Monday, January 7, 2013

Review: Saving June

Saving June
Saving June by Hannah Harrington

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I'm in a perfect state for teary-sad stories. I've been under the weather for a few days, but today was the 'stay in bed all day' kind of day. So I have had this book waiting for a while for me to read it, and I though, hey isn't this the right mindset for a story of a girl whose sister commits suicide? Ugh, I was wrong.

First, let me tell you why this book didn't click with me. Sorry, maybe I should use another expression, why we're not compatible: Harper, our main character, whose sister kills herself feels like the voice of an empty wine glass. I was expecting deeper thoughts, much more emotional layers and real-life dilemmas. But I ended up just staring and wishing all this beautifully described container was full.

This book is about a road trip to California; where Harper wishes to scatter her sister's ashes. Her travel companions are the ever-mysterious Jake, whose love of music makes a big chunk of this book; and Harper's best friend happy go lucky, Laney. The trip is fun! It was perhaps one of the reasons I ended up finishing the book. However, as a whole, I was disappointed because of how obvious and unsurprising was the plot. It ends exactly as you can imagine. I wasn't sure I was able to get the teary-mushy connection I was expecting.

The hard fact, the protest issues perhaps touched me closer than I thought and it opened the can of worms that really bugged me from this book: all the stereotypes around people. There are many examples, for starters who is considered normal/not normal: June the smart homecoming queen with beautiful soft hair/ Harper the rebel, angry teen with eyeliner and black nail polish. The Christian aunt, the ever supporting best friend Laney, Jake's friends, the ones who they meet first who are actively attending protests...And this was the final drop for me! Not everyone who has a disagreement with mainstream social status quo has to be an artsy-vegan-pothead. As a social scientist perhaps I feel too critical of how our society tends to categorise people who think and act different. And it is a bit scary to keep on seeing all these stereotypes being represented over and over in all sorts of media... So yeah, maybe I didn't drink the right Kool-aid, so I'm picky.

In general, if you want a deep emotional adventure that gives you a few tears, well, chose a different book. But if you want to read a troubled theme through a very light lenses, this is the right book for you!

Again, perhaps this whole rant about the book responds to my state of mind, or that seriously, maybe, perhaps this was a totally YA novel and I expected it to be a bit more mature because of its actual theme, so be forewarned :-)
This book was kindly provided to me by Harlequin through Netgally.

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