A Million Junes by Emily Henry
“I promise you. I promise you the stars. I promise you the lake and falls, coywolves 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 oceans freeze over and the whole world is ash and dust and ice, our names will still be carved into this tree of life, side by side, and I'll still be loving you.”
Magical Realism is hard to create, it is one of those genres that the author must dwell in it with caution. It is trekking a forest being very aware when one steps, you don't want to get too lost but you also don't want to not see enough. This books weaves magical realism into the world of these beautiful written and perfect characters, majestically. When done correctly magical realism has my heart and my soul and those books become my favorite reads forever (like the Night Circus). I can say with so much conviction that I finally found another book that surprised me because of the beautiful lyrical writing, the mysterious and sometimes tragic/scary story that weaves the town together, for the simplicity and completion of all the characters and how all these pieces form together to make a story like no other.
A Million Junes is a story of Jack O'Donell IV (or how we like to call her June). This first factor (of her being named after a man) made me realize that this book was going to be one I would remember. June's father passed away 10 years ago, June's mother got remarried, June's life has always been the same. Reliving in her dad's footsteps (and the Jack O'Donell's before her) her dream is to travel the world and later come back to her town Five Fingers.
“It’s almost funny, in a tragic way, that the fiery thing at the center of my universe did die and that I, a girl whose name is synonymous with summer, am expected to live without it.”
The O'Donell's history has always been deeply intertwined with those of their neighbors, the Angert's. When one horrible thing occurs to one family, it is common knowledge that a bad thing will later happen to the other family. After many years of feud and hatred, one of the most precious and unbreakable rule June's parents have for her is to NEVER become friends with an Angert. However, that rule is soon crossed when Saul Angert returns to town to take care of his father who was a rapid development of Alzheimers.
As June and Saul start getting to know each other, and start catching "Whites" (little spectacles of repressed memories of their ancestors) together they start discovering the curse they have one each other's family can be lifted and that the curse runs deeper than they know.
There are many things that are done right in this book. The first one being the actual story. The main plot is interesting, its something I have never seen before. It is whimsical and it truly makes you believe in magic, because everyone in this town believes it. After reading this book you want to believe in ghosts and in curses that make families hate each other. You want to see those thin places that allow you access to the beginning of heaven. You want to be able to hug Feathers and Nameless (the ghosts of this hunting book) and make them forgive all the heartbreak they endured. The book is lyrical, beautiful, and honestly breathtaking.
The characters are also incredibly perfect. They are unusual, the main characters June is not your typical girl. The jokes are actually funny, the relationship between June and her best friend Hannah is amazing and I rarely say this because usually best friend relationships are poorly developed. That was not the case for A Million Junes. Even the sub-characters have life on their own and they allow the story to be shaped and still be a part of the real world while flying into the magical world of June.
Lastly, the romance. June and Saul are not meant to be together, yet the pull they have for each other makes them realize that their love is what going to save these families. They're cute, they're teenagers and I loved how real their love was even though the story was very magical and I feel that is one of the things that made this book so wonderful. That through it all even though they see ghosts and embark in journeys where they can see their sister's memories and their father's memories their love is still very real and very tangible.
“And I don't know exactly what makes it love, but when I saw you in the House of Mirrors, it was like I already knew exactly who you were. And I should've been wrong-that would've made more sense-but I wasn't, and I love you. I'll always love you. And someday maybe we'll have a bad breakup or grow apart and -curse or not-all the stars will burn out and the planet will have another ice age, but I'll go on loving you because I see you, June O'Donnell, and I can't unsee you.”
I loved this book, I loved everything it had to offer. Emily Henry is an author that deserves way more recognition for this book and probably the other's she has written.
“I was just a moment, and you gave me a million Junes. I was just a moment, and you made me forever.”
--- 5 stars ---