

It reads so effortlessly ~ like Harrington is very comfortable with her prose, characters and their world. I love lines of prose that make you stop and think, sentiments worded so perfectly that you find little epiphanies about the most ordinary of things (I found that here). Also ~ genius one-liners that made me ache/grin/pause/sigh or all of the above. 

I am crazy-in-love with the grin-worthy and whip-smart dialogue, that easy banter that comes from people being stuck on a road trip together and getting overly bold and familiar. This book easily catches a sense of camaraderie between it’s characters that make it easy for a reader to slip in alongside them and feel as if you are there. 

The romantic sub-plot (you guys!) unfolded exactly how I love: it starts off brilliantly antagonistic between Harper and Jake (love their first three meetings) and the romantic tension between them burns throughout the novel. Harrington shows such restraint in shaping their relationship and it really pays off. It’s incredibly sexy watching the love/hate/annoyance/attraction thing and even sexier when, well, when things turn sexy :D 

The thing about this book is at first glance you can probably find a lot of cliched threads: the (better, smarter) sister who committed suicide, a road trip with a mysterious bad boy, characters who struggle with their parents and pasts and futures. But Harrington blitzes pass cliche-land with her nuanced characters that are explored in layers, unfolding piece by piece. SAVING JUNE has so much heart, it’s sad in parts but mostly captures that whole YA thing of finding your place in the world. It has hope and I smiled, grinned and sighed, like, a lot, considering the premise of the book O.o 

There are also random cool things that make road trip books so much fun. For eg: Fridgehenge (!) 

There are a few things that niggled at the end and occasionally the pacing lulls (not in terms of my interest in reading, oh my gosh I couldn’t put it down, but perhaps in terms of plot) and some of the banter with other characters can occasionally be too smart (in that John-Green-I-am-cool-kind-of-way ~ but only with a few minor-blip characters) but none of this detracted from insanely loving every minute of this. 

Recommended: for an upper YA vibe, road-trip, music filled, complete swoon-worthy read ~ SAVING JUNE is absolutely delivers. It's in my top three reads so far this year. I've tried not to rave (too much) in my review but - you guys - I am crazy-in-love with this book <3

(it is M rated in parts ~ so for mature readers ...)

Saving June @ goodreads

US cover
Saving June was released in Australia last month (available now!) ~ but will not be out in the US until November 29 this year (no idea why!!? ~ it is an American author). It is a YA debut (And I will auto-buy whatever Hannah Harrington writes next ;)

Which cover do you like best? 

p.s. I am still swooning ;) <3


  1. sounds really good. the cover is gorgeous.
    have you read where she went? i finished and it's deffinety one of my top books for this year.

  2. I love the Aussie cover though I think the US cover is pretty too. And what a gorgeous review, Nomes!
    I LOVED IT. And it's going up on my list. Gosh, everytime I come here, I take back longer lists.

    Do you think its out in the UK? Then I can get my copy right away!

  3. Such a wonderful review, you have me dying to read this! Although you had me at insanely in love on Goodreads :)

    It's out 22nd November in the UK *sob* such a long time to wait, but I'll definitely be buying it - thanks for the recommendation.

  4. I like the Aussie cover best and am very intrigued by this book. Loved your reference to John Greene and also how you clarified the about the author passing cliche-land. Another awesome review.

  5. I love the Aussie cover! So pretty :). And this sounds amazing - I immediately judged it as another The Sky is Everywhere but after your review it sounds very different! I'll definitely keep any eye out for it, thanks for the great review.

  6. Noooooomes! Why would you do this to me?! As I was reading your review, I just became more and more enticed. I realize I probably can't resist buying this book ASAP, it sounds amazing!! Grief (hehe, my fave), dialigue, non-cliche, upper YA, romance... AGHHH NEED THIS NOW. Fabulous review.

