Synopsis from Goodreads.
Harper Scott, trying to come to terms with her perfect older sister June’s suicide, takes a road trip and finds love with a mysterious boy who had a connection to June– and may know more about her sister’s life and death than he’s telling.
Initial Final Page Thoughts.
……OK, that ending? Is it possible to die of cringe? BUT…. The rest was fantastic.
MUSIC. Seriously. SERIOUSLY. The music that is mentioned in this book is the soundtrack to my life. Seriously. Pretty much every single one of my favourite songs is mentioned in this book. If you cut open my soul these songs are what you’d…. OK. You get it..
If only there was a way of making a list of all these songs so I could make the most amazing playlist.
Ms Harrington has done that for us and included the track listing at the back of the book (How cute is that?). Harper. Laney. Road trips. California Dreamin’. James Dean. Sexy time (Real business time, guys *wolf whistles* I was beginning to think teenagers in YA books were just fine with canoodling.) The morning after. Teenage anarchy. Mosh pits. Boys with dreadlocks. Singing Don McLean on the beach. The realistic portrayal of the ones left behind.
There is just something about a boy serenading me that makes my skin crawl. I know it’s romantic and swoony to
normal most girls. But it just makes me feel so uncomfortable that I would probably punch them in the stomach in order to make them stop.
Gosh, I really hope you can’t get exposed to second hand smoke through a book. Because if you can, I am screwed. The amount of cigarettes that are mentioned in this book makes me feel like I had smoked about 50 packets by the time I had finished.
Every single problem a teenager could go through is covered in this book and it often got a bit overwhelming… I would have loved it if Ms Harrington would have just focus on a few.
I liked Harper. Not loved… just liked. (Loved her name though). Harper is understandably angry and confused and upset after her sister, June, killed herself. She smoked. She drank. She ran away. She didn’t want to deal with her problems. She alienates herself. She’s a bit of a train wreck and she doesn’t let people in.
But she’s also funny, sweet, a great friend and a certain likeability that made me forgive her faults easier than I would other heroines. I just wanted to sit down in an American diner somewhere and eat Mississippi Mud Pie and drink milkshakes and listen to her
being forced to talk about her problems. And then give her a cuddle.
I loved the friendship between Laney and Harper, it seemed so realistic and honest (so many friendships in books are based on angst and jealousy so it was refreshing to read about a friendship that was…well, based on friendship).
But jeesh… Laney got a rough deal in this book. Poor lamb.
Oh Jake. Jakey Jake Jake. After some serious deliberation, I have decided my love for you is strictly platonic. I thought I’d be in full on love mode but there was something missing (probably those four years between our ages…. And um, you being fictional and all. Silly little things, you know?) that prevented me from declaring my undying love for you.
But anyway, I’ve decided I’m not going to fight with Harper over you. She has a lot on her plate and I think a love rival would just be one too many things.
However, I would like you to make me mix tapes (and discuss how annoying it is when the cool kids “never stop verbally fellating the Smiths”) and delicious French toast, because I’ve never had it but anything to do with maple syrup and bread sounds like something I would absolutely
inhale eat in a ladylike fashion.
So, even though there were quite a few times that I had no idea why you and Harper were so sporadically angsty at each other, I really liked you and you were very sweet/cute/swoony. And you had messy hair which I think is a requirement now for YA love interests.
But yeah… back to this French toast….
I could have chosen about a million songs for this book because like I’ve mentioned about a gabillion times every song mentioned is
all about me brilliant, so to narrow it down to just one was truly difficult.
BUT… I did it.
The Kinks are one of my favourite bands. This song is one of my favourite songs of all time. This song features in one of my favourite films.
(And not just because Mr Brody is permanently in his undies
with his long limby limbs, not that that hinders my love. Always helps. ALWAYS. )
“Leave the sun behind me
And watch the clouds as they sadly pass me by
And I’m in perpetual motion
And the world below doesn’t matter much to me”
One day I’m going to go on a road trip across America with this blasting out.
8/10. I can imagine it being immensely difficult to write a book about teenage suicide as there are a lot of complicated and difficult emotions that come hand in hand, especially with the people who are left behind. I think Harrington did a stellar job at conveying these emotions (especially with Harper’s mother) and I really respect that she went down the reality route and creating a risky character like Harper, who won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, rather than to opt out and write a book that is ‘safe’ but misses the point completely.
Like I mentioned earlier, I think this book would have been a lot more effective if Harrington had focussed on only a few issues. Almost every character has problems that are so huge that they could have a book of their own and I couldn’t help but feel that this kind of took something away from the main issues.
Music lovers. People who don’t mind difficult subject matters. People who have always wanted to go skinny dipping with people they have met for five minutes. People who like road trips. People who like to attend protests. People who like tequila. People who find it endearing when their crush voms all over their shoes. People who would quite happy getting their rocks off to the soothing tones of Jim Morrison. People who like to shake it like a polaroid picture… and take pictures with a polaroid camera. People who wouldn’t want to die if they had a song written about them. People who think that Monaco is an island (SPOILER: It’s not…well, OK it is.. you know.. if you ignore that little country… what’s it called again? Oh yeah. FRANCE).