by Hannah Harrington
Published November 22nd 2011
WOW This book blew me away. I have been digesting it for two weeks trying to decide how to review it. Every time I think about it again I honestly get all teary eyed. First I want to explain why I usually always read paranormal books. I try a little of everything but I have never been a fan of realistic fiction because I honestly never find it realistic. I always think this is so fake and they might as well throw in a vampire to make it fun and then I won't worry that it sounds fake. So when I read this and completely connected to and understood the main character I was surprised. Harper was so much like me which is always amazing to find in a book.
This book dealt with death in such an honest and relatable way to me. Whether you have lost someone as close to you as a sister or not, most of us have lost someone or have a friend that has lost someone. Harper lost her sister. With no previous signs of depression, her sister took her own life and Harper was the one to find her. Harper is left trying to take care of her mother while still holding herself together. Also having a nosy and obtrusive aunt trying to tell her how to deal with her loss and trying to make her attend church. Harper is not religious and this does not help her with the loss. Everyone deals with loss in a different way but forcing what worked for her aunt on her was not helpful. She has a caring best friend, Laney but you can only stand to hear "Are you okay?" so many times. Of course she is not okay and never will be again.
Then she meets Jake Tolan. A secret friend of June's that seems to hate her. He over hears her plans to take June's ashes to California and he wants to come. Since Harper needs a car she agrees. June always dreamed of California and Harper feels this will grant one of June's greatest wishes. Harper is very curious to know what Jake and June's relationship was like. Laney tags along for the journey and they sneak off stealing June's urn.
Harper thinks Jake is infuriating but he seems to be exactly what she needs. He is understanding and she is beginning to see a softer side to him as they travel. They play road games and he helps her when she has had too much to drink. The pain of her loss continues to hit her and Jake is there for her. He is helpful and sweet when Laney faces some devastating news as well. She can't help but begin to think about what it would be like to kiss him. Jake is definitely a deep character that I slowly began to understand and love.
Laney is trying her best to help Harper but sometimes Harper lashes out. It is understandable. There is no right thing to say when someone close to you loses someone. You just have to be there and Laney is there every step of the way to be what Harper needs. She wants Harper to be okay but it will take time. I could relate to Laney's struggle to say the right thing and to deal with a friends loss along with what the loss means to you and also have to continue to deal with your own life and problems. It is an overwhelming struggle.
Jake has a few secrets. When they come out Harper is devastated but she realizes in life there will always be pain. There will always be mistakes and risks but she wants to live. She wants to feel it all. She will never be the same but she will continue to live. June's choice changed her forever but she will try to understand it and remember her. Such an emotional and beautiful story. I really understood Harper and her journey through her loss. I felt like she went through everything I went through when I loss someone. The difficulties Laney felt trying to say the right thing to Harper was also something I understood when a close friend loss someone. I highly recommend it but have the tissues handy. I cried just writing this review!
"It feels weird, being out in the real world again. Around people just living their lives like normal. Their presence is oppressive. The very fact that the world is going on as usual, like nothing ever happened, makes me want to scream."
"Tying me to the world. It hurts, but it's supposed to, because that's what it means to be alive."
"He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that's what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you."
"Look, it’s not ever going to stop hurting. That’s the reality. But after a while, it’ll get…easier. You’ll get used to living with it."
Rating: 5/5 Carnations for June!