Release Date: June 1 2012
Age Range: Young Adult
Harper’s sister June has died. Harper was the one who found her in the back of the car with an empty bottle of pilss, the engine still running. June was the perfect girl, sister and daugher who everyone loved, why did she committed suicide? Harper and her divorced parents are devastated. Harper feels like she has to fill her sister’s empty place now , and finds it hard to express her emotions.
Then her divorved parents decided to split June’s ashes into two urns. Before it comes this far, Harper decides to take the road and make her sister’s last wish come true; to scatter her sister’s ashes in California and give her the farewell she wanted. Harper’s best friend Laney will accompany her on the road to California, and Jake, a guy who knew June really really well is joining in too. During this Californian road trip, they find out more about June and themselves.
Somehow this book didn’t do it for me. The start-up was good: June was just found, and the tension in the family was well brought over by the author. And also the grief, anxiety and teenage drama was worked out well. But after Harper closes the car door and drives off to California with Jake and Laney, the plot drives off to nowhere. From then on its mostly an uninteresting dialogue between the three characters, talking about June and music. I really would have liked it more if there had been some more unexpected adventures down the road. The romance between Harper and Jake started good, but as I had at many points during this book: I had the feeling like I have read it many times before in another ‘dead sister’’ novel. Tough the book has some interesting playlist that accompany the story.
Q&A with Hannah Harrington
I first had the idea for Saving June while I was in high school. When I was seventeen, I'd lost a relative of mine to suicide and the "splitting the ashes" thing was something that actually happened. The summer after I graduated, I was living out of my car and working as a pizza cook. The radio would always be on in the kitchen, so I was spending a lot of time listening to music and kicking the idea around in my head. A few years later I found some of the bits and pieces I'd written back then, and decided to sit down and write out a full first draft. So some of it comes from my personal experiences, and of course some of it is inspired by music I love. It all ended up tying together!
What were the challenges (literary, research, psychological, and logistical) in bringing the book to life?- Saving June wasn’t a book that required too much research. The most I did had to do with figuring out which route they would take from Michigan to California, and how long it would take to get from one stop to the next. I knew it would be dealing with a few sensitive topics—suicide, religion, sex—so I did try to be careful in how I portrayed all of those in the story. I wanted to make sure they were presented honestly, but also responsibly. That was probably the biggest challenge in writing this story. I hope I succeeded!
What was the timeline from spark to publication, and what were the significant highlights along the way?
I had the idea for Saving June when I was still in high school, but I didn’t sit down to write it until a few years later. When I did, it took me about three months to write a first draft, and about two months later I started querying agents. I signed with my agent about a month or so into the querying process, and we sold the book three months later, right after my twenty-second birthday. So from writing the book to selling it to Harlequin Teen, that was about eleven months. There were a lot of exciting “milestones” along the way. Finishing a first draft was pretty exciting, since it was the first novel I’d ever written. Signing with my agent, selling the book, seeing the cover for the first time, getting my first bound ARC, and seeing it in a bookstore—those were all very memorable highlights.
What did you read as a teen, which authors inspired you the most? And which are your favourite books and authors now?
I read a lot of books as a teenager, including a lot of young adult literature. I was really inspired by contemporary young adult authors like Sarah Dessen, Rachel Cohn, David Levithan, and John Green. Their stories really spoke to me. Nowadays I still read a lot of young adult fiction, but I also am a fan of Margaret Atwood, David Sedaris, Fran Lebowitz, and Jonathon Safran Foer.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m probably catching up on my DVR, playing guitar, entertaining my pets, or sleeping. It’s quite an exciting life I lead!