Author: Hannah Harrington
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Release date: November 22, 2012
First publication: May 1, 2011
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from May 29 to June 2, 2012
My rating: +
Summary: 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.
It hurts, but it's supposed to, because that's what it means to be alive.
As soon I finished Saving June with teary face and and runny nose at 2AM of June 2, I wanted to write a review, but I was far too distracted by the grief I was feeling to do anything but cry. I didn't intend to wait this long to review this wonderful book, but things have been hectic for me after that night. After uni started, this is the first time in a week that I can just quietly sit and write a review.
I don't remember the last time I gave 5 stars to a book, but I have a feeling it must've been some time ago. Yes, I just checked, it was April 27, Divergent. So yeah, that was some time ago. I don't normally rate YA Contemporary books 5 stars, but Saving June definitely deserves it. I can't recall why I waited so long to read this book, but whatever reason I had, it was stupid. You all should read this book. I loved this book. I love it, I love it, I love it.
Harper Scott, aged 16, is devastated after her sister June's suicide. She doesn't know where to put the blame. June was perfect. She was the girl who had everything. Everyone preferred perfect, pretty, smart, kind and sociable June to Harper, who's always in the shadows of her sister, always second best. This is the reason why Harper can't figure out why June would end her life. Because she misses June, she often finds herself in front of June's bedroom door. After spending some time there, Harper discovers mysterious CDs that were given to June. She follows the trace and finds that there are a lot of things she didn't know about her sister, a lot of things she didn't care enough to notice. With determination to do something right one last time for June, she decides to take June's remains to the place June longed to be most--California. And so begins Harper's road trip, accompanied by her best friend Laney, and Jake, someone who knew June the way Harper didn't. At the end of the day, Harper will find that this road trip isn't just about June, but it's what she needs as well.
Have I already said I love this book? I can't say it enough times. I still remember how it made me feel. I was lying there on my bed, refusing to go to sleep even when it was way past midnight, taking in every word, every emotion, everything. Re-reading passages I found beautiful. I was crying so hard. I love beautifully written books that involve death and heartache and teenage angst and fear and self-discovery that can tug at your heartstrings and turn your eyes into running faucets. Saving June is the perfect blend of all those elements.
Even after 6 days, I still haven't forgot about it. I still constantly think about it, re-read highlighted passages, quote it. How can you forget lines like: "I have sixteen years' worth of memories, and they mean more than bone and ash ever could." No, you can't. I can't. I lost my father when I was fifteen, and that's pretty young, so I really knew what she was talking about. When I was reading, Harper's grief became my own. I really love when this happens. I love when I can emotionally connect myself with what I'm reading, with the main characters. Attaching myself to them gives me an entirely new and awesome experience which almost always includes emotional roller-coasters and a lot of tears and a bunch of nostalgia. Loss, death, heartache--these are topics I love to immerse myself in. This book speaks of all these sad emotions with a wonderful, raw voice of Harper Scott. I think you know what I'm talking about if you've lost someone you love once in your life. I think Harper speaks for everyone when she says: "If God does exist, then He's just an asshole, creating this world full of human suffering and letting all these terrible things happen to good people, and sitting there and doing nothing about it." I could sense hatred, sorrow, disappointment, guilt, and frustration in her words. They haunt me. This book is so heartbreaking, so real, so raw, so honest.
I love the characters. Harper really tries to be strong, but there are times that she just breaks down and lets herself be overcome with sadness. She lives with the guilt of having said terrible things to June, not knowing that those would be the last words. This really hit close to home. That's a huge thing to live with. You know, when you want to take back stupid things and terrible words, it's far too late? You don't realize how much you believed in the future until there is no future. There was always "tomorrow" to tell someone you love them, until there wasn't. Then there's really nothing you can do except to accept that you'll "end up a footnote in the life she left behind." I often found her saying the words I have been trying to find but couldn't put together myself. I want to give her the tightest hug in the world. Apart from Harper, I also love Jake. Jake is really someone I want to know in real life. He's sweet and a gentleman but he doesn't always show it. He's passionate about music and lives through it. And Laney is also someone I'd want to have for a best friend. She's supportive without asking questions. I think the author did an amazing job creating these characters. They all have their own problems but they fit together perfectly. They made me felt like I really knew them, and in a way, I really did.
I can say I love everything about this book, and there's not a thing I can think of that I want to change. I'm so glad that I finally read it. Not a lot of books can make you both laugh and cry. I marked it as my favorite, meaning it's a book I'm definitely going to read again and again and again. I can't get enough of this book. I'm already looking forward to the next time.
In the book there are a lot of references to music, which I really liked. And at the end of the book, the author gave us the playlists that are talked about in the story. Here are Saving June playlists:
1. Nolite te Bastardes Carborundorum
2. Jake's "Say My Name" Mix
3. Saving June
This review is also posted on Goodreads.