Title: A Million Junes
Author: Emily Henry
Publishing Date: May 2017
Number of Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Romance
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.
*A huge thanks to Penguin Random House International for providing me an ARC. This, by any means, di not affect my review.*
You see, I’m posting this review weeks (almost a month) after reading this book because my thoughts and feelings are so messy I’m afraid I might just ruin this review. Trust me, I tried so hard to make this review as concise as possible but… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Cherries, waterfalls, puffballs, coyotes, wolves, hens, forests, ghosts. Man, how a book could make these words become meaningful and magical to me is beyond my comprehension.
A Million Junes is basically like a Shakespearean (it’s like a Romeo & Juliet retelling) with the twist of magical realism. If you are just into contemporaries and isn’t really a fan of anything magical, this might not be your cup of tea because of all the strange and magical things happening in this book.
Emily Henry has an incredible gift in writing and telling a strange, beautiful, intricate, whimsical tale. This certainly will not be my first and last read from her.
Jack “Junior/June” O’Donnell IV and Saul Angert, these two who came from rival families and both victims of the bad blood that’s been between them for centuries, I loved how we clearly saw their similarities and differences at the same time. Saul and June are both struggling to choose whether to believe and follow what their parents and the whole Five Fingers have always believed and thought about – that both families bring bad luck to each other, that an O’Donell and Angert cannot and should not ever be in one place, when an O’Donnell and Angert meet, unfortunate events will follow, that they are and will always be rivals no matter what. They also both lost someone in their lives – to which they are both connecting to their family feud – but what made them different from each other was that it made Saul have the desire to leave their town for good while it made June never want to leave her town.
I loved Saul and June as individual characters and as a pair. They have their own flaws, their own fears. But they have their own strengths as well. They can do and be great being separated and being together. I admire their qualities and how they and their relationship developed. More especially, I LOVED THEIR CHEMISTRY. They made me swoon and feel really delighted. I must say, I feel blessed to meet both June and Saul. I wish to have a love like theirs.
“Other houses have support beams and foundation. Ours has bones and a heartbeat.”
This book has an incredible world-building that sucked me right at the very start. It was set on this town in Michigan called Five Fingers where everything unusual always happen, where people love its stories and where the bad blood between the families of O’Donnell and Angert is as popular as any myth. I was impressed by how strong, how intricate it was and just how quickly it consumed me.
How well Emily Henry can play with one’s my emotions was also impressive. And probably one of the best things in this book. She can make her reader feel so high with happiness and then so low with sadness in just a snap. A Million Junes made me grin, giggle, laugh, blush, cry, sob and fantasize on repeat. I also loved all of the banters in this book and how Henry explored grief. That was one heck of a crazy beautiful ride.
I also loved how it shows different all forms of love. And how it gives value and importance to family and friendship. I am so fond of how deep family relations were in this book, more especially June and her dad’s love for each other. It’s one of the million things in this book that made me really emotional. It was so beautiful.
Putting the pieces of the Saul and O’Donnell families’ mystery together, where did the bad blood came from, who started it, why did they let the bad blood go on for centuries, what happened to their ancestors, what happened to June’s dad, what happened to Saul’s sister, why is the O’Donnell’s place so magical, was not quite easy and my most favorite part in this book. I loved and enjoyed being with June and Saul all throughout. I liked that even if I was already fed of too many information I still felt like they were not enough and they will never be. It made me crave and yearn for more information, clues and missing pieces of the puzzle.
How we were introduced to “thin places” and questions about this world and “the other side” were tried to answer is one of the things I will surely not forget. Before this, I never thought about such thing. A Million Junes made me really curious and intrigued that I even did my own research about thin places. And reading articles about it still give me the chills even weeks after finishing this book. It makes me feel like I am back on the world of A Million Junes again.
Among the many impressive things in this book, what impressed me the most was how Emily Henry balanced so many themes or topics. From grief to family to friendship to academics to bad blood to curses to forbidden love to magic to life and death, she gave these just equal importance and role in the story. It was well balanced. I was amazed by how beautiful they all became as a whole.
I can’t almost say anything negative about this book because I hardly saw any but if there are anything I can complain about, that would only be the few little questions and details that were left unanswered and not cleared to me – including about the Moments – that I badly want to personally ask the author about – but it doesn’t really affect the story – and the insta-crush but that’s just only because I don’t like this trope. But as the story went on, I began to realize that there’s no other better way to start Saul and June’s story other than that.
In the end, Emily Henry thought us to let go, to love and to forgive. She thought us to cherish the people that are still alive, the people that are still here with us. To let go of the grudge inside us. To move forward and to forgive those who did us harm. To be brave enough to let go of people we’ve lost. That past will always remain as past. All we have to do is to live the present and to move forward. That love is and will always be there because if it’s true, the heart will never forget. And that even death cannot change people’s love for each other.
A Million Junes is an imaginative, touching, intricate, beautiful, spellbinding, whimsical, delightful, heart melting and heart breaking novel of magical realism, family, love, friendship, grief and bad blood. One of my best reads of 2017, indeed. If you want to read a Romeo & Juliet-like story, a magical realism novel, a book with characters that are hard to be separated with, a book that will test your imagination, a book of overflowing emotions or all of the above then I highly recommend this one!
A million stars. A million praises. A million beautiful words for A Million Junes. I love A Million Junes, cherries, waterfalls and all.
I asked her once, when I was small, why she stopped. She’d just looked at me, smiled, and said, With your daddy, life is the dance.
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.
This is how grief works. It watches; it waits ; it hollows you out, again and again.
I could be better for you, Le. But I’m cursed. I’m destined to hurt you ever time we collide, and we’re gonna collide, because that’s destined too.
“I think once you’ve felt grief, it’s hard not to catch someone else’s. Especially when the person grieving is someone you love.”
“Hi, Jack,” he said to you, “I’m your father, and this is how much I love you. Enough to climb a mountain. Enough to catch a star. Enough to carry it home as it burns. Someday you’ll know what it’s like. Someday you’ll love something so much it turns every brown fish gold.”
“I promise you. I promise the stars. I promise the lake and falls, coy-wolves and robins. I promise earth and heaven: I will love you long after the last human has taken his last breath. When the stars burn out and the ocean freeze over and the whole world is ash and dust and ice, our names will still be carved into the tree of life, side by side, and I’ll still be loving you.”
He waves his free arm up in a slow arc across the sky. “You look for me there, baby,” he says. “I’ll look up. We’ll see the same stars.”
I was just a moment, and you made me forever.
Emily Henry is the author of The Love That Split the World. She is a full-time writer, proofreader, and donut connoisseur. She studied creative writing at Hope College and the New York Center for Art and Media Studies, and now spends most of her time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the part of Kentucky just beneath it.
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