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I loved this book, I find the contrast between the everyday reality and the magical imagery beautiful, it sees together to create a beautiful, dreamlike world. Bonus points for depicting independent female characters and strong female friendships.
This is the 2nd book of Emily Henry's that I've read. This story- A Million June's- was beautiful. It reminded me a little of Martina Boone's The Heirs of Watson Island trilogy. There is magic, a curse, a feud, a forbidden love in both these stories. A Million June's is compact and yet seems to have as much story as Martina Boone's trilogy. I will read them both again at some point. The magic of the Whites, the love story, the curse, the ghosts, all of it- sparkled- for me, this is the perfect word for it. Emily Henry sucked me in to a magical world that was also slap bang in the here and now and also- it seemed to me- made excellent use of the many worlds' theory to boot. I apologise for any bad grammer but please live and let live, thank you :-)
I was absolutely smitten with Emily Henry’s The Love That Split The World before I even read it. Similarly, I knew I had to read A Million Junes as soon as humanly possible, and pre-ordered it as soon as humanly possible. Henry has this amazing atmospheric storytelling vibe that dreamily whisks me away on a magical adventure anytime I open one of her books. I am so in love with her writing, it’s so fragile and beautiful and perfect, I sometimes can’t even put into words how it makes me feel.
A Million Junes was just as hypnotically magical. Henry works off a familiar Romeo + Juliet formula of vengeful and cursed families, mixing in a large does of magical realism that blends easily with the supernatural. This is a tricky combination, but Henry does it beautifully. This could have easily been filled with cliches and predictable moments, but she creates such interesting concepts and magical elements that nothing seems like it’s trying too hard.
Like her previous work, there was an incredibly strong female friendship here that didn’t once falter at the introduction of a boy in either of their lives, which I will endlessly applaud and love. Henry seems to put such an emphasis on strong female friendships and I really wish we saw more of that in mainstream entertainment.
I also couldn’t get enough of the chemistry between June and Saul. They shared a lot of similar feelings and upbringings and I felt they fit really well together. I felt that June really came into her own during their relationship and he was a vital part of her finding out the truth about her family and their tie to his. June was kind of hot and cold towards him sometimes, which I felt a little annoyed by – I know, I know, a curse, forbidden love, etc etc, but we all knew what was ultimately going to happen, the back and forth of should I, shouldn’t I was a waste of precious reading time.
I was a little confused about the inclusion of June’s writing teacher, though. I imagine she existed because June needed a push in another direction towards college and a life she didn’t really consider before, given her dreams of traveling like her father. But it seemed a little half-formed, we never find out if June actually goes to college, the teacher seemed to create more conflict than motivation or inspiration for her. I thought that if she were going to be a part of things, she’d at least have a larger role in a turning point for June, but other than showing her that she has some writing talent, which doesn’t really go anywhere in the book, I can’t see a good reason for her to exists.
This was really close to a perfect read for me, but I was sadly underwhelmed by the ending. The story built so much up on grief and loss and love and June was absolutely obsessed with walking in her dad’s footsteps and never letting him go. When everything came together in the end and the true realities of the depths of the grief and pain in these families came to full light, I don’t know, I was kind of disappointed with how it was all revealed. It seemed repetitive and a little preachy to me. The messaging was strong, but I almost felt it was too strong and kept drilling into me the need to let go and move on and while it was beautifully written and you felt the strong emotional bond between June and her father in full fruition, I just wasn’t 100% swept away by the whole thing. It’s possible that I’ve been lucky enough not to have experienced a similar kind of grief yet in my life and thus, didn’t fully relate to these deep and very powerful emotions, but like I said, I felt underwhelmed. Minor detail though, as every other single page up until that point had me pouring over them and chasing after June and Saul as they skipped through the memories of their past.
