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Saving June

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‘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.

336 pages, Paperback

First published May 1, 2011

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About the author

Hannah Harrington

7 books834 followers
I don't like Pina Coladas, but I do enjoy getting caught in the rain.

Oh, and I'm a YA author! My first novel, SAVING JUNE, was published by Harlequin Teen in 2011, and my second, SPEECHLESS, will be released on August 28th, 2012!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,527 reviews
392 reviews334 followers
June 22, 2011
This is how I picture Jake http://irresistiblereads.blogspot.com...

Favourite Quote: "He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that's what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you."

WOW! I am seriously blown away by how fantastic this book is. I loved Saving June. I am going to try and write a proper review here when all I want to do is go all fan girl about it!

Harper's older sister June takes her life. Harper is devastated and doesn't know why. Her divorced parents decide to split the ashes but Harper isn't about to let that happen. She steals the ashes and runs off on a road trip to California to scatter the ashes across the ocean with her best friend Laney and Jake a stranger that is somehow connected to June.

First up this book is my type of contemp. It is real and honest. It takes you on a journey with these incredible characters. I am so impressed with Harrington's writing. You would never think this is her debut novel. It is clever, gorgeous and full of heart.

Harper, Jake and Laney are believable characters that come alive in the pages. I adored the realistic dialogue between them. It was witty, full of emotion and often humorous. I also like that fact the characters are flawed but still smart and are type of people I would love to be friends with.

Harper is strong and confident in what she believes yet can be afraid to step outside her own comfort zones at times and often doubts how amazing she really is. Laney is her best friend and is a wonderful support person for Harper no matter what. It is the type friendship everybody wants. Now Jake he caused major swooning. He is a bit rough around the edges, is majorly obsessed with music, plays the guitar, sings and has a secret that very slowly unravels.

There is also some delicious romance. I had to go back and re-read those pages over (and over and over and over) again!

Another element I loved about this book is there is loads of music talk. Also playlists at the the end of the book that were mentioned in the story. If you are huge fan of books with music you are going to love this and will want to download all the songs mentioned (if you don't already have them).

Overall, a stunning debut. My favourite road trip book ever. I insist all you fans of realistic fiction give Saving June a read!

Note. I always highlight my favourite parts of a book and as you can see from below I pretty much marked every page!

Profile Image for Nomes.
384 reviews373 followers
November 27, 2013
Judging from the Aussie cover (which is gorgeous) and the blurb I expected Saving June to be a melancholic (perhaps whimsical) novel exploring grief/sisterhood & bad boys ;) I thought it may be a rainy-day comfort read. But it was so much more than that.

SAVING JUNE opens with Harper at her sisters wake ~ and the tone is pitch perfect for that kind of startled frozen grief ~ and yet Harrington had me grinning (grinning! in the aftermath of a funeral) multiple times before the chapter was through, even alongside that gorgeously portrayed ache.

That first chapter pretty much sets the tone for the book ~ which continues to grow in it’s awesomeness right until the very end. I found SAVING JUNE absolutely refreshing and completely addictive. It’s funky and full of life even as it explores darker themes.

It reads so effortlessly ~ like Harrington is very comfortable with her prose, characters and their world. I love lines of prose that make you stop and think, sentiments worded so perfectly that you find little epiphanies about the most ordinary of things (I found that here). Also ~ genius one-liners that made me ache/grin/pause/sigh or all of the above.

I am crazy-in-love with the grin-worthy and whip-smart dialogue, that easy banter that comes from people being stuck on a road trip together and getting overly bold and familiar. This book easily catches a sense of camaraderie between it’s characters that make it easy for a reader to slip in alongside them and feel as if you are there.

The romantic sub-plot (you guys!) unfolded exactly how I love: it starts off brilliantly antagonistic between Harper and Jake (love their first three meetings) and the romantic tension between them burns throughout the novel. Harrington shows such restraint in shaping their relationship and it really pays off. It’s incredibly sexy watching the love/hate/annoyance/attraction thing and even sexier when, well, when things turn sexy :D

The thing about this book is at first glance you can probably find a lot of cliched threads: the (better, smarter) sister who committed suicide, a road trip with a mysterious bad boy, characters who struggle with their parents and pasts and futures. But Harrington blitzes pass cliche-land with her nuanced characters that are explored in layers, unfolding piece by piece. SAVING JUNE has so much heart, it’s sad in parts but mostly captures that whole YA thing of finding your place in the world. It has hope and I smiled, grinned and sighed, like, a lot, considering the premise of the book O.o

There are also random cool things that make road trip books so much fun. For eg: Fridgehenge (!)

I am careful with my 5 star ratings. EXCEPT for when I crush on a book so hard that 5 stars is the only way to express how much this book was just perfect for me.

There are a few things that niggled at the end and occasionally the pacing lulls (not in terms of my interest in reading, oh my gosh I couldn’t put it down, but perhaps in terms of plot) and some of the banter with other characters can occasionally be too smart (in that John-Green-I-am-cool-kind-of-way ~ but only with a few minor-blip characters) but none of this detracted from insanely loving every minute of this.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,919 followers
October 21, 2011
So many dead sisters in YA literature these days…

I can’t even begin to describe how deeply Harper’s grief affected me. It’s not often that I find myself completely taken aback by an author’s insight and sensitivity. I’m still convinced that she must have gone through something similar at some point in her life, otherwise she couldn’t have been able to describe so accurately the thoughts that sometimes follow such a disastrous event. I have to admit that the story hit too close to home and it wasn’t always easy for me to keep reading, but Harper’s reactions and feelings were as familiar as my own and she really got under my skin, where she'll stay for a while at least.

That’s not to say that the book didn’t have any problems, but I got so emotionally invested that I ended up not caring about any of them. I’ll still point out the things I can remember, just for the sake of full disclosure.
I’m afraid that many layers of this story may be completely lost on its intended audience. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe teens today know all about various stages of Janis Joplin’s work or the true value of a Jimi Hendrix autograph. Maybe they do care about problems of the Third World and maybe they’ve even seen the Woodstock documentary once or twice. But somehow I doubt it.
I, on the other hand, loved every second of it. Every song that was mentioned, every album that was played, it was as if I chose them myself. Some of them I haven’t heard in a while and Hannah Harrington gave me the perfect excuse to bury myself in my old music for a while.

A part of the book didn’t fit well with the rest. At one point Jake and the girls were attending a violent protest that felt completely out of place. It was the second time in as many weeks that an author tried to shove his/her own beliefs and convictions down my throat in such an obvious way. I’m not saying that YA novels should provide blind entertainment and nothing more, far from it, I’m just saying that it was forced and unnatural in this particular story. Without it, this would have been a five-star book for me.

So to conclude, I loved this book, but I doubt I’ll be reading it again. I don’t think I’d be able to handle it all one more time. The feeling that I’ve been turned inside out and that I’m reading my own thoughts and emotions isn’t something I care to repeat anytime soon. I am happy to have read it the first time and I’m very grateful for the things it helped me realize.
And I still think Touch Me is the perfect song for that occasion. :)
Profile Image for Limonessa.
300 reviews509 followers
September 8, 2011
In the past year, at least for me, all the rage in YA contemporary fiction can be condensed in one word: Australia. Marchetta, Buzo, Cath Crawley, Eagar were definitely my favorite reads this year.

Hannah Harrington is the exception that proves the rule. This lady is American and what is more, Saving June is her debut novel.

Harper's life is in pieces. Her sister June unexplainably committed suicide a few weeks before graduating and her family is, quite understandably, a wreck. There's no rhyme nor reason to what June did and while Harper's mother is having a breakdown and her father blissfully ignores them, too busy with his own new life, Harper is the one left to pick up the pieces and try to cope with her terrible, profound grief. The only person that supports her 100% is her best friend Laney. When a mysterious and unbearably annoying guy appears at June's funeral wake, things start to unravel in an unexpected way: with Jake's help, the two girls embark on a road trip through America, on a symbolical mission to June's final salvation, which eventually will turn into an experience that will change each and every one of them to their very core.

As for everyone else, some books strike me more than others. Sometimes it's even without a concrete or logical reason, I just get involved in the plot more. And then, sometimes, rarely, there are books that fit me like a glove. I become so engrossed in the story and identify so much with the characters that I realize that I would have uttered the same words in the same situations.
It happened with me and Harper.
Harper is not what you would call a really likable character. Aside from being unable to cope with her grief, she is bad-tempered, complex, full of anger, shuts out others, hides her insecurities behind a mask of snark and backtalk, constantly controls her emotions by denying herself the luxury to feel.
Yet I loved her honest voice, her no-nonsense attitude which I really much share to the point of sounding cynical and callous, her complete loyalty to her friend and how she relates to her sexuality. She is a tough one, not invincible, but a survivor.

This is how I like my contemporary fiction: a more adult type of YA literature, where there's no excessive taboo about underage sex, drinking or smoking (because that's what teens do, don't they?), where painful and complex themes are touched but coated with a bit of humor, where fragile family dynamics are analyzed but with a lot of great dialogue and banter.
Add to this a truly memorable soundtrack of songs which I grew up with (no unknown pseudo-intellectual indie niche music, just plain good old rock) and an incredible adventure (how cool would it be to cross the US with a van?) and you got yourself a winning combination.

Oh, did I mention the totally hot guy? + 10 points
And did I mention there is no instalove? + ∞ points

An emotional roller coaster which will make you laugh out loud but most probably shed a few tears too. People who have dealt with the death of loved ones will certainly relate to Harper and the Saving June amazing cast.

To Harrington I'd like to say: keep up the good work. Truly amazing.

An advanced copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher.

Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
June 21, 2011
Once in awhile comes a book that just touches you in all the right places. It makes you think, it forces you to feel but at the same time it's not overwhelming. Saving June is one of those books.

To say I loved this would be a total understatement. I'm remarkably surprised that considering the issue at hand, it still reads with ease and comfort. The author mixes a brilliant combination of pain and joy, laughter and tears, set to a road trip, detours and of course the glue that holds any experience, music.

