Title: A Million Junes
Author: Emily Henry
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Blurb: In their hometown of Five Fingers, Michigan, the O’Donnells and the Angerts 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, except to say it began with a cherry tree.
Eighteen-year-old Jack “June” O’Donnell doesn’t need a better reason than that. She’s an O’Donnell to her core, just like her late father was, and O’Donnells stay away from Angerts. Period.
But when Saul Angert, the son of June’s father’s mortal enemy, returns to town after three mysterious years away, June can’t seem to avoid him. Soon the unthinkable happens: She finds she doesn’t exactly hate the gruff, sarcastic boy she was born to loathe.
Saul’s arrival sparks a chain reaction, and as the magic, ghosts, and coywolves of Five Fingers conspire to reveal the truth about the dark moment that started the feud, 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 of the O’Donnells before her—to let go.
This is the first book I’ve ever read from the First To Read program. If you’re a blogger, you should check it out! Anyhow, anytime I get a book that I am pretty much ‘required’ to review, I get nervous. What if I don’t like it? What if it’s so bad I don’t want to finish it? I pretty much enjoy being in a non-committed relationship with books; reading what I want and specifically NOT reading when I don’t want. So I was a little apprehensive when I downloaded this book and started it. Let me just say, my fears were 120% unfounded, from the very beginning I was absorbed into this book.
What I Loved: A Million Junes is one of those books that in its own way, unfolds in multiple timelines while maintaining a consistent current timeline. It’s different than other books like it, because even on those multiple timelines, the time period can be pretty fluid. You jump in and out of the story at a variety of points. I’m hoping this isn’t considered a ‘spoiler’ because I wanted to bring it up to point out that there was not one point throughout this story where I was confused. I find this pretty much amazing!
There is so much to really enjoy about this book, the friendship between June and her best friend Hannah for starters. Their friendship seemed so real, and exactly how you would expect a senior in high school friendship to be. It wasn’t too over-the-top teenagery, but they also behaved in a way that seemed appropriate for their age. Again, I think that this is something that many authors struggle with, the characters tend to end up feeling too over the top in the rebellious teenage direction or way too mature for their age.
I enjoyed June and Saul’s relationship – the way it unfolded naturally, it wasn’t all heat and passion, but a slow moving thing that they felt around and pushed, pulled and formed it into something real. It was perfect, specifically because of its forbidden element. The blurb sort of compares it to Romeo and Juliet, but it’s not a retelling at all. I loved that do not rush headlong into something, but really take time to evaluate each other and make the best decisions they can on their own.
So while all of those things are good, the best part of this book is the mystery, the curse, and the unwinding of information. The flow of the words coming off the pages is intoxicating in itself. This was a most excellently written piece of art!
Not So Much: Some of the minor characters – specifically the creative writing teacher – and their motives I didn’t quite get, honestly. I can understand, I suppose, needing another antithesis/pushing point, but at the same time I think that goal could easily have been accomplished without the additional character, or attempting to play up her importance. She was a bit oxymoron-ish as a character as well, she seemed to serve a dual – almost conflicting – purpose in my opinion. Anyhow, this is about the only kind of/sort of not wonderful thing I can say about this book. I’d say that’s pretty good!
The Verdict: I am in love with this book. It was fantastic…if you couldn’t tell that’s what I thought already. It’s a YA, very clean and tidy, and yet, nothing more was needed to make it…more. If you like a lyrical style of writing, and settings that are kind of blurry in nature, very fluid and changing – this book is definitely for you, and if you don’t, I still implore you to give it a chance!
**This book was an Advanced Reader Copy from FirstToRead.com; other than the joy of reading – I was granted no compensation to review this book.**