Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Crown Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review (and trust me, honest is always what you’ll get).
Review: Heart-wrenching, lovely and hopeful – that’s what June is. It’s a lot more than that really, but I’m struggling to put in to words how I feel about this book.
It was beautifully written, which is no less than what I would expect from Miranda Beverly-Whittemore given my experience with Bittersweet. But this time, the characters felt more complete, more real. And the story was so intricate, it was impossible not to get completely sucked in. There were several secret loves, a lot of mystery, epic friendships, and also an intriguing look back on how things were 60 or so years ago, particularly for women, and for those who didn’t fit into the category of “normal”. In many ways, it touches on several current issues – societies expectations of women, depression, LGBTQA (to name a few) – but without standing on a soapbox (not that I don’t love a good soapbox!). In other words, these issues are part of the story, but they are NOT the story. And as the story jumps back and forth between 1955 and today, we see that these issues have been relevant (frustratingly so) for way too long.
The story, in a lot of ways, is about finding family where you least expect it. It’s about realizing that those who love us share with us only what they want to, that they often have other lives – past or present – that we know next to nothing about. It’s about the idea that we can bear more than we realize, and that sometimes giving up our dreams isn’t really “giving up”, but with the right mindset can just be a delay or reshaping of those dreams. That if something is meant to be, with time, we can make it so. In the meantime, we can and should live the best most fulfilling life available to us at the time. And it’s so hopeful and forgiving and accepting.
I spent a fair amount of time crying or fighting back tears in the last 100 or so pages. June really got me in the feels. ALL the feels. I was mad and confused and frustrated and infuriated and happy and sad and touched. It was really, really fantastic.
As I said, I really liked Bittersweet, but I adored June. Definitely keeping an eye out for all Beverly-Whittemore’s future work. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.