These characters, Harper, Jake, Laney and even June, felt very real to me. Harper is one of those characters with a hard shell all around her, even before June did what she did. She's stubborn and infuriating, but she's also very caring and completely realistic. I love how she can really dish it out and hold her own. She has attitude but not the kind you want to beat down. Laney is a great best friend, good to the soul through and through, she complimented the journey without distracting it. And then there's Jake. Ahhh Jake. He is soooo my kind of hawt. He's not as complicated as he pretends to be. He's had a hard life, sure, but by doing what he did for Harper, putting himself out there all because he wanted to give back the way June helped him is really amazing. I loved how into music he is and he really does have a point. Music is just like reading a book or watching a movie, it tells a story and if your really listening you can understand the meaning of it and how it can actually change your life, your moment, and becomes apart of your soul. I really loved how Harrington made that apart of the story, like it's very own character.

As for the romance? Do know that feeling just before being kissed for the first time? Your stomach kinda drops and you kinda just tingle with anticipation, hoping against hope that it's everything you wanted it to be and more? Well, that's what it felt like to me while reading that scene between Harper and Jake. Mind you it wasn't a long scene and if I'm being honest was the only real one, but Harrington really nailed it. Big ass goofy grin and all. But it was more then just that moment, it was all the little things that lead up to it. Slow moving, gradual but completely inevitable. Just the way I like it.

But I think my favorite part about the entire book was the writing. Not only does this have some of the best banter, dialog and witty remarks that make you just smile, but it's also chalked full of those thought-provoking one liners and full passages that you literally stop reading and think about the meaning behind it, in the book and even how it apply's to your own life. That's pretty incredible stuff.

Bottom line, I could go on forever praising this book and it probably wont even do it justice. So all I'm gonna say is that it's an awesome story about wanting to die, wanting to really live and how all the in-between messy stuff that life is all about makes it so much more worth it then you'd ever realize.
It's powerful, uplifting and it really touched my heart.

Read this. It matters;)
Profile Image for Dija.
413 reviews230 followers
December 19, 2011
***FAVORITE YA OF 2011***

My heart hurts. So, so badly.

5 Beautiful Things About Saving June:

1. Harper. She is so real. She has a lot of spunk and I have immense respect for her and the way she dealt with June's death and all the other issues in her life. While reading this book, I came to love Harper like I would a best friend. She's an amazing, down-to-earth, and strong heroine. She doesn't whine or complain and isn't reduced to a pile of girly goo when falling in love. Basically, she's mature.

2. Jake. Like Harper, Jake is a very well-developed character with a constant air of mystery. He could be a real jerk at times, but it's completely understandable given the life he's led. I love his passion for music and his belief that all of life's problems can be solved by listening to a good song.

3. Laney. What an amazing best friend! Her loyalty and support for Harper define her character, and I loved reading about the love and understanding between the two friends.

4. Jake and Harper. Could these two be more cute? I think not. They're simply adorable together, constantly bickering and getting on each others' nerves to try to hide the attraction between themselves. I loved watching them fall in love. They're absolutely perfect for each other!

5. The writing. I came this close to crying, and I haven't done that at all since I read Thirteen Reasons Why, around 3 years ago. If that's not an indication of powerful and beautiful writing, I don't know what is.

Favorite Quotes:

I want to stop running away from everything.
I want to find something to run toward.

And she told me when I was suspended in the air for just a moment, I looked like a bird flying out of its cage.
Maybe that was what she wanted all along. To be set free.

There is so much beauty in just existing. In being alive.
I don’t want to miss a second.

Life goes on, I’m going on, even without her. Not every day hurts. Not every breath hurts.
Maybe that’s all we can really ask for.

For more reviews, visit my blog.
Profile Image for Lora.
186 reviews999 followers
January 8, 2012
"Some people think that a place can save them," I say. "Like if they could just be somewhere else, their lives would be totally different. They could finally be the people they always wanted to be. But to me, a place is just a place. If you really want things to change, you can make them change no matter where you are."

Hannah Harrington's debut, Saving June, begins with Harper Scott stacking casseroles and meringue pies into her refrigerator. Her older sister, June, has just died from a self-inflicted drug overdose. And as with all deaths, people think that food offerings will make it better. But Harper knows that nothing can take away the pain of losing someone you hold so dear, especially someone whose life ended way too soon and for reasons unknown. Harper believes that nothing can make June's death any less painful — until she finds a postcard that reads California, I'm coming home in June's handwriting. She's left with nothing to think but that California is the place where June truly longed to be.
And so, after reluctantly teaming up with Jake Tolan, a boy who not only was close to June but who insists on coming along for the trip with Harper and her BFF Laney, Harper packs up her things along with the urn containing June's remains and heads for California.

Harper's grief is truly gut-wrenching. She's in so much pain from this unforeseeable loss, but she's strong-willed and highly motivated nonetheless. Each time she gets close to cracking from the unbearable sadness that threatens to overwhelm her, she reigns it in and instead chooses to focus on the journey ahead. And what a journey it is! An antiwar protest in Chicago that leads to a girl-on-girl liplock, a rock concert for a band called Robot Suicide Squad, and a black van named Joplin are just some of the crazy/fun aspects of their road trip. Even though the reason behind the trip is sad, Harrington does a wonderful job of making the trip fun and exciting for both the characters and readers alike.

With his trademark black pants, his messy yet oh-so-sexy hair, and his inherent love for all things musical, Jake Tolan makes for an interesting and authentic character who is the perfect yang to Harper's yin. Although only eighteen, Jake's life hasn't been easy, and in snippets we find out just how rough it's been. But Jake isn't about to let his bad upbringing define him.

Harper and Jake's slow-building romance is perfectly written; like a seven-tier wedding cake, it is carefully handled and delicately crafted. Their natural chemistry and casual banter make for some of the best scenes in the book:

"Wow," I say. "You are truly obsessed."
"Yeah, I kinda am," he agrees, grinning. "Without music, life would be a mistake."
"Did you coin that one yourself?"
"Nietzsche did, actually. But it's a common mix-up."

They share secrets, dreams, cigarettes, and the pain of losing June. The sexual tension between them is palpable in some scenes, but it doesn't overshadow the main focal point of the story. In fact, I'd say the romance takes a backseat (no pun intended) to the adventurous and cathartic road trip Harper, Jake, and Laney take.

Music vibrates through every page of Saving June. It is its own life force as you read through these pages, and I found myself using YouTube to keep up with Jake's playlist.

Ultimately, Saving June is about learning to find peace after facing a tragedy, and the maelstrom of conflicting emotions that bombard one's mind after the death of a beloved. And it sends a wonderful message: that you can find love, joy, and happiness — even after devastation.

I look forward to reading more works from Harrington in future.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,404 reviews11.7k followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
September 8, 2011
I pushed and pushed through this, but this novel just isn't working for me.

It feels like I've read this story a million times before - someone dies and a teen (usually a girl) left behind has to deal with the aftermath. Sometimes versions of this scenario are incredibly successful (The Piper's Son, Please Ignore Vera Dietz), sometimes utterly forgettable (Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, The Sky Is Everywhere). Saving June falls into the second category for me, unfortunately.

To make such an overused story good, you must have remarkable characters. This novel gave me nothing in that respect. I never for a moment felt a connection with Harper and her emotions. The depth and complexity simply weren't there. And uninteresting and unrelatable characters make for a painfully boring read, especially the one about grief and loss.

However, based on all the 5 star reviews of this book, my failure to be engaged might be a personal problem of mine. Maybe the author's age has something to do with my dislike as well. I've noticed I do not enjoy novels written by authors under 28-30. Their characters and their worldviews often seem unripe, unformed to me.
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,127 reviews2,173 followers
June 12, 2012
Very rarely in my life have I come across a book where it is difficult for me to pinpoint exactly what I liked about it. Saving June falls into this rare category of books simply because it made me feel so many emotions that it is hard for me to go back and find the exact moment I began falling in love with it. Saving June was one of those books that I was so completely invested in that time lost all meaning and I forgot that I was reading a book in my bed and not on a road trip to California myself. Perhaps I loved it so much because it was my first road trip story or because it falls under the category of the few books that have had such a strong focus on music. Perhaps I loved it because I haven't read a book about a sister who committed suicide yet or because this story took me on an emotional roller-coaster ride. Whatever it may have been, I don't think that the proper words exist for me to express my love of this novel; yet, I will attempt to try.

First and foremost, I think it should be noted that I loved this book for all the reasons that other people didn’t love it. I’ve read my fair share of Saving June reviews and while I respect each and every one of them, I found myself to be in the minority when I recognized that the aspects of this book that drew me in were not quite the same for others. For one, I loved the narration of this novel. Saving June is told from the point of view of Harper whose older sister, June, has just committed suicide. The entire story revolves around Harper’s quest to take her sister’s ashes to California, the one place she wanted to visit more than anything else. Harper’s voice is real, raw, and brutal in a way that isn’t quite likeable. She is moody, upset, cynical, dark, and often sarcastic. She does everything in her power to distinguish herself from her perfect older sister and now, that said sister is no longer alive, she doesn’t quite know what to do. After her parents divorce, it’s always been June who comforts her mother, not her. It’s always been June who gets the perfect grades, not her. It’s always been June who has a large circle of friends, not like Harper whose social life revolves around her best friend, Laney. Harper is far from perfect, but all her imperfections and flaws make her so tangible, palpable, and realistic. I found myself falling in love with the ease of her narration, the brutal honesty of her thoughts, and her intelligent insight. Harper knows that she is a hard person to like and live with but she makes no efforts to change who she is for others. She sees herself as being an emotionless being since she can’t bring herself to cry at her sister’s funeral, but her hurt and pain go so much deeper than any physical manifestation of tears could convey. Although Harper is easy to hate, criticize, and find fault with, she also has so much good in her. Harper is a good person to whom bad things have happened. She is confused, she is angry, and she has every right to be. Her personality is difficult to explain, simply because it is so multi-dimensional and believable. I think Harrington has done a phenomenal job of truly capturing the human spirit, teenage confusion, and adolescent urge of finding who you truly are in Harper. In many ways, I understand why some readers may not like Harper’s narration or her voice, but I completely fell in love with it. It’s nothing like you’ve ever read before and I do absolutely no justice to its brilliance and eloquence, but it manages to speak volumes in all its egregious imperfections and subtle beauty.

