A Million Junes
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.
Published: May 16th 2017
“There are always at least two versions of everything, June. I’ve forgotten my own because I loved your daddy’s so much.”
Heads up, not only did I got into this so completely blind, I was not expecting to cry twice? Honestly, this book is a gem and dear to my heart… Let’s hope this review isn’t a hot mess.
We’re on a journey to discover how this family feud happened and what happened to June’s father through ghostly flashbacks and her father’s letters was so haunting and beautiful. Not everything is as it seems, we get a different outlook on the two families hatred of each other, of her father who ran from his past, on her mother who had to give up her dreams.
“When people pity you, it’s like they don’t realize that the exact same thing is coming for them. And then I feel embarrassed and uncomfortable and have to pity them, because, like, do you not realize that it’s always someone’s turn? You haven’t noticed everyone gets a few blows that seem so big you can’t survive them?”
The setting was just so atmospheric and stifling at the same time, though in a good way. Magical realism is my jam and Henry’s prose is gorgeous. There’s ghost and wolves that steal your shoes if you leave them out. There’s grief and a family rivalry. And I think the small town adds to the main character and how she’s dealing with the death of her father.
One thing that was unexpected was the portrayal of June’s stepfather and how he affects their lives; I really appreciated it. Her siblings weren’t around long enough to have a connection as deep as June had and the fact that he wasn’t made out as a villain and cared a lot for her father as a friend added depth to the family unit as a whole.
“Grief is an unfillable hole in your body. It should be weightless, but it’s heavy. Should be cold, but it burns. Should, over time, close up, but instead it deepens.”
And as for June, she was great. She was witty and strong. She had sarcasm and was blunt with her words. She went through grief without isolating herself. She had her family. She had her best friend, Hannah who was solid and supportive.
Very biased opinion, but Henry writes some of the best friendship. June and Hannah were perfect in all of their imperfect ways. They’re going through the pains of going separate ways and the determination to always be there for the other broke my damn heart.
“… I see you, June O’Donnell, and I can’t unsee you.”
And she had Saul, who was going through his own grief and related to her on their own level.
Now, Romeo and Juliet isn’t very well liked over here. If I’m honest, the story bugs me to the tenth degree, so you probably see my apprehension of this romance from a mile away. But I loved the relationship between June and Saul. It was soft and full of understanding and banter. And it wasn’t a huge part of the story; it was just the right amount to be sweet.
“Letting go is not forgetting. It’s opening your eyes to the good that grew from the bad, the life that blooms from decay.”
Yet this story is about grief and reconciling with the past. About changing your perspective, on seeing all sides of a story.
And while the ending is left kind of open and far as a resolution, it was perfect. The end letter from her dad made me cry my eyes out— it shows that there’s still time to heal and endless possibilities for the future.