Friday, July 7, 2017

Book Review: A Million Junes by Emily Henry

Media Type: Audio Book
Title: A Million Junes
Author: Emily Henry
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: Hardcover; 350
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Source: Library Borrow
Content Screening: Nothing of note

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who love YA, adore magical realism, and just want to get lost.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
For as long as Jack “June” O’Donnell has been alive, her parents have had only one rule: stay away from the Angert family. But when June collides—quite literally—with Saul Angert, sparks fly, and everything June has known is thrown into chaos.

Who exactly is this gruff, sarcastic, but seemingly harmless boy who has returned to their hometown of Five Fingers, Michigan, after three mysterious years away? And why has June—an O’Donnell to her core—never questioned her late father’s deep hatred of the Angert family? After all, the O’Donnells and the Angerts may have mythic legacies, but for all the tall tales they weave, both founding families are tight-lipped about what caused the century-old rift between them.

As Saul and June’s connection grows deeper, they find that the magic, ghosts, and coywolves of Five Fingers seem to be conspiring to reveal the truth about the harrowing curse that has plagued their bloodlines for generations. Now June must question everything she knows about her family and the father she adored, and she must decide whether it’s finally time for her—and all the O’Donnells before her—to let go.

Someone pinch me, please, because I honestly don't believe this book is real. Full disclosure, I started reading A Million Junes with the thought that it was yet another contemporary novel. I was worried about "bad boy" Saul, as he was touted in the first part of this story, and certain that this would turn into the type of book where a wonderful female character would turn into a simpering mess at the hands of a boy. Oh, was I wrong. I'm pleased as punch to let you all know that this book shattered all misconceptions I had, and left me completely speechless. Emily Henry can write magical realism, oh yes she can. I'm in love with this book, and I don't care who knows it.

First off, let's talk about the characters. I love flawed characters. Girls like June, who feel realistic in all the things that they do and say, make my heart soar. June isn't even attempting to pretend that she's perfect. She doesn't love school, or get amazing grades. She's not the edgy outcast who stands out without trying to. June is about as normal a high school kid as you can get. For that alone, she had my heart. Then, I started to find out about her past. About her loss, and the weight of it heaped on her shoulders. I met her best friend, and fell in love with their dynamic. Then, we both met Saul and time just stopped. For all my snap judgments about him, I am so sorry. Saul is not a cliche. He's just as real as June, and the two of them together had the power to completely enthrall me.

Better still, is the fact that this book doesn't skirt around any of the realistic aspects of what June is dealing with. Her family as it was now, her family as it was then, the perfectly imperfect way that her father met her mother. The way that June will be going through the day completely fine, and then be hit by a sudden onslaught of feeling and reminder that her father is still dead. It's never easy to read a book that deals with the death of loved ones, but A Million Junes turns this into something that is relateable and real. My favorite quote was one that was traded between June and Saul during their painful memories of their lost loved ones: "I'm useless, but I'm here." 

I could gush on, endlessly, about the beauty between these pages. This book rushed on, pulling me into the magical world that only June and Saul had access to. It touched on the importance of family, of loving yourself, of finding someone who you can just be you with, and so much more. It made me smile, it made me cry, and it made me feel like I was more myself than I had been in a while. A Million Junes was a book that I wasn't expecting to love so much, but it snuck up on me. I'm so glad it did. This is so very worth your time.


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