However, Harper, despite being the main character, was not the only person in this book to make it tick. Laney, Harper’s best friend, is the type of best friend you want to have. She is loyal, understanding, and portrayed in a very realistic manner. The dynamics between her and Harper felt very real to me and quite typical of any close friendship. It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t as if they fought either. They had their casual tiffs, their small misunderstandings, and their difficulties understanding what each other was going through, but isn’t that was friendship is truly about? Furthermore, Laney isn’t simply there as Harper’s friend. She has her own problems, own difficulties, and own tragedies that she has to cope with and, being her best friend, they affect Harper too. The manner in which their lives overlapped despite experiencing different obstacles made their relationship take on an extremely realistic quality that simply made it all the better, stronger, and firmer.

I fear I’ve been using the word “realistic” far too much in this review, but when I think of Saving June, that’s the first word that comes to mind. So much of why this novel was a success to me was because of its relate-ability, it’s power to suck me in and make me forget that I wasn’t Harper myself. Contemporary novels are meant to be believable, and although they often are, they don’t quite make you forget that you’re reading. Saving June on the other hand, completely made me forget that I was reading a fictional world with fictional characters in it. Each and every character was so well thought out, well developed, and their personalities were all so reasonable that I could not help but be in utter awe of Harrington. As an aspiring author, I would love to see her pre-planning for this novel because there had to have been a great deal of thought put into these characters for this story to have been so enjoyable.

Speaking of enjoyable, didn’t I just enjoy meeting Jake! ;) Jake seems to be your typical male protagonist: swoon-worthy, sings, plays guitar, and pulls off a fedora perfectly. Yet, he is so much deeper than that. I think what surprised me the most about Jake’s personality was that it was just as flawed as Harper and Laney’s characters were. Jake can be impossibly sweet and understanding, but he can also be unreasonable and angry. He can be passionate about music and lecture for hours about incredible bands, but he can also clam up and refuse to answer your questions if he wants to. Usually, the male protagonist tends to be aloof at first, then becomes completely sweet, then aloof again after a misunderstanding, and then romantic once the novel is ending. Jake however, was cranky, rude, and annoying at random moments in the story, all while being kind, sweet, and humorous at other times. This quality about him not only floored me in its realism, but it also made me love him all the more. Jake isn’t a perfect human being and he is bound to lash out at others and say things without thinking at times. His arguments with Harper were not simply witty banter, sometimes they were genuine arguments. I don’t think I’ve loved a relationship as much as I loved the one between these two because it was slow, building up on the tension between them, and occurred only after a complete understanding of each others personalities. A lot of their relationship was very one-step-forward-two-steps-back, but never in an annoying or irritating way. It was that way because of Harper’s mixed feelings, her confusing thoughts, and her unknown decisions regarding everything in her life. Another aspect of their relationship I loved was that Harrington never shied away from teenage sex and furthermore, she never made it romanticized. It was awkward, it was cute, it was what it was. I could very possibly go on gushing about the relationship between these two – the way in which they understand each other perfectly, the way in which they see something about the other that they can’t see themselves, the way in which they can change each other for the better and inspire each other – but we’d be here forever. Just know that this is a relationship that won’t disappoint and it’s slow build-up is a thrill to read.

That being said, I realize that I still haven’t spoken about the most important aspect of this novel: June’s suicide. To be perfectly honest, I want to just skip this subject entirely, but that wouldn’t be fair to this book. June’s suicide is a large and integral part of this story and there are very few moments in the book where Harper doesn’t think about the death of her sister. Saving June is, in many ways, more than just a road-trip book. It is a book about trying to find the answers to why people commit suicide and I think it succeeds completely in this aspect. Does that mean that this novel comes up with one definite reason for which people take their own life? No, absolutely not. In fact, the ending almost seems like a cop-out because of the lack of certainty about anything to do with June. Yet, that was what I liked the most about it. No one knows why other people commit suicide and, as human beings, we can’t know or find out. For each person it is different and all we can do is come to terms with it, like what Harper did throughout this novel. As the reader, we think that Harper’s journey is taking her closer to the truth behind her sister’s death, but in reality, it is taking Harper closer to her own acceptance of this tragedy. By the end of the novel, we do not know why June committed suicide, but we do know that it was no rash decision on her part and that she is in a happier place. We know that Harper is stronger than June ever was and to me, those lessons of strength and hope and persevering on are what make this book a truly incredible read.

I remember thinking yesterday that maybe I should turn down the rating for this book by a star or at least half-a-star, but this book deserves the full five-stars it’s getting. Not only were the characters realistic, their development inspiring, and the themes hopeful, but the writing was beautiful and touching in a way that few things ever are. Saving June is a book that wraps you in grief and laughter and worry and joy and sorrow and happiness all at once. It’s never boring, it never over-whelms you with sadness, and it keeps you on your toes, not only in terms of the destinations along the road trip but especially during the romance. In some ways, Saving June is almost the perfect kind of contemporary romance; the type that affects you, yet keeps everything real and believable and slow and achingly sweet. I fell in love with nearly every aspect of this book and I would read it again in a heartbeat. In fact, the only thing I could think after finishing it was how beautiful it was, how real, how true…Harrington creates characters that are hard to understand, that are wrought with flaws and imperfections, yet she breathes life into them, making them lovable, realistic, and gorgeously perfect despite their tragedies and misgivings. I can only hope that others too will enjoy and cherish this book just as much as I did. Thus, I will leave you with a short, rather cryptic, but memorable quote from this beautiful novel: don't let the bastards grind you down. ;)
Profile Image for Ari.
940 reviews1,315 followers
December 13, 2014
So beautiful it hurts ♥

Why is it so hard to talk about the books we like?
Why is it so hard to open my heart to the whole world and to say out loud how much I loved this story? Why is it so hard to put into words all the beauty of "Saving June"?

I tell you why, because I'm somehow speechless...
Because my heart is far away, somewhere in California, looking for a way to save June, searching through all those beautiful moments of vulnerability, frustration and hope the characters went through..
Because my heart is lost in those waves that now hold June's ashes, in the memories of a trip that changed the life of more than 3 people.
"Some people think that a place can save them [...] like if they could just be somewhere else, their lives would be totally different. They could finally be the people they always wanted to be. But for me, a place is just a place. If you really want things to change, you can make them change no matter where you are. [...] Does that make sense?"

This is a story about loss, about grief, about broken hearts and broken lives, but also about hope, and love, and dreams.. It's the strength of these characters that made me love this book. It is the power of their will that makes me admire them, and it's in their action the reason for all my love for them.
They are young, they feel lost, but they are still able to find their way, to live their dreams, to make their own choices and, in the end, they make you fall in love with their story.

The 3 of them (Harper, Jake & Laney) have their own reason to be broken, but the friendship that is growing through this story makes them special, and beautiful, and lovable... They make mistake, yes, but they know how to say "I'm sorry", they are broken but strong enough to hold each other... They became your friends, and you are happy for them and you giggle with them, and you are sad with them and you want to cry for them.. They feel so real that it's impossible not to care for them.. so you do.
You can't save them , but you are there, step by step, hoping for the end to bring them some happiness, some reward after the suffering.

This story deals in such an elegant way with suicidal. It's a powerful read, not meant to find answers but to induce you the strength to move on, to live your life when you feel like you've lost more than you can bear loosing.. It's beautiful in so many ways... One more priceless story in my favorite shelf..
Go read it!

"I wasn't interested in being like June, and I definitely didn't want to live in June's shadow. Even if mine was less impressive, at least it was my own."

"Deciding to kiss Jake is like standing on the edge of a pool, staring down and wanting to take the leap, but fearing how cold the water will be. I hold my breath and jump."

This review can also be found at ReadingAfterMidnight.com

Some old thoughts:

(11 Aug 2011)
So, no need for swimming, I've been saved!!
2 months earlier and I would have been "Ariana saved in June".. ha haa, never mind, my mind is just racing.

My fiancé just surprised me with this book (I'm mentally thanking his Australian friend that made this possible).. but there's a catch.. He's gonna wait for me to say the "YES", this Sunday..

I'm trying to figure out if he is being amazingly cute and romantic, or terribly evil, enjoying my torture :))

Enjoy your readings!


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(10 Aug 2011)
If this doesn't come out soon I think I'm gonna start swimming to Australia just to read it. ;))
Profile Image for Jo.
268 reviews945 followers
May 12, 2020
“But I wasn’t interested in being like June, and I definitely didn’t want to live in June’s shadow. Even if mine was less impressive, at least it was mine.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
……OK, that ending? Is it possible to die of cringe? BUT…. The rest was fantastic.

High Points.
MUSIC. Seriously. SERIOUSLY. The music that is mentioned in this book is the soundtrack to my life. Seriously. Pretty much every single one of my favourite songs is mentioned in this book. If you cut open my soul these songs are what you’d…. OK. You get it..
If only there was a way of making a list of all these songs so I could make the most amazing playlist.
But wait!
Ms Harrington has done that for us and included the track listing at the back of the book (How cute is that?). Harper. Laney. Road trips. California Dreamin’. James Dean. Sexy time (Real business time, guys *wolf whistles* I was beginning to think teenagers in YA books were just fine with canoodling.) The morning after. Teenage anarchy. Mosh pits. Boys with dreadlocks. Singing Don McLean on the beach. The realistic portrayal of the ones left behind.

Low Points.
There is just something about a boy serenading me that makes my skin crawl. I know it’s romantic and swoony to normal most girls. But it just makes me feel so uncomfortable that I would probably punch them in the stomach in order to make them stop.
Gosh, I really hope you can’t get exposed to second hand smoke through a book. Because if you can, I am screwed. The amount of cigarettes that are mentioned in this book makes me feel like I had smoked about 50 packets by the time I had finished.
Every single problem a teenager could go through is covered in this book and it often got a bit overwhelming… I would have loved it if Ms Harrington would have just focus on a few.

