First of all, I will openly admit that I feel like a bad blogger since I waited so long to read Saving June. I feel...moreReview originally posted at YA Love
First of all, I will openly admit that I feel like a bad blogger since I waited so long to read Saving June. I feel even worse about it because a few of my girls in class absolutely loved it and I couldn’t share with them my own feelings about Hannah Harrington’s debut. But I finally read it (and really liked it) so that has to count for something, right? One of the reasons I did end up finally reading it (besides really wanting to all this time) is that Harrington has a new book coming out tomorrow called Speechless which I’m excited to read.
Harper Scott’s character and voice grabbed me as soon as I started reading Saving June and never let me go. She’s obviously sad and torn up over June’s death, but she isn’t wearing her heart on her sleeve about it. She’s snarky and quick and tired of feeling bad about who she is in comparison to June. She’s tired of feeling like she is constantly letting her mom and her aunt down. Harper wants to cry over June’s death, but the tears simply won’t come. As a reader I could see and feel her grief through her words and actions. I really felt for Harper because she feels so alone, especially in the beginning of the story, since her mom is disconnected and her dad is for the most part out of the picture. The family dynamics in Harper’s life make her friendship with Laney and ultimately Jake so much stronger.
The plot is an obvious focal point since Saving June is a road trip book, but it’s also very character driven since these characters are on this trip because of grief and honor. Harper discovers that June wanted to go to California so on a whim she decides this is what she needs to do to honor her sister. Laney is vibrant and adventurous, so with very little coaxing she’s on board with Harper. I like Laney because she brightens up Harper. Harper adores Laney and values their friendship so she often tries to make Laney happy. This gave us another layer to Harper’s character; we get to see a glimpse of who she was before June’s death and what her personality is really like. Jake’s connection in the story is a mystery at first because Harper can’t figure out his real motives for helping them get across the country and how he really knew June. This unknown makes Jake’s character more interesting to read because the connection he has with Harper is there, but neither Harper nor the reader know if it’s okay for those two to get together. I was constantly wondering if Harper was reading him right and if she should let herself fall for him. Did he date June? Did he want to date June but never had the chance? I really like Jake’s character and wanted it to work out between him and Harper.
A number of reviewers have commented on the music references in Saving June. I enjoyed them, but I could honestly take or leave them. Jake is obsesses with music and spends a large bulk of the story schooling Laney and Harper on different artists like Jimmy Hendrix, The Doors, Janis Joplin, etc. The musical connection does open up Harper’s emotions and feelings about June, and it also gives us a little insight to June; I liked the music references for those two reasons. Some of my students now may not like it because so much of the music is “old” and unless they’ve been exposed to it they probably won’t appreciate it. However, reading this book and learning about the music and the artists might drive their curiosity enough to look up some of the songs.
Overall I really enjoyed Hannah Harrington’s debut. It’s a strong debut and good enough that I’m looking forward to her sophomore release, Speechless (8/28/12). The story slowed down a bit for me a couple times, but I think that’s mostly because I grew tired of the grief. I don’t think it’s over done in Saving June, but prior to reading this I’ve read a number of books dealing with grief and I think I’m spent for a while.(less)
Have you ever started reading a book and knew right away that you were going to love every single page? That’s ho...moreReview originally posted at Y.A. Love
Have you ever started reading a book and knew right away that you were going to love every single page? That’s how I felt when I started reading In Honor by Jessi Kirby. I can’t explain what about a book wins me over when I have this experience, but I’m happy about it nonetheless. I felt similarly when I read Jessi Kirby’s debut Moonglass as well. Her writing draws me in and doesn’t let go until I’ve finished her book.
I love that In Honor starts with Honor describing taps being played and the 21-gun salute. If you’ve been to a funeral when taps has been played and the salute is given, then it’s easy to relive it while reading someone’s experience. It’s an emotional experience which becomes an emotional reading experience. I don’t have an immediate family member serving, but I have former students serving, I have cousins serving, I’ve had friends serving. I may not know what it feels like to lose a brother in the war, but I can certainly empathize with Honor and Rusty as they navigate through their grief. In Honor is an emotional read, but it’s balanced with love, hope, and humor that many readers will appreciate.
The road trip setting gives In Honor a lighter mood despite the circumstances which I really appreciated because it made the emotional scenes even more powerful. Road trip books are entertaining because characters are forced to interact with one another, given the close quarters, which provides more character development and insight. Honor pretty much wears her heart on her sleeve, but Rusty is harder to read. Honor and Rusty don’t get along very well and the tension is palpable, but there’s something just beneath the surface that lets the reader know that there’s more to Rusty than meets the eye. Besides the fact that I had a character crush on him, I really enjoyed watching his character grow and discovering his secrets as their journey to California progressed. He and Honor are learning more about each other, but they’re also learning about themselves through this entire ordeal.
I don’t know if this makes sense, but reading In Honor made me wish I could either live in Texas or at least visit Texas. I love living in Michigan, so maybe I just wish I could have gone to Texas years ago and met a cute guy like Rusty? I don’t know, but the whole southern atmosphere described was alluring. I have been to Sedona (a pit stop Honor and Rusty have to make), so I know how beautiful it is and really want to make a return visit. More than anything, I think this awkward paragraph just goes to show how well Jessi Kirby created the atmosphere and setting of In Honor. So many elements of this book won me over and made me feel like I was there with Honor and Rusty.
If you take anything from this review, know this: In Honor is a book that will resonate with readers. The characters are dynamic and true and ones you’ll wish you could meet in real life. Jessi Kirby wrote a wonderful debut, but her sophomore novel, In Honor, is even better. Without a doubt, In Honor will be extremely popular in my classroom and I really hope you read it.(less)
Eh, this was good. It's too long & I didn't connect with Allyson or Willem. I was more interested in Dee. I'll read Just One Year, but overall I'm...moreEh, this was good. It's too long & I didn't connect with Allyson or Willem. I was more interested in Dee. I'll read Just One Year, but overall I'm disappointed.(less)
The cover is what initially drew me to this book. I don’t have any tattoos, but I appreciate the artistry tha...moreFlash Review originally posted at YA Love
The cover is what initially drew me to this book. I don’t have any tattoos, but I appreciate the artistry that goes into them. Not long after I started reading Fingerprints of You, I understood the meaning behind the tattoos on the book cover. Something I really like about Kristen-Paige Madonia’s debut is that even though Lemon is pregnant, this isn’t really a book about teen pregnancy. I discovered last year while talking with some of my students that many of them won’t read pregnancy books because “they’re all the same.” I would hand this book to those students and challenge them to read it. Lemon is a very different character and sometimes hard to relate to, but her story and conflicts are engaging. This is a story about Lemon growing up, realizing where she’s really come from, how to build and maintain relationships, etc. Madonia’s writing is fluid, her cast of characters are interesting, and I’m looking forward to reading more of her books. I’m sure Fingerprints of You will be a hit in my classroom this year.(less)
This is a cute story, but it drags a little and felt about 50 or so pages too long. I'm not sure I needed everything they ate and saw to be described...moreThis is a cute story, but it drags a little and felt about 50 or so pages too long. I'm not sure I needed everything they ate and saw to be described (I'm slightly exaggerating when I use the word "everything").(less)