Saving June by Hannah Harrington

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.

Other reviews:
Book Harbinger
Irresistible Reads

25 thoughts on “Saving June by Hannah Harrington

  1. Oh yay, you reviewed it already! I absolutely LOVE your review. It sums up so perfectly Jake and Laney and Harper and why this is contemporary YA at it’s best. I want a mix CD from Jake. *grin* I love how you substituted books for music in the quote. Too many great quotes in this book. Must add more to Goodreads. The bookmark feature on Kindle really did come in handy while reading it. Did you know that Hannah Harrington was only like 21 when she wrote this? I cannot believe that nor can I wait to see what she reads next.

    Again, great review! I’m so thrilled you loved this as much as all of us. 😀 Your review has made my day.

    • Aww Holly, thank you so much for the compliments! 🙂 I actually wrote this review yesterday because I couldn’t stop thinking of the book. Just polished it a bit before posting now. Sigh, I really loved this book. I’m glad I read and reviewed it already so we can talk about it.

      Weren’t you tempted to download all of the songs listed in the tracks at the end of the book? I want to listen to all of those. But a mix CD from Jake would be even better. ♥ And I want to go on a road trip too. Yep, so many great quotes from this book! Really, she was just 21 when she wrote this? I’m impressed. I’m definitely going to read the next book she writes.

  2. This was one of my “maybe” books at BEA and after dealing with the craziness at the Harlequin Booth earlier, I decided I wouldn’t brave it again. Just my luck! It’s always the book that you *didn’t* pick up that sounds awesome! I’m always a bit leery of the books where someone dies and someone else is basically grieving, but I have heard such great things from you guys, I need to read this one one day. Also I love this cover, but I think the US cover is different. I prefer this one – very dreamy, summer day look to it that I quite love.

    • I can just imagine how crazy the Harlequin Booth was. Are you signed up for NetGalley? Because you can wait for it to become available there. Or buy the ebook from Aussie online bookstores. 🙂 Why are you a bit leery of books where someone dies and someone else is grieving? I admit there are a lot of books like that out there but the ones that I’ve read have been well done so far.

      Have to agree with you, I like this cover much better than the US one. It really has a summery, road trip vibe to it.

  3. Great review.
    Everyone who read this book seems to love it. It sounds wounderful and it’s already on my wishlist. It will be the third book I read in some weeks that deal with loss and grief, hopefully I will like it as much as I did the other two.

    • Sabrina, that’s why I couldn’t wait to read it. All of the bloggers who’ve read this has loved it so far. I hope you’ll loved it too. 🙂 I know you’re a fan of contemporary YA with romance so I think this is something that you’ll enjoy reading. What were the other two books about loss that you read?

  4. Did you just say classic rock-loving?! And then a mention of The Sky is Everywhere and Going Too Far?

    *rushes off to pre-order from Book Depository* 😀

    • Celina, there are a lot of songs mentioned in the book and there are soundtracks listed in the end. It was a nice surprise seeing those. I haven’t decided if I should pre-order the US edition or get the Aussie one from Fishpond. Either way, I’m definitely getting a physical copy of this. 🙂

      • The one from Fishpond is so expensive, but the Aussie cover is indeed nicer.:) Might just pre-order the US one for now since it’s cheaper, hehe.:)

    • I don’t think I would have found out about this book if you guys didn’t review it so thanks for that. 🙂 I’m glad I loved it too! I hope my review encourages more people to read it.

    • Chris, I hope you enjoy reading this. I love well-written stories with premises like this, kind of like The Piper’s Son. You can pre-order it from the Book Depository because I’m not sure if it will be locally available.

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