I liked Harper. Not loved… just liked. (Loved her name though). Harper is understandably angry and confused and upset after her sister, June, killed herself. She smoked. She drank. She ran away. She didn’t want to deal with her problems. She alienates herself. She’s a bit of a train wreck and she doesn’t let people in.
But she’s also funny, sweet, a great friend and a certain likeability that made me forgive her faults easier than I would other heroines. I just wanted to sit down in an American diner somewhere and eat Mississippi Mud Pie and drink milkshakes and listen to her being forced to talk about her problems. And then give her a cuddle.

Best Friend.
I loved the friendship between Laney and Harper, it seemed so realistic and honest (so many friendships in books are based on angst and jealousy so it was refreshing to read about a friendship that was…well, based on friendship).
But jeesh… Laney got a rough deal in this book. Poor lamb.

Love Interest.
Oh Jake. Jakey Jake Jake. After some serious deliberation, I have decided my love for you is strictly platonic. I thought I’d be in full on love mode but there was something missing (probably those four years between our ages…. And um, you being fictional and all. Silly little things, you know?) that prevented me from declaring my undying love for you.
But anyway, I’ve decided I’m not going to fight with Harper over you. She has a lot on her plate and I think a love rival would just be one too many things.
However, I would like you to make me mix tapes (and discuss how annoying it is when the cool kids “never stop verbally fellating the Smiths”) and delicious French toast, because I’ve never had it but anything to do with maple syrup and bread sounds like something I would absolutely inhale eat in a ladylike fashion.
So, even though there were quite a few times that I had no idea why you and Harper were so sporadically angsty at each other, I really liked you and you were very sweet/cute/swoony. And you had messy hair which I think is a requirement now for YA love interests.
But yeah… back to this French toast….

Theme Tune.
I could have chosen about a million songs for this book because like I’ve mentioned about a gabillion times every song mentioned is all about me brilliant, so to narrow it down to just one was truly difficult.
BUT… I did it.
This Time Tomorrow- The Kinks.
The Kinks are one of my favourite bands. This song is one of my favourite songs of all time. This song features in one of my favourite films.
(And not just because Mr Brody is permanently in his undies with his long limby limbs, not that that hinders my love. Always helps. ALWAYS. )

“Leave the sun behind me
And watch the clouds as they sadly pass me by
And I'm in perpetual motion
And the world below doesn't matter much to me”

One day I’m going to go on a road trip across America with this blasting out.

Angst Level.
8/10. I can imagine it being immensely difficult to write a book about teenage suicide as there are a lot of complicated and difficult emotions that come hand in hand, especially with the people who are left behind. I think Harrington did a stellar job at conveying these emotions (especially with Harper’s mother) and I really respect that she went down the reality route and creating a risky character like Harper, who won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, rather than to opt out and write a book that is ‘safe’ but misses the point completely.
Like I mentioned earlier, I think this book would have been a lot more effective if Harrington had focussed on only a few issues. Almost every character has problems that are so huge that they could have a book of their own and I couldn’t help but feel that this kind of took something away from the main issues.

Recommended For.
Music lovers. People who don’t mind difficult subject matters. People who have always wanted to go skinny dipping with people they have met for five minutes. People who like road trips. People who like to attend protests. People who like tequila. People who find it endearing when their crush voms all over their shoes. People who would quite happy getting their rocks off to the soothing tones of Jim Morrison. People who like to shake it like a polaroid picture… and take pictures with a polaroid camera. People who wouldn’t want to die if they had a song written about them. People who think that Monaco is an island (SPOILER: It’s not…well, OK it is.. you know.. if you ignore that little country... what's it called again? Oh yeah. FRANCE).
Profile Image for Katrina Passick Lumsden.
1,780 reviews12.8k followers
May 2, 2012
So yeah, I don't give YA books five stars very often. That is mostly due to the fact that they're usually deficient in the areas of tone, plot, and characterization. Not so with this one. I found myself almost instantly connecting with Harper, her antisocial behavior and general cynicism about life and people ringing very similar to my own at that age. I was actually a little surprised by how much Harper reminded me of myself at 16. But I suppose that could be why some people have a harder time connecting with her. To be clear, I was not a particularly bubbly, carefree teenager, nor was I the type to wander around endlessly worrying about boys or makeup or clothes. If that's the type of character you connect with, this book may not capture your attention as it did mine, but I would still recommend it if for nothing else but the chance to peak into Harper's head.

I think the thing I liked best was that Harper's best friend, Laney, was actually a friend, not some self-centered waste of page. Too often these YA stories are written with friends who are there for nothing else but to show that the protagonist has them, and the authors either give them terrible personalities or none at all. Laney is funny, quirky, has her own interests and opinions, and genuinely cares about Harper. Realistically, Harper and Laney don't always get along, but neither do they treat each other like crap.

Jake Tolan. What can I say about Jake Tolan? He's the kind of guy I would have fallen for as a teen, and in fact, I did once fall for a guy like Jake. One of the only things I didn't have in common with Harper was music. I, like Jake, feel that "without music, life would be a mistake."(Friedrich Nietzsche) I once knew a guy whose obsession with/knowledge of music trumped even my own, and he ended up being just the kind of person I needed at that time in my life. Similarly, Jake ends up being just the kind of person to help Harper get through what she's dealing with, using music to help her confront her emotions and deal with them instead of constantly trying to lock them down and run away.

As far as characterization, I appreciated Ms. Harrington's unflinching portrayal of kids with their own angsty baggage. Harper, Laney, and Jake are all flawed, they all make mistakes, and none of them know who they are or what they're doing. I realize the angst can seem over-the-top melodramatic from the other side of the fence (adulthood), but I seem to remember all too well what being a teenager was like, and that level of angst is pretty accurate.

Something that might alienate older readers are the references to bands/artists like Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Moody Blues, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, etc. It's not that the references are bad, it's just bizarre seeing these artists through the eyes of a modern teen since it's the kind of stuff I grew up listening to. I remember a time when Kurt Cobain was still alive. I was there. So listening to characters in a story treating some of this music like it's mysterious and obscure was a little off-putting. But hey, you can't blame the author since she wrote it for today's teenagers.

Ms. Harrington tackled some serious issues in this story, and I was very pleased with the fact that she touched on things with sympathy without allowing the overall tone to become preachy or condescending. The flow is good, the humor is outstanding, the dialogue great. For me, it was a little like Amy and Roger's Epic Detour only with a bit more depth, better characterization, and way more humor. This isn't to say it's flawless. Nothing is perfect since perfection is relative, but this was as close to perfection as I think a YA story gets. At least, it was for me. I thought the ending could have been a bit better (little less cheese, little more depth), and I think Ms. Harrington missed out on a few opportunities to delve a little deeper into Harper's state of mind, but these small complaints aren't enough to overshadow the good things about this book, the things that made me laugh and cry, the overall connection I had with the story and those in it. I read through a Kindle, and I don't use the highlighter feature very often, but this book has a total of 102 notes and marks. I loved its intelligence and its sarcastic and dry wit. Harper's voice was what caught me most often.

"I'm not surprised she doesn't like me. Most people don't. I guess because I don't hide the fact that I can't stand people like Gwen, who take themselves too seriously, or people who don't take themselves seriously enough."

Passages like that one had me wondering if Hannah Harrington perhaps crawled inside my head for a few days. Disconcerting, but ultimately successful in hooking me on this story.

Perhaps it's something in the Michigan water? Or maybe it's just the mind of a photographer....whatever the case, Hannah Harrington has won me over.

Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,906 reviews853 followers
July 11, 2017
This was an amazing story! One of my favorite quotes:

Jake was right - I'm strong in a way June never was. Because I know that I want to be here. Even with the pain. Even with the ugliness. There is so much beauty in just existing. In being alive. I don't want to miss a second.”

Saving June opens up with Harper Scott at her sister June’s wake. June committed suicide and Harper has no idea why. June was always the pretty, perfect, honor-roll student with direction. She even got into Berkley in her dream state, California. Harper on the other hand has always known she couldn’t measure up to June so she’s never tried. She’s always been the average or underachiever in school, brash, didn’t care to be popular, she’s content to have her one best- friend, Laney.

After searching June’s room for clues, Harper discovers a mix CD with unknown handwriting with the quote in Latin: ”Nolite te bastardes carborundorm.” with music June would’ve never listened to. June is an avid sugary-pop music lover and this CD is definitely not. They soon find out this mysterious CD’s author is Jake Tolan. Jake had a connection to June but he won’t let on what is was. Never mind that he’s ”really good-looking, in this rakish, edgy, badass, I-just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-screw-you-I-don’t-need-a-mirror kind of way” He showed up at June’s wake hostile and annoyed at Harper. That’s okay because Harper can give as good as she gets (another favorite quote)this is what she says to him:

I meet his eyes again. He stares; it’s a little unnerving. His gaze is like a vacuum. Intense. “Do you cut your own hair?” I ask. He tilts his head to the side. “Talk about the non sequitur.” “Because it looks like you do,” I continue. He looks at me for a long time, and when I realize he isn’t going to say anything, I take another pull off the cigarette and say, “It looks ridiculous, by the way.” “Don’t you want to know what I’m doing here?” He sounds a little confused, and a lot annoyed. I blow out smoke, watching it float away, and shrug. “Not really.”

When Harper finds out her divorcing parents want to split up June’s ashes, she decides to steal them and drive with Laney, out to California to scatter June’s ashes where June always wanted to be. Jake overhears this plan, and blackmails his way into the road trip.

