Part Shakespearean retelling and part Alice Hoffman-style literary fantasy, the novel teems with luminous, evocative language and characters so alive I half-expected them to climb off the page and walk around my house.
Why I love it
Once in a blue forever, you come across a book that features so many of your favorite elements that you can’t help but wonder if it was written specifically for you. A Million Junes felt that way to me: part Shakespearean retelling and part Alice Hoffman-style magical realism, the novel teems with luminous, evocative language and characters so alive I half-expected them to climb off the page and walk around my house. Throw in a forbidden romance with a slightly-older (and deliciously tattooed) writer-type, a cherry tree that bears fruit with supernatural healing properties, and a ramshackle farmhouse full of long-held family secrets, and you wind up with a stirring, slightly-spooky YA fable I was barely able to put down.
The story follows Jack O’Donnell IV (June for short'”she’s a 17-year-old girl, after all) and Saul Angert, the children of two families cleaved by a blood feud that stretches back four generations'”and inextricably connected by a curse that plagues both clans. June and Saul have each lost their most important person'”June her beloved dad, Saul his twin sister'”to a dark spirit known only as Nameless, and grief has turned both families brittle. Following Saul’s return to the curious upper Michigan town of Five Fingers where both families have lived for ages, and a chance meeting in a house of mirrors, the two of them team up to uncover the genesis of the curse and keep it from claiming anyone else'”and find themselves falling for each other in the process.
A Million Junes is very much a love story'”and the romance, I will tell you, is sexy as a naked late-night jump in Five Fingers Falls'”but for me the book’s big beating heart lay in June’s deep bond with her best friend, Hannah. Everything about their friendship, from their unexpected resolution of a potential love triangle to June’s horror and heartbreak at the idea of Hannah crossing the country for college, felt so honest and real. Henry brings the same emotional veracity to June’s relationship with her mom and stepdad: There are no cardboard heroes or villains here, only fully-realized humans with their own histories and heartaches.
A Million Junes is a gorgeous rumination on grief and memory, the fear that we’re destined to lose the people who matter most to us, and all the ways that love makes it safe to let go. Read this one in a hammock under leafy summer trees'”preferably with a big bowl of Michigan cherries in your lap.
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 'œJune' 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.Â
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.
Read a sample →
I thought I was getting into a ghostly mystery... what I gained was strength. I have never coped with grief and this story found me when I was needing it the most. Junior/June/Jacks have changed my life.
Lancaster , PA
I thought the magical worldthat June experienced was awesome. I would love to see this made into a movie, the right way. I got lost a bit when they discussed thinplaces,so I decided I’ll look intothem
This is so beautifully written and has so many important truths in it. The past is connected to our present & our future. We can’t change the past, but we choose how it affects us and what we do now.
This book has twists and turns that I adored. Emily Henry captures pure magic in her writing and this book shows that off beautifully. This book is the epitome of magical realism, I’m still blown away
I loved this story! From the beginning all the way to the end I could not put the book down. I loved the magical world, feelings, and emotions it provoked. One of the best books I’ve read. 5 out of 5
A million Junes is a magical story about young love, old souls & family history. A girl's unwavering bond with her father. I cannot describe this story well enough.Emily Henry did such a beautiful job
The characters are so vivid. One of those rare books where you feel like you are part of the book. Couldn't put it down. Needed to know the resolution but was sad with every page turn knowing it'd end
Dublin , OH
This is one of the best YA books I’ve ever read in my life (and I read a lot of YA since I teach high school English). I have recommended it to friends, and they loved it, too. Such a hidden gem!!!
This book had everything. Romance, joy, grief, family. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me want to share it with everyone. It's the first book I've read that properly, to me, captured grief.
Long Island City, NY
Emily Henry's writing is beautiful and captivating. Though the story is interwoven with magic, the memories and feelings ranging from first love to tormenting grief feel so real, fresh, and authentic.
Sacramento , CA
A Million Junes sucked me inright from the beginning. It had a perfect combination of realistic teen fiction with a dose of fantasy. It tackled the difficult idea of letting go of the utopian parent.
Emily's writing is seamless as she floats the reader between reality and memory. YA and fantasy threw me out of my norm but I'm so glad I strayed and let the Whites take me barefoot over the threshold
I'm not usually into science fiction or romance but this book does focus on both topics and I couldn't put it down. What a remarkable story that truly makes you think about your own loves and losses.
Palm Springs, CA
This book made me feel so many emotions so intensely! I truly felt like I had stepped into the book's world. I thought it would be too sci-fi for me, but it was the perfect mix of reality and fantasy.
The romance wasn't as compelling as it could have been, and it got a little too mystical, in my opinion, but the writing is absolutely beautiful, and the story was unique and fun. Not your typical YA.
This book is awesome! Emily Henry eloquently wrote this book. The words she uses and the story she tells come to life as you're reading! 10 out of 10 would recommend! If you are considering it, read!
This book has stolen my <3! Do not let the YA label and mentions of magic fool you. There is so much depth here: generational trauma, grief, shame, forgiveness, & redemptive love, familial & romantic.
One of those perfect books that made me lol, cry, & really learn something. All while bringing the spooky & the romance. A lovely perspective on grief & letting go. Also, Hannah+June = friend goals.
Mt. Vernon, OH
Ughh loved this book. Read it in a day. I couldn't even put it down to save my life. It even had my crying through beginning, middle, and end. Had me on the edge of my seat. Will definitely recommend.
A unique story told through an array of abstract concepts which surprisingly make you feel that you've developed a greater understanding of the "here & now." Would love to read more from this author.