Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Title: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Published: November 22, 2011
Pages: 327
Source: purchased

Amazon Summary: 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.

‘Saving June’ spoke to me. I was intrigued by the combination of loss, adventure, and love. The beginning was promising - the pace was just right to quickly set the story and the writing was steady. However, even though a lot happened during the trip to California the encounters failed to interest me with events coming and going in equal speed.

After finishing ‘Saving June’ I was sure about one thing, I’d wished for more depth. Much more depth. In the beginning Harrington hinted that there might be some mystery-solving elements surrounding June’s death and why she committed suicide - but there wasn’t, thus I didn't get the answers I'd sort of hoped for.

I liked how authentic Harper’s reaction to losing June was. It was a refreshing, less commonly shown angle on grief - to shut oneself off, suppress all emotions. Harper didn’t cry for June. They hadn’t been close. June had always been the pride of the family, Harper was in comparison a failure. But she cared so much to steal June’s ashes, run away from home, and take her where she knew June wished to go.

I wasn’t sure how realistic Jake joining the trip to California would be since he was a complete stranger to Harper and Laney, but Harrington made it work. At first I enjoyed Harper’s snappiness towards Jake but eventually it was just plain rude, just as Jake’s secrecy started to really get to me; how he was so closed-mouthed about revealing anything about himself or his bond to June. It was annoying, and when you do find out what he’d been keeping from Harper, I wasn’t impressed.

As soon as Harper, Laney, and Jake takes off on the trip, that whole part (which is about ninety-five percent of the book, I’d say) just turns into jelly, which is left to be interpreted ones own way. I found very little significance to the occurences that occupied the road trip, it seemed their unexpected encounters and detours were mostly there to "past the time." June was mostly forgotten.

I was disappointed not getting the anticipated closure or satisfaction when Harper finally gets to release June’s ashes. I’d expected a certain feeling, maybe to be moved. It didn’t do anything for me. And only hours after finishing ‘Saving June’ I’d already forgotten that I had and was about to pick it up again to finish it. It wasn’t memorable enough for me.


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