Andrea's Reviews > Saving June

Saving June by Hannah Harrington
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Aug 10, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: road-trip, y-a, music
Read from August 10 to 11, 2011

Saving June is a road trip book with a similar feel to Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, which I loved, but with a much darker mood and far more cliches.

A pleasure to read, the prose was flawless and the book was a definite page turner.

Harrington is quite a young author, not that far out of her teens herself so I couldn't decide if she wrote characters and included themes she knew teens would wet their pants over or if she genuinely thought these things were hot and swoony to write about.

Her characters, while not at all flat, are quite cliched. You have the broody yet gorgeous male protagonist Jake. He smokes, he's arrogant, he's aloof, he play's guitar and makes mix tapes. He no longer smokes or does drugs though, at the grand old age of 18 he's past that juvenile behavior.
There's Jake's gang of equally aloof, super hip, on he fringe, above it all teen buds. The pot smoking, tequila drinking, humanitarian, existentialist thinking, politics discussing, protest attending scooby gang. Things were getting a little pretentious around now.

Jake's best bud is a celibate, vegetarian who smokes pot and has dreads. His ex is a super angsty, ultra deep art student who lives in a bubble of her own awesome and makes sculptures of Jesus with tampons in his mouth.
One we got past the requisite 'boy plays acoustic guitar and sings on the beach to fellow hipsters while girl gets drunk and walks into the sea where acoustic guitar playing boy aloofly panics but plays it cool and holds her hair while she vomits' part it got quite good.

Harper is the focus of the story. This is her journey, literally and metaphorically, to work out her grief and 'save' her sister June who committed suicide. June always wanted to go to California and Harper takes her ashes there as a way of absolving herself of not being able to save her while she was alive as well as giving June her ultimate wish.

She takes this trip with her bestie (vivacious, blond, a bit slutty, always there for Harper)and the moody Jake who pretty much blackmails his was into the deal and has some sort of past and connection to June that unravels and divulges itself as the trip progresses. They also use his van named Joplin because Jake is an old school muso. Works in a record store, collects vinyl, eschews apple technology and gives Harper the education of her life on all things musical pre 90's, particularly classic rock, 80's punk and 70's folk music on their road trip.

This book has some excellent music and the playlists at the back are gold. I'm actually going to make them when I get a chance but, and this could be just my age- I am 40 mumble and these are the songs I grew up with, the whole 'This is Fleetwood Mac, they 'insert little band factoid' and 'This is Bruce Springsteen/ The Doors/ The Rolling Stones and here's something I bet you didn't know about them reader was wearing a little thin after a while. These things aren't news to me, these artists aren't biblical from the ark rare and the whole let me just drop some music trivia on you might have impressed the under 15 crowd but most people know these things and it was just tired and forced and a little annoying.

One last peeve was the fact this kid STOLE HER SISTERS ASHES. I mean she had two parents grieving for a daughter at home and she up and takes her sisters remains, and I'm not telling you what happens to them but suffice to say her parents never see them again and have nothing NOTHING to grieve and mourn over. The repercussions of this act on the parents were briefly and seriously unrealistically handled. But I'm letting it go, that's why they call it fiction folks.

This was, despite my peeves, a really good and engaging book. I even gave it four stars, I rarely give anything four stars. It's like my highest rating because I never give anything 5 stars on principle.

Now what I really want to find out is if Jake's song is recorded anywhere and if so where can I download it?
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Sophia. "One we got past the requisite 'boy plays acoustic guitar and sings on the beach to fellow hipsters while girl gets drunk and walks into the sea where acoustic guitar playing boy aloofly panics but plays it cool and holds her hair while she vomits' part it got quite good. "

Hahahaha this is hilarious!


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