Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Contempo-May Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

In One Line: Harper’s sister dies; cue road-trip of personal discovery!
Genre: YA Road Trip
The Gist:
June was the good sister, Harper was the bad. So what could have possibly driven June to suicide? Her life was perfect, wasn’t it? Feeling completely lost and unsupported by her family, Harper decides to take her sister’s ashes to California, the one place she wanted to go and never got to. In tow, Harper’s best friend Laney and the strange, brooding, hot, music obsessed guy Jake. But what is his connection to June? And is it appropriate for Harper to be having The Feelings for him? Especially when she’s meant to be all messed up and grieving?
The Cover:
Well hello there giant face! This is a nice enough cover, but the real issue I have about it is that it doesn’t say anything. Just by looking at it, and not reading the words, I would have absolutely no idea what the book is about. It has as dark thriller edge to it, the red over the nose could be the beginnings of a ninja mask? Perhaps I feel that this cover should be more romantic. If anything it’s just slightly scary. Sorry. I much prefer the australian version of the cover TBH...

Why You’ll Love This Book
  • ROAD TRIP! If you wanted to go on a road-trip in the UK you’d be at your destination by sundown. Plus there are only so many Welcome Break service stations one should ever tolerate in life. Basically, life here in blighty isn’t made for cross-country explorations of self. This is why we need American road-trip novels, so that we can Feel and Fall in Love and have adventures of the mind. *sigh*
  • Jake Tolan. Hello? Did somebody say hot, brooding boy? And what’s especially amazing about the development of this blatant romance (it’s not really a spoiler because you know it’s going to happen right from the moment he sets foot on her lawn and offers her a cigarette) is that we’re in classic But I Hate You! But I Love You! But I Hate You! territory here. There is nothing so sexy as electrifying banter, and this book has it by the bucket-load. 
  • All of the Feelings. I was completely on board with Harper, our moody, sad narrator. And I felt moody and sad right along with her. I don’t know whether it’s because of the writing, or because I myself have been recently bereaved, but I just understood her character so entirely and really wanted her to find her happiness. Unfortunately, when I got to the end, I was left bereft and sad because I didn’t have a hot music-obsessed boy making mixtapes for me. 
  • SOUNDTRACK!!! The music in this book is Excellent. So excellent that there is actually a list of what’s on the mixtapes at the back. So you can actually listen along whilst you’re reading! GENIUS!!! In fact the only thing that was missing was getting a chance to see some of Harper’s polaroids. This book should totes have had a scrapbook section. 

Why You May Not Love This Book:
  • Practical logistics. Maybe it’s because I’m in my twenties and not a carefree teen anymore, but I was really worried about the money situation in this book. Nobody ever talked about it, there was no budgeting at any point, and I spent an obscene amount of time worrying on the characters’ behalf. Likewise, they never ran out of money - where was it coming from? How could they afford motel rooms and snacks? 
  • Random tangents. At one point in the novel the kids get involved in a protest. But I have no idea why. Like seriously, no idea. It just kind of happens, and there’s a real lack of cause and affect and I’m left wondering why the hell they’re letting themselves get side-tracked before they’re even out of their home state! 

The Hypersomnia Test:
This was like Start Me Up by the Rolling Stones in book form. I was on board, I got it, and there was no chance of any sleepytimes whilst I was reading it. I found the emotions so powerful, and the romance element so fun, that you just couldn’t stop me reading this one. 
Final Verdict:
In summing up this book, there is one thing that I should make totally clear: it is VERY similar to Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. So similar that I was annoyed at times. And I hate to say it in this review, but I think Matson accomplishes the whole thing a bit better. That’s not to say that this isn’t a fabulous and brilliantly entertaining book. It totally is and I force it into the hands of anyone looking for a mental escape, but at the same time I just can’t ignore the similarities. But then again, can you ever have too many road trip novels? I think not. 
Further Reading:
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Before I Die by Jenny Downham
To buy Saving June please click HERE!!!


  1. This is a great review (I got worried about money, too) I haven't read Amy and Roger yet but I plan too. However I'm currently reading In Honor and that is very, very similar. I guess there's only so much you can do with a roadtrip novel?

    The Cait Files


  3. I couldn't agree more. I am a HUGE fan of road trip novels so the similarity to it and any other road trip novel isn't necessarily a negative in my opinion. The only thing I wanted more of in this book is more June. I could understand the grief surrounding her death, but I didn't really know her or her reasons for doing the things she did and I wanted to.

  4. I'd worry about the practicalities of a road trip too, haha. Oh to be free...

    Glad you enjoyed it!