Book Review: SAVING JUNE by Hannah Harrington

Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Publication Date: November 22, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre/Category: Young Adult, Family

Summary on Goodreads:

‘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.

My Thoughts:

Saving June is a gripping and heart-wrenching story about a girl’s journey to find answer and peace after her sister’s mysterious suicide. June’s death left Harper and her family devastated, and what Harper needs is to get away and bring her sister’s urn to California, a place that June has always dreamed of going when she was still alive. It seems to be the last thing she can do for her sister, thinking that somehow she could save June.  She embarked on a road trip to California, with her best friends Laney and a mysterious boy named Jake.

The author created a story that feels so real, it will make your heart ache. It was beautiful and overflowing with emotions. The characters are amazingly crafted. They seem so real to me, and I was easily drawn to them. The characters are fun and interesting to read about. Harper is funny and quirky, and despite her situation, she’s not at all whinny and annoying. You can see and feel how devastated and broken she really is but she’s trying to be strong. Laney has her own problems to deal with but she’s truly a good friend to Harper. She’s the kind of person you’ll want to hang out with especially during the time of crisis. Someone who is unselfish enough to think about her friend’s sake before her own. And Jake made the story even more interesting with his good looks and mysterious personality, his bad boy image and his deep passion for music. You will cry and laugh with these amazing characters. 

There are lots to like in this book. The story is good, the setting and the characters are well-developed.  The mystery about June’s death plus the secret which Jake seems to be hiding will keep you turning the pages up to the very end. It’s sad and fun to read at the same time because it’s full of humor and witty conversations which makes it more enjoyable. But why did I gave this a 3/5? I have reasons:

I understand that this book isn’t a religious kind. There’s nothing wrong about the story that is centered on grief, loss, and feeling of abandonment as long as they were properly addressed. But somehow, I find this book a little offensive with regards to my religious belief. I know that the author tried to illustrate the story as real as possible, and I know that there are people who doesn’t believe in God, and there are some who actually mocked Him. I’m just not comfortable with any book that talks about God like He doesn’t exist at all. It bothers me so much that two important characters deny His existence. They believe in what music can do in their lives but they questioned God’s love. For me, this book is implying something like “music can heal” rather than “God can heal”. I know that it’s not a big issue to a lot of people, but it really matters to me. I don’t question anybody’s belief but I want to be honest on what I feel and think about this book. It was a good story but I think it could have been much better.
Over all, I still recommend this book. I believe that it’s an inspiring story of emotional recovery, forgiveness, and finding hope amidst of the painful situations. But I just want to emphasize that even though music can change us and give us comfort, God is the only one that can heal and give lasting peace and salvation. 

My Rating:

Thanks to Author Hannah Harrington for this beautiful story, and to Harlequin Teen and Net-Galley for the copy of the book.
Important: What I’ve written is based on my personal views and opinions about the book. I don’t intend to judge or offend anybody. The copy of this book was provided by Net-Galley in exchange for an honest review.
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