Release Date: May 1st 2011 (Aus) / November 15 2011 (US)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Add it: Goodreads
‘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
This roadtrip is exactly what Harper, Jake and Laney needed. They were all connected in some way to June, they all felt the pain when she took her life and they were all still grieving from that tragedy. The intention was to take June's ashes to California in a way to set her free, to save a young girl who felt there was only one way out - but ultimately this journey saved them all. There were tears and laughter, hangovers, punches, protests, blossoming relationships and in the end, hope.
I love the rapport between these three and the snappy dialogue. I felt like I was riding along beside them in Jake's van, Joplin. Hannah has crafted such an easy novel to slip into - her writing is beautiful and so easy; in that you'll literally find yourself 100 pages into this story before you even realise you've totally been needing to pee for the last 40 minutes, because you hadn't noticed anything other than the words on the page. The prose and the characters and the emotions and the music, they all compliment one another so well and come together to form this stunning novel.
I loved what grew between Harper and Jake. I loved these characters as individuals - such bold, funny, independent, intriguing personalities and when they come together, it really makes for a dynamic pair. There's sexual tension and you can see spark of attraction growing deeper and deeper beneath the genuine friendship they developed over the journey. They argue and they fight and they both tell it how it is. I loved the realness and the honesty of their bond.
Music is a huge part of this novel. Jake is obsessed - I'm not sure there would ever be a moment of silence in his head because if he doesn't have a record or CD playing, then I've no doubt he has some in-built stereo system hard-wired to his brain to boom out everything from Johnny Cash to Coldplay. There's a certain scene in the book - when he plays Touch Me by the Doors, you'll know what I mean. But it totally made me laugh because in this really intense 'moment', he has to pause everything to get the right track for what's happening. I'm not a huge music buff, so there are quite a few band names and songs mentioned that I was completely clueless about it. Though not once did that detract me from being so immersed in this story. I actually found myself looking up some of the tracks listed. Hannah has included a list of sound tracks at the end of the novel which I am totally going to youtube later!
This is an incredible book that really makes you realise that even the most beautiful, happy, 'together' person has their own issues. No one's life is perfect, we all have our inner demons and what's most saddening is that it gets so bad for some people that they feel they only have one escape - death.
The end was touching. And left me with a feeling of both sadness and hope. Sadness overall for what this story represented and the journey taken by these characters. Although you'll be laughing and smiling along the way just as much. The story may be over for me, but for them it's only just beginning. Saving June is an incredibly touching, humorous, powerful debut. It's song will still be playing in your heart long after you've finished. It's heart warming and heart wrenching, full of life and death, hope and salvation.