Author: Hannah Harrington
Publication Date: November 29, 2011
Genre: Young Adult Realistic Fiction
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
Hannah Harrington’s debut novel is worthy of the buzz it’s receiving. Harper, the younger sister of the perfect June, is left behind when June does the unthinkable: suicide. Reeling from the emotional void and family agony, Harper does the unthinkable. Stealing June’s ashes, she makes a beeline for the coast, her best friend in tow, and a mysterious boy who knew June, to give her sister her much needed freedom, in California.
The novel is well written- dramatic and emotionally gripping as we go on this survivor’s adventure with Harper. The family’s grief is real, and Harper’s decision to bail at this time seems like a no brainer. She has been left to cope alone with an absentee father and a broken down mother. Harper suffers from the usual suspects; loss, rage, numbness, confusion, ache. She seems whole enough, but for some reason, I couldn’t connect with Harper. Her main goal is to get to the coast, and yet some of the detours the group took along the way seemed like filler.
Harper’s best friend Laney is everything a best friend should be- loyal, true and a little outrageous. But that doesn’t make her incredibly interesting. On the other hand is Jake, our mystery boy and he is fully formed. From his musical tastes to his hidden agenda, Jake is the character to read for. He’s complicated in so many ways, and isn’t the push over sweet guy or bad boy. He’s a mixture of both, interesting and tangible.
Characters aside, the novel goes along well. What really made this novel good for me were the chances we see Harper loosing her control. Her realizations, reality and her coping mechanisms said so much about her character, her state of mind, it drew me back to the story when I was losing interest.
By the end, the adventure was well worth it. It took me a lot longer to read this novel than others. I can’t say it was because of the subject matter (it’s not a book I looked forward to reading), because of the mood I was in or what. But once I was done, I was happy, tired and felt like I had just gone through an emotionally trying book. I wasn’t happy because it was over, but because Harrington took a sad story, and made it better.
Rating: 7, Pretty Cool, Would Recommend