  7. PS~now I'm SO bummed out I have to wait until December! =(

  8. I *LOVE* the sound of this book. I was reading yours and Nic's reviews earlier on Goodreads and now I'm so excited to read this one. So excited was I, in fact, that I tried to buy it on The Book Depo, but they don't have it. I must have that pretty Aussie cover. I like it much more than the US cover!

  9. Oh! I was ready to go buy it right now! but it looks like I'll have to wait.
    I loved your review, and thanks for the warnings about the lulls, I rather go in knowing that kind of thing.

    Otherwise it sounds amazing.

    I like both covers buuuut I would stick to the US one, for once, which is rare since I usually go Aussie all the way.

  10. I was mildly interested in this one before, but you have definitely ramped my interest up with this review! The characterization sounds fabulous and I love a good love-hate dynamic. Like everyone else I'm preferring the Aussie cover. Thanks for the awesome review!

  11. I think both of the covers are seriously amazing and wow naomi I love love LOVE this review. this is actually the first time i've heard of this book and you bet your ass i'm ordering a copy. i want the aussie one so bad!

  12. Oooh, definitely adding this one to my TBR pile, it sounds like something I'll dig. Great review as always! :)

  13. How sad is it that this book isn't going to be released until NOV for the U.S., especially since I had a mad rush feeling to buy it after reading your awesome review?! I want to know what had you grinning at a funeral!

    And the Aussie cover is breathtaking! Why couldn't they leave it like that for the U.S. cover? *pouts all over the place*

  14. YAY for upper YA! :) I like both covers :) I'm get an ARC of this! I can't wait to read it!!!

  15. Ahh you've gotten me all excited now!
    I have this book on my bedside table waiting.. Now that I've finished Starcrossed i'm going devour it.
    I can't wait to read it and oh Jake sounds so good!
    I think the Aussie cover is best, it's what made me buy it in the first place its very vintage. And from what you've said it has a very poetic voice which would suit the Aussie cover. The US cover just doesn't do it for me.
    Great review as always!
    - abbeys bookshelf

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  17. Why is this not yet available in the Philippines when you said that it's specifically included in the copyright? :( This makes me sad because I want to read it NOW. I really hope it becomes available through NetGalley.

  18. Love this review. I don't know how I am going to write mine. I notice you didn't go swoony in the review LOL. All I have to say is eating peanut butter shirtless ;)

  19. Ahh Nomes, what Nic said! I see the love but where's the swoon?! lol

    So glad the three of us read it together.

    "I am crazy-in-love with the grin-worthy and whip-smart dialogue, that easy banter that comes from people being stuck on a road trip together and getting overly bold and familiar. This book easily catches a sense of camaraderie between it’s characters that make it easy for a reader to slip in alongside them and feel as if you are there. "

    ^^^ OMG yes. Perfectly put :)

  20. I WANT THIS BOOK!!! It is so unfair that you Aussies get all the good stuff first. And why I ask you??? Why??? I love your line about grin-worthy and whip-smart dialogue. So true. :)

  21. This sounds like a lovely book! I love your review! It seems that everytime I visit your blog, my TBR increases in size :D

  22. Sounds really good, I'll have to read it, thanks Nomes! Great Review :)


  23. Brilliant review Nomes! All I have heard are good things about Saving June, so I guess I'll have to check it out. :)

  24. ROAD TRIP BOOK! awesome! you know i'm getting on this bandwagon then.

  25. This review was fab. Simply fab.

    I want to read this book for so many reasons. You pretty much told me it has everything I love to read. Roadtrip, bad boy, emotional, slow simmering sexual tension, beautiful prose, and what is this I hear? Great one liners! AGH! Need this book NOW!

    Side rant- How could her parents even think about splitting June's ashes like that? Isn't that just wrong?

    I'm okay with both covers. I don't love one over the other. The US Cover looks a lot more dark though.

    GREAT REVIEW! Nomes you are such a great reviewer. I'm jealous :)

    ♥ Trish

  26. Totally loving the Aussie cover. And this totally sounds like my type of read, although I'm sure you could convince me to read anything LOL


Thanks for the commenty love :)