Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Blog tour Saving June review & guest blog post by Hannah Harrington (Young Adult)

1st June 2012, Mira Ink
336 pages, Paperback
Review copy

Themes: suicide, grief and all its confusing emotions, holding everything inside, rebellion, denial, anger, road trip, concerts, crazy times, super best friend, alcoholism, teen romance, adult relations, a few swear words, lots of laughter & sadness.

Summary from the publicity information I receivd

When Harper Scott’s sister June tragically commits suicide just before her high school graduation, Harper is left devastated and confused.  To make the situation even more unbearable, her parents, in the midst of an ugly divorce, decide to split June’s ashes.  In the aftermath of the tragedy, Harper finds two clues that can help her understand her sister’s state of mind before she died, a post card of California and a mysterious mix CD with a truly eclectic track list.

Enter the mix CD’s creator; Jake Tolan, a boy with a bad attitude, a passion for music verging on obsession and a van that can take Harper all the way to California. After realising that June had always wanted to live in California and before she can stop herself, Harper steals June's ashes with the idea of scattering them in California's Pacific Ocean.

So begins a journey of musical education and self-discovery, as Jake, Harper and her best friend Laney set out on the road trip of a lifetime across America.  As the miles clock up, the attraction between Harper and Jake grows as together they try to figure out June's secrets. As their road trip sees them stopping at classic American diners, sleeping out under the Arizona stars, joining an anti-war protest, becoming groupies at a punk rock concert and chilling on the pacific coast, Saving June charts the emotional journey of three teenagers as they cross the country and find themselves.
Nayuleska's thoughts
I come away from finishing this book with tears in my eyes. June isn't the one who needs saving. Harper is given the chance to find herself, and she embraces it. Laney's antics keeps them all on the border of sanity - what they get up to is crazy and the total opposite of me which is probably why I'm so fascinated by their carefree attitude. There could have been a bit more of a delve into Jake's past, rather than having it appear nearer the end which is the only reason this gets 9/10.

Suggested reading
For another grief-stricken, teen check out Kate's story in Jo Cotterill's Sweet Hearts: Forget-Me-Not

As part of the blog tour, Hannah has kindly answered a few questions with an insight into both herself and the book. I'd like to thank Hannah for writing such an emotive book and for sharing her thinking behind it too. 

1) Is there a reason for choosing Laney rather than Harper as the crazy, taking risks character? 
Harper being very inward and closed off was a big part of her character, and I thought having Laney as the more adventurous one was a good way to help draw Harper out of her own shell as the story progresses. Laney’s “wilder side” ends up leading Harper into doing things and meeting people she normally wouldn’t.

2) Have you been to all the places the trio end up visiting?

Not all of them! I’ve been to Chicago a few times, and it’s one of my favorite cities. I’ve also done a similar drive up the California coast that the trio does. It’s a very beautiful drive.

3) There's heaps of sentiment throughout the book - was it an emotionally tough novel to write?

The hardest part was trying to maintain the undercurrent of grief and sadness without, and doing that without overdoing it. I think it would’ve lost its impact if Harper was having a meltdown every third page. By pulling back a lot of the time, it actually made getting to write those moments where Harper’s walls come down and she’s very emotionally honest to be exciting and cathartic rather than painful.

4) I really liked how responsible Laney can be, in making Harper phone home so her parents could be reassured of her safety. This is a contrast to some of Laney's escapades. Was this planned or did it occur naturally?

I think Laney being so quick to agree to the plan in the first place really came from her realizing Harper would go ahead and do it with or without Laney’s help, and she wanted to make sure her friend would be okay throughout it all. I also think Laney is someone who perhaps lacks some sense of self-preservation, but when it comes to Harper, she’s always looking out for her in every way.

5) What's your favourite snack and drink for when you're writing?

Water and trail mix!


M said...

I enjoyed Saving June and it's interesting to hear more about the author. For me, I think Hannah definitely succeeded in not overdoing the grief.

Nayuleska said...

M - I loving knowing that another person enjoyed it :)