This story was just, wow! I just loved it so much!! I loved these characters: Harper and her snarky but loving personality. Laney, the sweet, long-suffering best-friend, and then Jake *sigh* he could just melt your socks off (please see above description again). Jake’s such a sweet-heart, an ornery, maddening sweet-heart, but a sweet-heart all the same, because no matter how Harper treats him, he sticks by her and doesn’t give up. Another favorite quote:

”You - you are so strong and stubborn it drives me crazy. You're the one going through all this and you still put Laney first every time, instead of throwing yourself the pity party we both know you deserve. You call me out on my shit, and I like that, because sometimes I need someone to call me out on my shit. And you get Johnny Cash, and you take these incredible photos, and everything about you makes me hurt, in a good way, and it blows my mind that someone can be so amazing and not even see it.”

This story was heart-breaking and heavenly at the same time. I just don’t know what else to say about it, other than: READ IT!!!
Profile Image for Brooke.
136 reviews167 followers
June 27, 2011
After letting the swooning and "aww"-ing emotions simmer, I think I am now capable of writing a review.


Whenever I pick up a book that centers on a topic as sensitive as suicide, I'm always a bit unsure of what to expect. This book definitely exceeded my expectations, and - sensitive subject aside - was well written, well developed and I loved every page of it.

Page one - we're introduced to Harper, whose older sister June has just taken her own life. Knowing how she feels yet finding it hard to process her emotions, Harper finds herself shattered and unable to express it to anyone. Her parents, though divorced, seemed to dote upon June (being the 'favourite' daughter), and now that she's gone, Harper can't help but feel as though it's up to her to hold what is left of her family together, a responsibility which she isn't comfortable with.

Harper draws the line when her parents decide to split June's ashes (into his and hers urns) and, after discovering a "California" Post Card hidden away by June, Harper (with the help of her best friend and mysterious-dark-and-handsome-man-who-knew-her-sister, Jake), decides to set out on a road trip to California to scatter June's ashes and give her the farewell she would have wanted.

The journey that ensues is full of action, adventure and quirky characters. It took the reader on a journey which, while a teensy bit far fetched (I personally could never place that much trust in an infinite number of strangers), was fun, honest, raw, revealing and emotional. I initially struggled to connect with Harper, but after a while I began to really feel for her, she cried, I cried. She is so strong, yet so very vulnerable and has trouble letting people in - something I can certainly relate to.

The relationship between Harper and her parents, while not lingered on too much, is the sad reality a lot of children face growing up in broken homes. One parent who is happier pretending their former life didn't exist. One can only image how it would feel to have gone through something like that, and it makes it easier for the reader to understand why Harper rebels like she does. Having a sister who was perceptively 'better' at everything would no doubt take its toll. Admittedly I wanted to shake Harper at times, I mean, her poor mother had just lost a daughter, and she was at times (in my opinion) a little bit selfish, but seeing the way her character grew made me that much more satisfied and content once I was done reading.

I loved both Jake and Laney. They were both so much fun, I loved their wit and unique attitudes. I found their personalities to be easily likable and believable at the same time. While there wasn't much development with Laney, who (in my opinion) seemed to have a role in the story which was mostly based on supporting Harper (which I might add I don't have an issue with at all, I would have just liked to see more of her), the development with Jake certainly made up for that. He was so closed and seemingly unemotional at the beginning of the book, and I loved how much more we got to know of him, seeing his sensitive side, by the end. I, without a doubt, loved the way the numerous conversations between Jake and Laney were written, the playful banter, the raw (and sometimes harsh) emotions they threw at each other - it was captivating. And hey, the boy sounds hot - he certainly caught my attention! *swoon*

I have to agree with Nic here when I say that I loved all the talk about music! I learned a lot to be honest, and the playlists at the the end of the book were such a great idea. I'm definitely going to check some of the songs out.

I can't believe this was only Hannah Harrington's debut, I cannot wait to read more from someone who will be, no doubt, one to look out for.
Profile Image for Chachic.
586 reviews203 followers
August 8, 2014
Originally posted here.

For some reason, Saving June by Hannah Harrington was released early in Australia. I've seen raving reviews from those who have been lucky enough to get copies of the book and that persuaded me to read it as soon as I can. The ebook can be purchased from Angus & Robertson and Borders Australia. If you want a physical copy, you can order it from Fishpond. Also, Harlequin Teen said on Twitter that Saving June will be available on NetGalley in August.

Harper Scott knows she can never measure up to her perfect, older sister June, so she's never tried. In fact, she's done her best to be the opposite - lukewarm grades, detention as often as she can manage it, basically be the rebel daughter. She's as surprised as everyone when June commits suicide a week before graduation, leaving behind a mess that no one can figure out. When her divorced parents decide to split June's ashes, Harper takes matters into her own hands and embarks on a road trip to California with her best friend Laney and Jake Tolan, a guy who claims to be June's friend. June always yearned to go to California and Harper thinks it's the perfect place to scatter the ashes.

Ah this book, this beautiful book. It deserves all the hype that it's been getting, I can't even stop thinking about it. Right off the bat, I empathized with Harper, with all her pain and confusion and anger - not knowing how to handle living in a world without her big sister to take care of things. The road trip that she plans with her best friend is the perfect way for her to cope and ease that feeling of being suffocated. She doesn't understand why Jake wants to go with them though. Mysterious, classic rock-loving Jake with the piercing green eyes - one moment a douchebag and a knight in shining armor the next. He has his own reasons for being that way and it didn't diminish his appeal in my eyes. I'd love to meet someone like him in person - someone passionate about music who provides anecdotes each time an unfamiliar song plays, who believes that a proper mix CD should have a story to tell just like a book. Harper, armed with her Polaroid, Laney, with her enthusiasm and friendliness and Jake, with his music are the perfect combination for a memorable road trip.

Saving June has everything that I look for in my contemporary reads: believable characters with realistic problems, amazing friends, romance that takes time to form (as opposed to instant love). Some scenes had me smiling and chuckling at the situations Harper, Laney and Jake get into while other scenes had me tearing up and aching for all of them. I love how these three characters are fully fleshed out with their distinct personalities. This is the kind of book that stays with you even after you finish reading it, the kind that makes you want listen to all of the songs mentioned in it. Saving June is about grief and loss but also about life, hope and love. It has earned a spot in my favorites and will definitely be included in my best of 2011. The premise reminded me of The Sky is Everywhere and Sharing Sam while the slow build up of the romance felt similar to Going Too Far . So if you're a fan of those three books, make sure to read this one. I will be on the lookout for Hannah Harrington's other novels.

And because I love so many lines from the book, I can't help but quote Jake:

It's just nice, I guess. Knowing that someone else can put into words what I feel. That there are people who have been through things worse than I have, and they come out on the other side okay. Not only that, but they made some kind of twisted, fucked-up sense of the completely senseless. They made it mean something. These songs tell me I'm not alone. If you look at it at that way, music... music can see you through anything.

I'm not as passionate about music as Jake is but I agree with what he said, more so if you replace "music" with "books". Yeah, books can see you through anything.
Profile Image for Jasprit.
527 reviews768 followers
June 25, 2012
Saving Jane had been a book on my wish list ever since it hit the shelves in Australia, and the Aussie bloggers just couldn’t get enough. So I was excited to finally get my hands on a copy a year after first hearing about it.

Harper is struggling, her sister June has just passed away, she took her own life leaving no letter or explanation why. On the surface everything seemed fine with June, she’d found her boyfriend and cheated on her, but other than that everything seemed to be going okay. So finding June’s body in the back of her car was a massive shock. And now everything seems to be falling apart around Harper, after their parents separation, Harper’s mum was just coping, but now with June’s death she’s hit even harder, she seems to be walking around in a daze, and so Aunt Helen decides to take charge. Harper doesn’t mind Aunt Helen, but she thinks she knows best and Harper doesn’t really take to be told what to do. And to top it off, Harper’s parents want to split June’s ashes! Who in their right mind would want to do that? One night when rummaging around June’s things with her best friend Laney, Harper discovers a postcard from California and comes to a monumental decision, she will scatter June’s ashes in California; it was June’s dream place and so exactly what she would have wanted. However they have no way of getting to California and how are they going to leave without their parents discovering June’s ashes are missing? That’s where the mysterious Jake Tolan comes in, he turned up unexpectedly at June’s wake; June used to tutor him and so he offers his services to the girls; he will take them to California. This is the perfect opportunity for Harper, but why does she have a niggling feeling about Jake, has he got some hidden agenda, as to why he wants to help them out?

Harper; I so felt sorry for her, she was all alone without June and had a tough time with everyone always making comparisons between her and her dead sister. I understand that the only way she could move forward in her life was doing something for June, it wouldn’t bring complete closure, but it made her feel as if she had a purpose in her life.
Laney, I adored her, I’ve come across some awesome best friends in YA books lately and Laney has easily made it to the top of my list. She was constantly there for Harper, even though she was adamant that she was fine. I loved how she was such a spontaneous character, that you didn’t really know what to expect from her, also how she jumped freely into things without over-thinking them. She definitely livened things up a bit whenever Harper’s mood was low.

Jake; I remember nearly everyone who read this book fell in love with Jake, what’s not to love? He knows his music, he plays guitar, he can sing and has a gorgeous body. But I didn’t understand his flippant mood changes, he could be sweet and understanding one minute then arsey the next. Yeah it must have been difficult driving for hours with two girls with totally different moods. However since we first met him at June’s wake, I thought there was something shifty about him, I thought he held a torch for June, but his real intentions for driving to California did come as a quite surprise.

There’s nothing more I love than reading a road trip book, and this one was a great one, reading about their adventures from Michigan to California and the comical characters they meet on the way was great fun. Plus also we had the perfect weather over here for once, so I got to sit outside with my laptop devouring this lovely book. One of my favourite aspects of this book was the playlist, I love it when authors make up playlists for books especially ones which exactly match the feel and tone of the book and this one does exactly that!

I did enjoy Saving June, but not as much as I had originally hoped, maybe because my expectations were set too high in the first place. Instead of being a quick read as I thought it would be, it took me over a week to read it, I had numerous distractions that kept me from reading it, but when I also had the time to read, at times I didn’t feel like picking it up.

Overall Saving June was a beautiful read; it was full with vivid settings and beautiful writing and has left me with a yearning to road trip across America one day. I just wish I could have loved it that little bit more.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin UK for the opportunity to read this book.