There are a handful of authors who tend to take me to a completely different realm anytime I read their work and Henry is very easily on that list. She truly is an incredible storyteller and I will drop everything to read her beautiful, creative, magical stories.
this book was special. it felt like reading a tiny part of the universe, drinking warm hot chocolate, being hugged, running under the rain, and sobbing uncontrollably. all of this at once. it was incredible.
Families feuding, paranormal occurrences and magical realism all set in a Michigan small town made this one of my two best reads of 2018.
18 year old (June, Junie, Junior) Jack O’Donnell IV is given only two rules 1. Never go near an Angert and 2. Never swim at the falls. Of course she breaks them. She’s 18. She is also, funny, smart, sarcastic and pitch perfect as the narrator.
Saul Angert, 20, just got back to town and no one knows why he returned. The first night both he and June are at the carnival in the House Of Mirrors and they literally collide. June accidently bites the back of his neck on the way down swearing that she cannot be getting a crush on Saul Angert.
For four feuding generations, the entire town including the O’Donnell’s and Angert’s have been repeating the same “tall tale” . A nonsense story that not only caused the two families to hate each other but also placed a curse on them. They will tell you the problem was about magical healing cherry trees, land, greed and debts. Then there are a few adult voices in both families that speak only in hushes and whispers with the certainty of the “real” story. No matter how sincere her mother, June knows that story is neither complete nor true. She presses on with Saul risking the ire and disappointment of her family to find that truth. She is desperate to understand why her father died so suddenly and relatively young.
A story that has all of the elements of a great love story between June O’Donnell and Saul Angert, at it’s core is a story of family, grief, loss and how it can twist you or how you begin to accept and keep going, the promise of hope.
I loved the way “the thin places” are used. “Thin places” are indeed an ancient Celtic concept as the book states. Places where we can slip between our world and the Otherworld. In this case, for June and Saul to discover what really happened to the people they lost and about family members lost in past generations. Most important they learn the root of the families hatred and curse. If they so choose, they can let it go...
The magic doesn’t stop for a moment.
I really hope you read this one and get the Audible as well. It is one of the hidden gems that has not gotten the recognition it deserves.
The only way I can describe this is book is as an equally weird and beautiful love story. I think that the plot was well developed and intriguing but a little slow from time to time. The book is centered on the romantic relationship between June and Saul, but a prominent theme is how different people process grief, which I think was interesting. Regarding the characters, I have to say that the characters were so well written that I thought of them as real people as I was reading. Although I liked this book a lot, I do not believe it is for everyone because of its magical realism. However, I would encourage people to give it a try.
This was my first YA Emily Henry novel, as well as my first dive into her magical realism. And I loved it. This incredible author has made her way to my top favorites of all time.
I loved everything from the beautiful and captivating writing to the intricate characters and their growth throughout the story. This book is made amazing by incorporating all the different elements that make a story shine - a unique plot, authentic and emotional characters, enchanting writing - and wrapping them in a bubble of heavy emotions.
I felt the grief and fascination in every page, sticking out from the magic that drives the story forward. The oddities present in June’s life are accepted to make way for the intense emotions that she feels and end up revealing the most important secrets in her past. Unsurprisingly with an Emily Henry, emotions bubbled up in me and rose to the surface, making me connect with the story on such a level I couldn’t think about anything else.
The suffering that drives the characters are what makes them captivating and easy to empathize with. They transform their pain and wishes into raw drives that move their stories forward. They also connect with each other in a very human way, portraying different types of relationships without leaving a stone unturned. While the mystery of the plot is very interesting, it’s them who compel it forward.
There’s nothing that I love more about Emily Henry than her writing and how she portrays fundamental and simple moments to make them seem the most extraordinary happenings, every single time. She is my biggest inspiration when it comes to stringing words together and I’m so grateful I get to read her thoughts transformed into ink on paper.
I know some reviewers have great flowery words to relay what they thought about a book, but the word that keeps coming out of my mouth as I finish holding a wet soggy tissue is WOW!!! This books has it all- Great characters, creative story line, questions begging to be answered and a love story. I highly recommend this as a must read.