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SAVING JUNE by Hannah Harrington

SAVING JUNE

By Hannah Harrington

Age Range: 13 & up

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-21024-4
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

It’s clear from the start that high-school senior June, days away from graduation, is past saving, since 16-year-old Harper begins her account on the day of her sister’s funeral. Escaping trite funereal platitudes, Harper takes refuge in the backyard and encounters hunky Jake, an apparent friend of June’s. She quickly figures out that the oldies mix June listened to as she killed herself was Jake’s creation and wonders if he holds the key to her death. Was it because their mother refused to let her attend college in California? Or did their parents’ divorce or her not-so-great- relationship with Harper push June to the edge? Harper and BFF Laney set off on a rambling road trip from Michigan to California in Jake’s van to drop June’s ashes in the Pacific rather than let her warring parents split them into two urns. Jake and Harper’s relationship heats up, and while her grief infuses the tale, it remains secondary to their growing infatuation. Jake’s connection with June remains a mystery, though his nifty music mixes provide clues to their past. Some sidelong references are oddly dated: which Olsen twin is in detox, for example. Still, Harper’s voice rings true, and readers looking for a mildly steamy romance (with more than a splash of alcohol, smoking and sex) won’t be disappointed. (Fiction. 13 & up)