This review and more can also be found on my blog: The Readers Den
Profile Image for Jennifer.
662 reviews2,256 followers
December 18, 2011
WOW This book blew me away. I have been digesting it for two weeks trying to decide how to review it. Every time I think about it again I honestly get all teary eyed. First I want to explain why I usually always read paranormal books. I try a little of everything but I have never been a fan of realistic fiction because I honestly never find it realistic. I always think this is so fake and they might as well throw in a vampire to make it fun and then I won't worry that it sounds fake. So when I read this and completely connected to and understood the main character I was surprised. Harper was so much like me which is always amazing to find in a book.

This book dealt with death in such an honest and relatable way to me. Whether you have lost someone as close to you as a sister or not, most of us have lost someone or have a friend that has lost someone. Harper lost her sister. With no previous signs of depression, her sister took her own life and Harper was the one to find her. Harper is left trying to take care of her mother while still holding herself together. Also having a nosy and obtrusive aunt trying to tell her how to deal with her loss and trying to make her attend church. Harper is not religious and this does not help her with the loss. Everyone deals with loss in a different way but forcing what worked for her aunt on her was not helpful. She has a caring best friend, Laney but you can only stand to hear "Are you okay?" so many times. Of course she is not okay and never will be again.

Then she meets Jake Tolan. A secret friend of June's that seems to hate her. He over hears her plans to take June's ashes to California and he wants to come. Since Harper needs a car she agrees. June always dreamed of California and Harper feels this will grant one of June's greatest wishes. Harper is very curious to know what Jake and June's relationship was like. Laney tags along for the journey and they sneak off stealing June's urn.

Harper thinks Jake is infuriating but he seems to be exactly what she needs. He is understanding and she is beginning to see a softer side to him as they travel. They play road games and he helps her when she has had too much to drink. The pain of her loss continues to hit her and Jake is there for her. He is helpful and sweet when Laney faces some devastating news as well. She can't help but begin to think about what it would be like to kiss him. Jake is definitely a deep character that I slowly began to understand and love.

Laney is trying her best to help Harper but sometimes Harper lashes out. It is understandable. There is no right thing to say when someone close to you loses someone. You just have to be there and Laney is there every step of the way to be what Harper needs. She wants Harper to be okay but it will take time. I could relate to Laney's struggle to say the right thing and to deal with a friends loss along with what the loss means to you and also have to continue to deal with your own life and problems. It is a an overwhelming struggle.

Jake has a few secrets. When they come out Harper is devastated but she realizes in life there will always be pain. There will always be mistakes and risks but she wants to live. She wants to feel it all. She will never be the same but she will continue to live. June's choice changed her forever but she will try to understand it and remember her. Such an emotional and beautiful story. I really understood Harper and her journey through her loss. I felt like she went through everything I went through when I loss someone. The difficulties Laney felt trying to say the right thing to Harper was also something I understood when a close friend loss someone. I highly recommend it but have the tissues handy. I cried just writing this review!
Profile Image for Jessica.
743 reviews618 followers
July 23, 2011
"Clapton wrote this song about it, after, and it just – It rips your heart out. It is the best kind of devastating there is. He took his pain and he turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that’s what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you. What I’m trying to say is, it’s just nice, I guess, knowing that someone else can put into words what I feel. That there are people who have been through things worse than I have, and they came out on the other side okay. Not only that, but they made some kind of twisted, fucked-up sense of the completely senseless. They made it mean something. These songs tell me I’m not alone. If you look at it that way, music...music can see you through anything.”

-Jake (about Tears in Heaven)

Boy, did I love this! *sigh* This is one of those stories that made me hurt, but in a good way.
“Saving June” was the book I’ve been looking for for weeks. The book that would finally get me out of my book slump. Such an achingly beautiful story about loss, grief, moving on, friendship, love and music. I loved that music played such an important role in this story. Music is one of the most important things in my life, so whenever Jake talked about it I found myself agreeing wholeheartedly. What he said was just so true.

Overall I can say that I loved each and every word of this story. It gets to you, hits you right where it hurts the most, it has the right amount of swoon-worthy romance and 3 main characters that you just gotta love. Definitely recommended!!

Oh, and sorry for the clumsy and short review. I’m a little bit out of practice... ^^
Profile Image for Reynje.
272 reviews962 followers
July 7, 2011
Whenever I think about this book, ‘Start Me Up’ by the Rolling Stones starts playing in my head – and for me, this is never a bad thing. Actually, I think I may have bumped up my rating slightly as a result of the music liberally referenced through the story. (Nice use of the Doors, Hannah Harrington.) Bonus: Playlists! Yes and thank you.

While the story opens at the wake for Harper Scott’s sister June, this isn’t exactly a book about suicide. It’s about grief and regret, the aftermath of the decision of a family member to take their own life, and how Harper’s quest to do one last thing for June might just save her own life.

And yes, also about music.

Harper, her best friend Laney and a taciturn guy with a connection to June embark on a road trip from Michigan to California with June’s ashes. And while the road trip delivers its own bizarre encounters and landmarks (hi, Fridgehenge!), it’s really the backdrop for the gradual unfolding and development of the characters as they come to terms with June’s departure from their lives, and with each other.

What set this book apart from other coming-of-age, grief stories for me was the blunt honesty it was presented in. I didn’t feel like the prose was deliberately trying to pull at my heart strings or manipulate my feelings about the characters. They were realistically presented complete with flaws and not-always-sympathetic behaviour, without over-angsting in the process. At the same time, it is completely engaging story that I felt invested in the entire time I was reading it. The interactions between the three main characters really worked and there was tangible chemistry (*cough* Jake *cough*) that grew throughout the pages. While I appreciate that the dialogue between them may not be entirely representative of the 16 to 18 year old population in general, I thought it was true to their characters, and it had me laughing out loud at times (while on public transport no less). Harrington’s writing was fluid and compulsively readable, and she nailed the spectrum of emotion Harper moves through in response to her sister’s suicide.

Alongside the heavy subject matter the story deals with, it’s also high on the swoon scale, and despite some fairly jerk-ish behaviour, Jake is also a multi-dimensional character with personality rather than being a token hot-guy cardboard cutout. Harper’s ambivalence toward him was believable and the mounting tension was crafted for a maximum impact payoff. In addition to the back and forth between Harper and Jake, which will have readers flipping pages eagerly, I also appreciated the way his attitude towards Laney changed. From a particularly “oh no you didn’t” scene, to the gradual and subtle gestures of apology, it tackled issues of judgement and misconception.

I had a minor quibble with a plot point towards the very end of the book – not that it wasn’t within the realm of the possibility – but it seemed a little.. neat? The situation seemed to be resolved conveniently in time for the ending of the book, but I do appreciate that Harrington alluded to the ongoing emotional repercussions of the event.

Ultimately, Saving June was a touching, funny, painful book with a lot of realism and heart. It’s an upper YA read doesn’t flinch from difficult topics, and there are some beautifully written scenes that deal honestly with what it is to grieve and not always have an answer to the ‘why’s?’ presented by suicide.
Profile Image for l..
491 reviews2,136 followers
January 3, 2021
Before you read my review, which consists of gushing, and gushing alone (you’ve been warned), let me tell you one thing: I’m not easily impressed by books. I so rarely give a book five stars, even one I love, that you could say I never do, and as of now, my average rating here on Goodreads is 2.63. But Saving June—it blew me away.

I had a whole review written down—about the fantastic build-up, the characters, the relationships— everything. But when I finished, and was ready to post it, I realized that none of my words of praise could ever even come close to representing the brilliance of this book. I don’t have the words in me to illustrate just exactly how unique and utterly impressive the journey of reading Saving June was, much as the main character, Harper Scott. She’s not your usual teenage girl by far; she’s sassy and she’s bold, she doesn’t care about trying to fit in, much the opposite, actually, and she has morals and principles she sticks to. Harper captured my heart from the first page, and so did her best friend, Laney. Unlike so many other superficial high school friendships you encounter in young-adult literature, their friendship was genuine and special, and they had each other’s backs. No backstabbing, no jealousy, no melodrama.

And Jake—you couldn’t not fall in love with him, or with Jake and Harper. Their relationship wasn’t that mushy, corny, and very much overdone romance I’ve gotten so used to finding in young-adult novels. It was real, it was messy, and it was complicated, but it was the kind of complicated that was based on real issues, and Hannah Harrington did such a wonderful job of building up their relationship.

Saving June was stunningly beautiful. It invoked so many different emotions in me; incredible sadness and grief, joy, love, melancholy, hope, and happiness. It’s definitely a book that makes you think about life, and draws you to a deeper appreciation for the things you have, but the message is subtly integrated in between the pages, as opposed to being forced down your throat, which I immensely appreciated. I’m not someone who cries when reading a book, but this book brought tears to my eyes, more than once.

I'm not sure if I’ll ever find a novel that will move me as much, or at least not in the same way, as Saving June did ever again, but I certainly hope so. My future novels certainly have a lot to live up to.

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Profile Image for Laura.
1,402 reviews209 followers
August 29, 2011
I know this is a silly question for a bunch of readers, but it still bowls be over when it happens—Have you ever felt like you were reading the right book at the right time? As if the book found you when you needed it?

This story felt like that to me. I was riding along with Harper, Laney, Jake, and June to California. Windows down. Music blaring. It felt heartbreakingly perfect. Saving June is a very special book that fit right into my heart, head, and soul.

For the past year, books have been my way of coping with pain. After reading Saving June, I spent my weekend in tears and headphones with everyone from Led Zeppelin to Ani DiFranco and Johnny Cash to Jimi Hendrix!

Saving June gave me my music back.

“…music can see you through anything”
Profile Image for Sophia..
61 reviews2,578 followers
May 26, 2015
Original review 2012:

" He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful "

Harrington's writing is the kind that makes you stop while you're reading - just to re-read a sentence, to say it out loud, so you can consider it and let it sink in. So you can smell the words and their meanings like perfume... Everything was just so poetic.

