A Million Junes | Emily Henry

It’s a truly rainy day (week actually, it’s supposed to continue until next week) here in Boston so it seemed fitting, due to my blogs monicker, that I post a review on this cloudy more like October than middle of July day! So here you have it! (Please excuse the exercise mats in my photo. They don’t reflect light horribly like my hardwood floor!) 

I recently finished reading A Million Junes by Emily Henry and woah did I love that book. Reading it was like getting caught up in a whirlwind of ghosts, fairy tales, beauty and romance. And I’m still dizzy over Henry’s writing style. I haven’t read her other book but if it’s anything like A Million Junes I’m sold already. Once I started reading I fell immediately in love with her writing and was unable to put the book down. Quick synopsis: no spoilers! 

For generations the O’Donnell’s and the Angert’s have been at war. A war that is little seen (because they avoid each other at all costs) but often discussed by the respective families. Each family believes the other is at fault and their dislike for each other has managed to deepen their respective moments of tragedy. Jack O’Donnell IV (aka Junie, Junior, June Bug, June) misses her father terribly after his death 10 years ago. But grief has moved in and she is okay most days, minus the dull ache she assumes will never leave, as grief is known to do. Until one night when she quite literally runs in to Saul Angert, the mysterious boy who disappeared for 3 years only to return handsome and covered in mysterious tattoos. June has always been curious about her family’s sworn enemies and she finds herself interested in Saul’s life and experiences. That interest quickly turns to something more as the two spend illicit time together. June struggles to live the life she believes is predestined for her as a Jack, a life lived like the Jacks before her and the life of new possibilities and desires so different from what her father told her to expect that Saul leads her toward. When the two are together they are immersed in living memories of their families across the years and if they cannot successfully unravel the mystery of their family’s feud and move on they will be destined to the same fate their families have faced for generations: grief and tragedy. Together they work to understand their families legacies in the hopes of stopping the pattern of dispair that has haunted them for generations.

I was pulling for June and Saul the moment June accidentally attacks Sauls collar bone with her teeth in a hall of mirrors. The tension and mystery between the families hatred for each other was interesting to unravel with June and Saul as my guides. I have not read too much magical realism but if A Million Junes is a good example of the genre than I would love to read more. Henry’s descriptions of the thin places where this world and the next collide are incredibly moving, dripping with gorgeous phrases. Five Fingers, Michigan is a place where magical legends prevail and everyone feels the touch of the world beyond the veil. A place I truly wish I could visit after reading the book. But with a little Google digging I believe I’ve concluded that the place, although it may be based on some northern Michigan towns, is purely a work of fiction. But nevertheless this book made me believe in the power of possibility and the power of love. It’s a moving story, beautifully crafted and despite its magical elements, painfully real. A wonderful addition to my summer reading and one of the best books I’ve read this year! Thank you, Emily Henry, I can’t wait for what comes next! 

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