After Emily Henry’s The Love that Split the World, I was eager to read her next novel A Million Junes. I was especially pleased when I won an advanced galley through the First to Read program.
A Million Junes takes place in Michigan in modern times. However, the past is of great importance to June’s story. June O’Donnell and the O’Donnell family have grown up being told to stay away from the Angert family. For reasons unknown, there has been a long standing feud between O’Donnell and Angert family. At first, the story reveals a simpler reason for this feud, but as you read on, the reason behind this feud becomes a true mystery that runs through many generations.
Despite warnings from her father (dead for 10 years), June finds herself reluctantly associating with an Angert–particularly Saul who is 2 years older than her who has come back home for unknown reasons. This reluctance quickly fades into a budding forbidden romance. Unlike a lot of YA contemporaries, this is not an insta-love story. While it is an instant-crush, I’d best describe the romance as slow burning for a while.
What makes this story really unique, however, is the magical realism within the story. Much like Henry’s first novel, A Million Junes takes place among the “thin places,” places where magic aspects and the real world exist. For a person who does not like almost any fantasy, I liked the aspects in this novel because it always remained grounded in the real world as well. With ghosts (both a protective ghost and an ominous ghost) and fluttering Whites that take on true significance as the story progresses, I was hooked.
Henry’s writing is also absolutely lyrical. She has a true way with phrasing words while also still creating a work that is absolutely readable. Most authors that I have read that write lyrically struggle with compelling story craft. Henry does NOT have this issue at all.
While I won’t talk much about the end to avoid spoilers, the ending is absolutely phenomenal and full of deep meaning for all readers, especially teens (or anyone really) that have faced unspeakable tragedies in their lives.
Final rating: 4.5/5
Link to Pre-order/Buy: A Million Junes by Emily Henry