Romeo and Juliet meets One Hundred Years of Solitude in Emily Henry's brilliant follow-up to The Love That Split the World, about the daughter and son of two long-feuding families who fall in love while trying to uncover the truth about the strange magic and harrowing curse that has plagued their bloodlines for generations. In their hometown of Five Fingers, Michigan, the O'Donnells and the Angerts 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, except to say it began with a cherry tree. Eighteen-year-old Jack “June” O’Donnell doesn't need a better reason than that. She's an O'Donnell to her core, just like her late father was, and O'Donnells stay away from Angerts. Period. But when Saul Angert, the son of June's father's mortal enemy, returns to town after three mysterious years away, June can't seem to avoid him. Soon the unthinkable happens: She finds she doesn't exactly hate the gruff, sarcastic boy she was born to loathe. Saul’s arrival sparks a chain reaction, and as the magic, ghosts, and coywolves of Five Fingers conspire to reveal the truth about the dark moment that started the feud, 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 of the O'Donnells before her—to let go.
Audible Audio, Unabridged
Published May 16th 2017 by Listening Library
Four and a half stars: A star crossed lovers story with a touch of magical realism and achingly beautiful writing.
June O’ Donnell has spent the last eighteen years of her life listening to how she must hate the Angerts. The Angerts are her family’s sworn enemies, and nothing good will happen when an Angert and O’Donnell meet. The feud has lasted a century, and June has no intention of ending it, that is until she runs into twenty three year old, Saul Engert, who has just arrived back in town. When June bumps into Saul, sparks fly. Soon June finds that she doesn’t hate, Saul, and in fact, she might kind of like him, but the curse that haunts their families makes both Saul and June fear that if they continue spending time together, devastating consequences might follow, or perhaps it is time to end the cycle of bitter loss, hate and broken families. Can June and Saul fix the future?
What I Liked:
- A Million Junes is an extraordinary book. This is a story that blends magical realism with the most gorgeous writing, that will leave you hungering for more. However, be warned this isn’t a book for everyone. It is for dreamers, believers in magic, those who are patient and not afraid to take a chance. I would say, jump in and read it for the writing. It is breathtaking.
- I am a sucker for magical realism, and this one has plenty of magic. It is hard to describe, but I will try. It features shoe stealing wolves, ghosts, both friendly and diabolical, magic cherry trees, a haunted house, and a girl whose family believes in magic. If you aren’t willing to suspend your beliefs and take flight in magic and whimsy, don’t read this one.
- I adored both June and Saul. Both of them are broken and damaged, still trying to breath after heart breaking losses. Even though they are drowning in grief, and perpetually lost, they are willing to grab a hold and take a chance at life and love. I loved their humor, their hearts, their perseverance and their ability to accept the impossible
- I appreciated the strong focus on family and friendship in this book. June’s father hung the moon and the stars for her, until one day his light blinked out. Since then, June has relied on the strong bonds of her family and her best friend, Hannah. I loved that June’s mother, stepfather, brothers and best friend were an integral part of the story, and that June relied firmly on all of them.
- This is a difficult book to review because the story is all topsy turvy and complicated. It moves around in time with lots of strange flashbacks. There are ghosts, troubling visions and lots of magic. It isn’t a straightforward, linear story, but it is well worth the effort. This is a book for patient readers and dreamers.
- I cannot tell you how breathtaking and gorgeous the writing is. You must experience it for yourself. The writer captures so many emotions and paints them into pretty metaphors and lovely similes. She captures the soul crushing emotions of grief and loss, and then then contrasts them with the ebullient, sparkly beauty of love and friendship. I was mesmerized by the writing.
- The ending is just right. It leaves the reader satisfied and filled with hope and wonder.
And The Not So Much:
- The reason I didn’t give this one five stars, is it is a bit confusing and I didn’t feel like I had a complete grasp on all the hows and whys once I finished the story. I wanted to know more about the mysterious wolves, the magic and all that.
- As I mentioned the story is not linear, and it requires some patience as it moves around in time with strange flashbacks, and it is up to the reader to take them in and piece them into place.
- I was befuddled by the choice of Nameless the Ghost…. I know it was explained, but I still didn’t quite understand all the reasoning, the final choice and so forth.
A Million Junes is an extraordinary read. It blends magical realism with a the strong emotions of love and loss. It is a strange story, one that requires imagination and patience, but well worth the effort. What makes this book outstanding is the enchanting writing. If you want something that will dazzle your senses and tangle your emotions, you must give this one a chance. I loved it.
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.