Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release: May 1, 2011
Source: Harlequin Teen Panel
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.Saving June is a cross between a grief book and a roadtrip book and has the fundamental elements of each. Each item is neatly checked off, one by one, as if it is on a long list of clichés that must be used in a story about the people left behind after a death. We have the well-meaning people trying to help, and a family that just wants to be alone. And of course, the food that people make but no one eats is present as well. You can't forget that. As for the roadtrip element, all the necessary stops are made. Saving June reads a bit like the author flipped through every YA novel out there that falls into these two categories and just picked out elements that she wanted to weave together into her own book.
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 demeanor 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.
I found the characters to be a bit cookie-cutter as well. It's always the pretty one, the smart one, the one everyone else wants to be like who commits suicide, and June is, of course all of these things. Harper, the younger sister who seems like nothing special by comparison, is the one who is left behind. Throw in an older boy with a rebellious feel, and you have your cast of unoriginal characters.
For the first half, that was all it was. It wasn't bad, but there was nothing different, nothing that made it special. I saw everything coming, because I had seen everything before.
But then, around the 175-page mark, something shifted and the book got so much better. The stereotypical characters still bothered me to no end, but at that point the author started spicing up the plot and making it her own, even throwing in a surprise or two. It was as if she needed time to warm up before she could write something great.
Although the ending wasn't brilliant, it was enough to make reading the beginning worth it. Saving June still won't stand out in my mind against the masses of similar novels, but I will be able to look upon it fondly. All in all, this book just didn't speak to me like it seems to have spoken to others, but not every book can do that. I was okay with the fact that it was only an okay book for me.