Author Hannah Harrington is only 23 and honestly, I am beyond impressed. To be that young and yet manage to write such a book? The girl is amazing.

Now, the book in itself.

I really, really liked Laney. I know, right? It's weird that I focus like this on her but I can't help it. It's like she's all I can think about when I think about the book. But I loved everything about her. She was so sweet and funny and heart-breaking and just... I don't know. True.
I liked Harper, too. Kind of. And Jake. They feel right together.

Actually the only flaw of this book is the fact that it reminded me too much of two others YA books.

* The first one is Fall For Anything, by Courtney Summers. Am I the only one out there who noticed how much those two books are alike ?

They both feature a teenage girl who's had to deal with a close family member committing suicide unexpectandly. Both have to deal with the question "why?" and their mothers being close to a catatonic state, AND with the arrival at home of an aunt/friend that the main character can't stand.
Both heroines go on a road trip in order to understand, and ultimately overcome grief, with some mysterious guy they're never seen before but who seems to have known the dead person. Said guy becomes the love interest. At the end, he reveals a huge secret about the dead person.
AND, in both books, photography is a main topic.
No really, it's confusing when you come to think about it.

It also made me think about Before I Die, by Jenny Downham, because of the relationship between Harper and Laney that was so similar Tessa and Zoey's : the narrator describes herself as plain, and her best friend as blond, hot, and kinda slutty. The BF is funny, always here to make some jokes or organize some crazy plans, yet she remains lovable and cute. AND,

I liked June, too. I liked her a lot.

And, other reviewers pointed that out too, but I think it was sort of selfish and unrealistic for Harper to steal June's ashes from her parents. I mean, okay for the road trip, sure, but she should have called them once she was in California to let them know about her project. They could have joined her to spill the ashes together. They knew June had always wanted to go to California. It's weird that Harper did it all herself.. like her parents didn't have the right to be there?

Okay, now that said, it remains a fantastic book. Also I spent like 2 hours collecting all the musics of the playlists, and that's an aspect of the book I absolutely adored.

4 stars.

Edit 2015:

So I re-read it and didn't like it as much as I thought as I would. It just seemed very juvenile, not really like what I thought I remembered it to be. And I hated all these political messages that were forced down the reader's throat : environment, same sex relationships, religion, even about the music : the rant about whether punk is dead or the value of radio-music. Please. That wasn't any of the characters, that was all Hannah Harrington, and it wasn't subtle at all, it felt heavy and unnecessary. And the book didn't focus on June as much as it focused on HARPER&JAKE - them snapping at each other even though you totally see the romance coming, and stupid unbelievable plots to have them sleep in the same bed or spend time together (like Laney being conveniently asleep or wandering around for half of the book so that they're oh-so-surprisingly left alone. Meh. I guess 3 years ago I had loved the romance, and now maybe I was looking for something deeper. And Harper was way too angsty and annoying (hoodies and black/red nail polish? Really?)

And then there has got to be a problem when you agree with Aunt Helen, aka the character you're supposed to hate? I didn't agree with the religious aspect of her rants (and I thought that Harper was so unnecessarily disdainful when it came to that), but I do think that Harper was incredibly selfish and that it wasn't up to her to decide what to do with June's ashes. The whole road trip felt unrealistic. I don't know. I felt the "Young" in "Young Adult" very strongly this time.
2.5 stars.
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,356 followers
June 10, 2012
Even though this book is ultimately about loss and dealing with grief, it's a very diverting read filled with life, humor, and romance. Being a road trip story, be prepared for some amusing sightseeing along with plenty of colorful characters.

Saving June begins very powerfully during the aftermath of June's death. Harper finds herself in a bubble of grief, unable to even begin to understand why her sister killed herself. I could feel her heartache, as if it was my own. The emotional turmoil is extremely vivid and I was sure we were in for an overwhelmingly sad novel, but once the road trip begins it turns into a pleasant, beautiful story. After the initial explosion, though, the pacing can leave a bit to be desired until about half way. However, this leaves room for excellent character development and an incredibly sweet budding romance.

Extremely character oriented, Saving June brings forth a lot of vibrant personalities. Harper, herself, is frustrated and broken by her sister's death, making her a very gripping, sympathetic protagonist. The two main supporting roles, Jake and Laney, both have distinct personalities that are very different from each other. We see them go from snappy to charismatic. Thus, there was bound to be some banter and disagreements, but they have this wonderful chemistry that makes them seem naturally connected to each other. We then have a band of eccentric characters that we meet along the way that range from charming to outlandish.

So powerful that it's a character in itself, the music reverberates through the pages making it an important entity. It plays an immense part in Harper's healing process. This book is filled with musical references that will capture any music buff. Although I was familiar with a lot of the music mentioned, it's not to such a degree that made the frequent exchanges and debates mean as much as I think it should have. Nevertheless, its strong influence is undeniable.

As in the beginning, the conclusion yields a lot of emotional outbursts; it's an intense, piercing ending. Some parts of it do feel a bit too convenient, but I was satisfied with it overall. Are you a music fanatic? Do you enjoy road trips? Brilliant characterization? Poignant story lines? Saving June will take you and enrapture you all through to the end!

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for K..
182 reviews724 followers
January 8, 2012
And thus, the reason why I sometimes really hate first narrative. I am of the minority: Saving June has failed to awe me into an emotional chokehold, which seems to be the general denouement to the reading experience of many readers out there. This book, to its unfortunate luck, contains many reading pet peeves of mine. Sadly, there were so many things that bugged me about the way it was presented that I couldn't concentrate on the story itself. Although, to be completely and utterly truthful, I don't think it would've made much difference to how I am ultimately rating this now. (I say all this with much respect, much respect).

First off, the first person narrative and why I hate it: you can't get out of the character's head. You're stuck, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, etc. You have no defense against the onslaught of perpetual reflection. Harper said and explained, analyzed and hypothesized every degree of emotion that passed through her angsty, rock-solid but essentially vulnerable-in-a-strong-way, sixteen year old body. Everything. From her parents' divorce, to her antagonizing aunt Helen, to how she was always in June's shadow, to how far she and June have drifted apart, to how she hates June for killing herself but still misses her and loves her, to Laney and their yin-yang but somehow opposites attract kind of friendship, to Jake and all that jazz...I have a problem when a character talks too much. I keep saying this, but I love dialogue. And action. I don't want to just sit there and be told what a character is feeling. I don't need to know (and an author doesn't have to tell) everything a character is going through. It's too much. By "too much", I don't mean too much to read but I mean too much information that it takes away the reader's involvement.

And here is where I am contradicting myself. As obviously pointed out by reviews I've read, people were emotionally invested -- so what am I saying? I just mean, a reader is not merely a "reader". We don't just sit there and read and nod and believe. We participate. There are scenes we read (and visualize in our heads) and its like a searching game...we read and we recognize small gestures that hold so much truth about a person's inside, words that reveal rooted secrets despite their seemingly trivial and insignificant initial impact, and its those details that unveil our clouded minds and deliver to us epiphanies about the characters (I'm thinking Melina Marchetta...Jellicoe Road, specifically). We read between the lines, we cover the gray areas, we fill in the blanks. Its like catching someone doing something from the corner of your eye and you think, ha, gotcha! If we're told everything, all the work is done for us. I want to see their pain, not hear about it.

But enough with that. I've spent enough lines on one narrative complaint. Also, I'm sure none of you understood a single word.

Anyway, I have more to whine about. This is a case where the author is so pervasively in your face that I can't focus on the fiction anymore. Music to politics to first-time sex to feminism to organized religion to how parents are just as screwed up as their teenage kids. Oh, but not these youths...they hold intellectual debates over bonfires. I don't have a problem with that. Its nice to see young characters stand up for their beliefs, but its not the characters, though, is it? Its Hannah Harrington. She has so much to say about everything that she's given up a section of her brain, each targeting a different field, to each one of her characters. In this case, write an essay. Or just a rant and post it on a blog. You don't have to write an entire YA novel and get it published for the masses -- what a hassle.

The music. The incessant barrage of name/song dropping was making me choke on air. The discussion on the spiritual death of punk, to the manufactured, over-processed, "fast food for the ears" products of major pop labels...yappi yappi yap. We get it, its hip to listen to old school and unenlightened to listen to Top 40. Just like how its original to be vintage and generic to shop at Forever 21. (Let me make it clear, I listen and adore much of the music mentioned in said book and I shop both at thrift stores and XXI). This is an obvious social commentary on the state of youth today, except that we've heard it all before and its exhausting.

I found everything Harrington was saying too judgmental, hasty and demeaning. How, for example, Aunt Helen turns to God because she has nothing else in her life. Harsh, much? If that's all she has to cling on to, then so be it. Don't turn them into caricatures. And I felt she did that with many of the characters: Aunt Helen, her parents, Laney...

This is all without even addressing that fact that Harper stole her sister's urn! Come on, child! Think! Her justification for her "road trip" was far too fickle for me to even consider buying. That was not for Harper to decide.

But here's the thing, sometimes Harrington says something blindingly pretentious, then does something to make me believe that she knows she's being pretentious and that, perhaps, this is actually a satire, or some higher work of fiction, not simply a teen book. But then she goes back to being pretentious and then I heave a sigh and roll me eyes...

I'm going to end it here. I don't want this to sound anymore of a "hatey" review than it already does. If anyone is left feeling offended, that was not my intent. I just had to...but maybe that's how Harrington felt, and since this review can be seen as a judgement on her, then I'm a hypocrite. So, really, who the fuck am I to say anything at all?
Profile Image for Emily.
187 reviews303 followers
May 4, 2011
Hannah Harrington's amazing debut is a must-read for YA lovers. I haven't read a teen novel this fresh and wonderful in such a long time. It was a great book to read over my break.

Here's a quote from early in the book, that I think captures the tone of the novel perfectly and shows you Harper's personality.

"Jay, you should play something," Gwen suggests from across the crackling fire. Somehow from the way she says it, and the dark look Jake gives her in response, I can tell a gauntlet has been thrown. Maybe some You Got Served style dance-off shenanigans will ensue. That would be - well, that would be pretty awesome, actually.

