08 August 2011

YA - Lounge: Bookreview

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Saving June - Hanna 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.

Why did I read this book?
 I heard so much good about this book on Twitter and  in the whole blogosphere that it made me really curious to see what all the buzz is about. Dealing with death in the family, especially suicide is a hard but interesting topic, I wanted to see how it was executed in this book. And yeah, I'm a sucker for Road-trips and bad boys :)

The Cover
I actually don't think I like the cover. I doesn't blow me away. It's a bit blah. But I haven't seen it IRL so maybe it looks better on the book? But I do get a sense of sadness so it has achieved its purpose.

My Thoughts About the Book
For full disclosure I have to say that my timing of reading Saving June could have been better. I picked it up (or, well, I started my laptop) the day after I read one of the most amazing books I've read this year (Wanderlove). Not only after an amazing book, but an amazing book featuring travel/road-trippy kind of things. So it was clear from the outset that I'd judge Saving June to the background of that book.

There's a lot of grief in this book. I mean how would you feel if your perfect big sister ended her life by choice? With the grief comes the judging of others how you handle that grief. Are you numb? No tears, no showing of emotions? That's exactly how Harper reacts. She's just a teenager and has no idea what to think or feel about the suicide of her sister.

Harper is a sarcastic, outspoken character. She has a lot of anger bundled up inside her. It takes a while to warm up to her, actually I'm not even sure that I liked her at the end of the book. The same goes with bad boy Jake. He really is mysterious. Sure there are some bits and pieces revealed about him. Or maybe I should say that there a lot of descriptions about him. Like he lives and breathes music, that he doesn't write his own music, he has quite a strong opinion of what good music and bad music is, he can be a jerk, he can be nice, he had a difficult childhood. But you know what? I don't feel like I know him after having read Saving June. In fact, I feel like I don't know anything about any of the characters, not Harper, not Laney (her best friend), not Jake and certainly not June. It's not like they didn't do anything in this story, not that they didn't have opinions about things. I think my problem is that too much happened. To many conflicting views and opinions, characters changed from page to page. Or maybe that was just me.

I read Saving June on my laptop which isn't really a nice way to read a book. So there must have been something in the story, in the writing compelling me to read on. Yes, it is an interesting story, I did want to know how it all turns out, how it ends. Saving June is about a difficult topic and it shouldn't be easy to read those parts of the story.
What I particularly liked about this book is all the talk about music, how Harrington weaves these small anecdotes and tidbits perfectly into the story. How music plays such a big part in it. There even are playlists included at the end of the book.

What I didn't like (may contain some small spoilers !!)
There was just too much in this book in my opinion. All the teenage clichés crammed into it (promqueen, bad boy, goth-girl, drinking, drugs, sex and first times, date-rape, teenage pregnancy), different political views and acts and opinions (vegan, vegetarian, my body is a temple, protesting, religion, talk about God, and more...). Pretentious is the word. Sometimes less is more. In fact, there was a perfect scene near the end of the book which would have made the perfect ending for me.

Also the whole Road Trip was a bit disappointing for me. I had high expectations and it fell a bit short for me. I didn't really feel like a was there at all the different places, couldn't feel and smell the air, I didn't have the urge to google all the places or to pack my bags and travel. Which is a shame really.

All in all.... I know that Saving June  is well liked by many readers, many love it and connected with it on a deeper level. I didn't. I really wanted to like and love it, but didn't. Something was missing. If you find the blurb on the book interesting and think it might appeal to you then please read it, don't let my personal opinions keep you from reading it :)

1 comment :

  1. I didn't like Harper. I didn't like Jake. I didn't like the road trip. I guess I was expecting Amy & Roger's Epic detour #2 and I didn't get it.

    I bought it cos of all the great goodreads reviews too.