Book Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

How Excited Was I To Read Saving June by Hannah Harrington? 8. I loved, loved, loved Speechless, by the same author, which I told y’all about here. But I was also recently disappointed by another novel with a similar plot.

Book Rating: 8. This book was what I was hoping Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour would be! Sorry Amy and Roger, but you ain’t got nothing on Harper and Jake. Especially Harper. I loved her.

Book Jacket: 

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.

Book Review: The plot summary here makes this book sound like a melodramatic bodice ripper of sorts, but that is far from the case. The book is definitely sad – it is primarily concerned with the ways in which people cope with grief – but it’s a happy sad. Because Harper is putting herself out there, having (and even enjoying!) new experiences.

But I’m jumping ahead of myself. Things I really liked about the book: the writing, Harper, and her best friend Laney. This book could have veered into the melodramatic, but it really didn’t. Just as she did with Speechless, Hannah Harrington was walking a fine line between borderline preachy and profound, and she managed to stay on the side of the profound.

And speaking of profound, these are some very adult teenage characters. But I like that! In retrospect, I think I was a pretty thoughtful and self-aware 16 year-old. Maybe not so articulate as Jake could be at times, but the characters still resonate on an emotional level. I appreciate their maturity, even as they make immature choices at times. That’s kind of teenager-dom in a nutshell, so far as I’m concerned.

Harper is a relatable main character as well. At first I was annoyed because the only descriptions of Harper were basically in the negative as compared to her sister in June. But that was how Harper had come to define herself. Whatever June was, she wasn’t. After a while we got to know Harper as her own individual, and I liked her! Yay. She also had an awesome supportive friend along the way. I loved Laney. She was a caricature and yet someone I could imagine myself knowing. Again with the fine lines Hannah Harrington! You walk them so well!

I’d tell you more about Jake, but in my eyes he was definitely secondary. A good-looking secondary, of course. But it was really all about the Harper for me. And that’s why I really liked this book.

Recommended for: Someone who’s looking for romance and maybe even a few tears. This isn’t a laugh-out-loud book.

If You Enjoyed This Book You Should Also Check Out: Speechless!

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!