The romance in this book made me grin while I was reading. I won't give away any spoilers, but page 219 (of the first Australian paperback edition) was my fave romantic part. *girly sigh*

The book is non-stop action up until the last few chapters. It then slows down and you wonder why it is taking so long to finish. When I got to the end I knew why: It was Harper's story. If the book had ended earlier it really would've been June's story.

The music references are used perfectly in this book, moving the plot and character development along quite nicely. I loved hearing a shout out to Harper's To Kill A Mockingbird namesake, and was excited to see the name of my musical hero Jeff Buckley.

If you do read Saving June, please let me know what you think!
Profile Image for Ash Wednesday.
441 reviews525 followers
August 29, 2013


What do you do?


Well duh, kidnap her urn and take a roadtrip to California with your best friend and some random "douche-baggy hipster music snob with the taste of a forty-year old white guy" of course. The latter, by the way, also needs to fulfill the minimum requirement of being "sorta hot", owning a van named after a singer who OD-ed in heroin (because he's cool like that), mad skills in the dance floor and a shroud of mystery in his connection to suicidal sis.

This should have been an easy sell to me. I love road trip stories. Old people music is heavily integrated in the plot (The Beatles!) and the snappy, witty banter between her characters, I'm starting to recognize as a Hannah Harrington trademark, was beyond amusing. Plus there's a somber, melancholic promise of delivering the feels with Harper being the troublesome, darker sister trying to figure out why her near-perfect sister just one day decided to kill herself.

But something in the way she moves (see what I did there?)… makes me want to shake Harper into the future. So we could skip the teenage angst, the road trip lessons from the mosh pit (in a punk concert. Seriously.), the protest rally and Fridgehenge to get to the part where she becomes the remarkable woman I already know she will become.

Have you ever thought about those books that we've read with the awesome, battle-scarred heroines who spout chockfull of wisdom and worldly views? You ever wonder how they got there?

This felt like the chronicles of that painful birthing process. Because at one point, those strong women we all agree to be a benchmark of cool and amazingness went through sixteen. And the thought process of angry, sixteen year old Harper is rife with self-esteem issues, egocentric notions and hormonally driven decisions that challenges my patience and understanding. But add in the grief and my limit has been exceed.

Because there were just one too many "woe is me" moments where Harper competes with the memory of June, followed by missing her sister, followed by being angry at herself for being helpless and rounding up nicely to placing some misplaced blame on everyone around her for not understanding her.

It's easily excused as her coping mechanism, yes but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

There's also an inexplicable amount of cheese and cliche that shouldn't be cheesy and cliched to anyone else but me, I guess. Because its probably just the Beatle fan snob in me that cringed when they sang along to Hey Jude in the van (it's a great song but you have an audiophile in the van and we couldn't have chosen something less… kitschy for the scene?) or when Harper broke down while listening to Let It Be.

There was also some stereotyping that didn't feel well with me. The divorcee aunt who Harper alleges to turn to religion as a crutch was painted to be disfavored. The dreadlocked, pot-smoking friend will sell a Hendrix memorabilia because its not Bob Marley. Jake's Bitchy Ex-girlfriend who trades the activist lifestyle for college ?
"She created this papier-mâché Jesus - except it's Jesus as a woman - and there are high heels instead of nails through the hands. And there's a tampon stuffed in Jesus' mouth."

Which of course represents "women's oppression due to traditionally gendered beauty standards driven by patriarchy".

But I can never deny Hannah Harrington's gift for dialogue. Easily among the sharpest and wittiest I've read so far in the genre. Which makes an excellent tool to draw her protagonists closer, thankfully avoiding the hateful insta-love pitfall . There's a scattered quality to the message it was trying to to drive but the clever banter between her characters shines through, even when it's Harper and Jake bickering and bent on making the road trip end up in hell or a ditch somewhere.
"I can't believe you saw me puke," I groan pulling the blankets over my head.
"It was a lovely moment," he says drily. "Now there's a band name for you - the Lovely Pukes."
I poke my head back out to shoot him a withering look. "How about the Shut the Fuck Ups?"
"The Toilet Huggers."
"The Imminent Castrations."
"Yes, with out debut album - Lorena Bobbitt, How Could You."

So I'm pretty happy I read Speechless ahead of this one because I'm not sure I'd have picked that up if I started with this but the reasons are more of my own personal quirks. I can see this being favorite-shelved by someone and not feel judgy towards the reader because I can totally see twenty-something me being all over this. I never thought I'd see the day when I'd feel too old for a YA/NA book but this may just did it.

One last thing, I don't see how Jake's ABBA love as the quirk this book made it to be… in my side of the universe that's not quirky.

That's just going with nature. #fuckyeahABBA
Profile Image for Kody Keplinger.
Author 20 books6,771 followers
June 29, 2010
I was lucky enough to get an early look at SAVING JUNE, and I loved it! Its a funny, fresh, touching contemporary. When it comes out, I hope all of you pick it up!
Profile Image for Cara.
279 reviews720 followers
August 24, 2016
I'm writing this review with a bit of a heavy heart because I thought and truly believed I was going to fall in love with this like so many fans have. Though I appreciate what Harrington tried to do here, I honestly wasn't quite the right reader for this book.

June was perfect in every way. She had stellar grades, beauty, and almost everyone liked her. So why did she decide it was all too much and end her life? Well Harper, June's sister, knows as much as everyone else, which is nothing and it haunts her. How could she not know or notice? How come she isn't grieving the way people expect her to? She's the sister people expect nothing from so how could June just leave her?

A peculiar thing happens at the wake. Harper notices a guy smoking outside their house, and can't place him. He doesn't give Harper any consolation or sympathetic looks, which she finds refreshing. As it turns out this guy, Jake, has a connection to June, but what exactly? Surprisingly he will be part of a road trip that Harper has cooked up with her best friend Laney. They’re going to take June's ashes to California. The place June always dreamed of escaping to.

Okay so this all sounds very interesting and it was. There was no problem at all with keeping my attention. I have to first address the whole idea of taking the ashes. In the story we find out quickly that Harper's parents are divorced and plan to split the ashes. I know this sounds beyond insane! Who would do that? Anyways, it was put in there I believe to make it acceptable that Harper basically robbed her parents their right to grieve their daughter properly. They loved her too, and yes I know that it's despicable to split her ashes like she's an object but Harper could have thought of something rather drive across the freakin' country! But then we wouldn't have a story, so I know I'm gonna have to let that slide but it still really bothered me.

The main reason I didn't give this a higher rating was because the characters really aggravated me. They seemed to be anti-everything and in real life I could probably only tolerate them as acquaintances. The whole toxic weird thing between Harper and Jake was frustrating. They hate each other and they don't. I guess the constant butting of heads is supposed to be something different and that's an attractive idea, but didn't always come off well on the page. Then there is Laney’s sensitive dilemma, which seemed totally unnecessary seeing as how it played out in the end. The ending was solid, but I had a hard time feeling Harper was justified at the end for being so angry. I understand some anger but she blew up in a spectacular fashion that seemed over the top. I do believe though that's because Harper always is a bit explosive and unforgiving in nature, so I wasn’t too shocked by her reaction.

Now what I did love. I loved how Laney was not a backseat character. She is a best friend who is around and that Harper doesn't just forget because there is a guy in the room. And as much I didn't connect with the characters on a personal level, I can appreciate how different they are. They're definitely not cookie cutters, and reflect a niche of people I think are often ignored in literature. Then who can go wrong with music in a book? Nobody is the answer. I'm proud to say I wasn't totally out of the loop and did recognize some of the songs and artists. The author is even nice enough to include a list of the songs in the back in case you’re curious. There are also some beautiful quotes, and moments where I laughed so much. On the topic of grief the author handled it with authenticity, and was able to express that there is no real "wrong" way when it comes to feelings of grief. It's complicated and painful and that's probably the only sure thing about it.

So would I suggest it to other readers? Yes I would. I am unfortunately not "cool" enough for this book. Seriously, I'm just not hipster material, but that doesn't mean other readers won't find that this book speaks to them strongly and on a extraordinary level; I won't ever discourage people from reading a book that can give them that.
Profile Image for Isamlq.
1,578 reviews707 followers
August 26, 2011
There are so many lines to choose:

...from the sad, "I wish she was here, but she isn't, she never will be
And I have to get used to that."

...to the angry, "There is no fate," I say, "There's what you do and what you don't do."

...to the cutesy-funny, "Do you have a bobby pin?

"Yes, right here in my pocket along with a stick of gum, a shoelace and a number two pencil. Will that be enough for you MacGyver?"

...and finally to the achingly romantic,
"Look. Stop. Breath."
His hand on my waist to the small of my back. It's all I can do not to shiver.

"Don't look at the floor.
Don't think about it...
Just move with me."

I adored this book because when there's music plus a road trip plus release, what's not to like? All these three things have me loving Saving June but above all it's the characters (again) who got me hooked. They leave me feeling as I did when I read Adam and Mia in Where She Went: weepy, emotional sad and happy and everything in between:

Harper isn't the most sympathetic of characters. I know she's in a place of pain, but at times she came across as too teen angsty in a nobody-gets-me or what-about-me way. But I have to say she's grew on me. And it was mainly through her interactions with Jake that I saw her wit her charm her strength come through. I simply loved their back and forth, their banter. Beyond the boy-girl aspect of the story, there's her story and Laney too. It was a sweet addition to see that Harper was more than just the grieving sister; she's a the loyal, strong friend too.

Now Jake. Well, allow me to swoon. Apart from the physical, he's a different kind of person. One can tell this from the friends they keep, right? I think it's the glimpses into who he was that has me feeling very strongly about him. Actually, I am feeling a big urge to compare him to my YA favorites: Tom and Adam. I mean all three of them have this mysterious inner pain thing going for them (the very same thing that had me wanting to hug them.) And that they had music was a definite plus. and talk of Jake and music? Oh, the passion! This boy loves his music and I felt it. This boy feels deeply, and I felt that too.


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