I received a copy from Penguin's First to Read. I used some of my points to secure my copy of this one. I have a weakness for Romeo & Juliet inspired stories, and that plus the promise of magical realism was what caught my eye about this title.
A little apprehensive as I tried to read the author’s debut novel and didn’t get very far at all with it, but I fell head over heels in love with this book almost right away. (And now I will have to go back and read that debut novel again).
It’s almost impossible to recap the plot because that would be extremely spoilery. The basic premise is Jack “June” O’Donnell has lived in a mysterious little town her whole life, she knows there is a feudal history between her family and their neighbours, the Angerts. Something that has been going on for years and years and years. There’s deep history all connected to the strange little magical wonders that surround June’s house and an infamous tree in her family’s yard.
It all start to unravel when hanging out with her best friend Hannah one night, June’s neighbour, Saul Angert appears back in town after being gone for years. June knows that the last thing she should be doing is hanging out with an Angert. However, inevitably, June finds Saul knows one of her friends, and she finds herself hanging out with Saul more and more.
The writing is delicious, it’s superb. The novel elicits an incredibly emotional response. It’s so amazingly written. It paints such a vivid picture and really made me feel engaged with the characters, and hooked on the story.
The relationship between June and Saul is wonderful, beautifully built, it has ups and downs, trust, friendship and romance. Both face hidden truths about their past and the secrets which caused the falling out between their families all those many years ago.
Also – bonus points for female friendship. June’s relationship with her best friend Hannah is everything you want in a BFF friendship. Trust, sticking up for each other, silliness, being there for each other, listening. It was just wonderful to see the dynamics between the two girls not overshadowed by boys or bitchiness.
All with a delightful touch of magical realism floating through the novel.
A brilliant story going easily from funny to cute to dramatic to romantic to gut-wrenching and back again. (The end made me cry). I absolutely loved everything about this book.