Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5 Stars)
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Summary: Romeo and Juliet meets One Hundred Years of Solitude in Emily Henry’s brilliant follow-up to The Love That Split the World, about the daughter and son of two long-feuding families who fall in love while trying to uncover the truth about the strange magic and harrowing curse that has plagued their bloodlines for generations.
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 “June” 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.
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.
My thoughts: A Million Junes is a brilliant novel full of fantastical elements while tackling the topics of grief, family, and love. Each topic is explored in such a unique and vivid way that will connect with any reader of any age. This is the type of fantasy novel that will keep your attention until the very last page, thanks to its vibrant characters and mystical writing style. This was a story that I completely fell in love with and did not expect to love as much as I did.
My favorite aspect of this novel was the elements of magical realism woven into the story about these two families who have avoided one another for generations. The fantastical writing was so beautifully written and played out in my mind like a movie, which was this novel’s greatest strength. I am such a big fan of magical realism, so seeing it used in a novel centered around losing a loved one and falling in love with the forbidden boy in town was a breath of fresh air. The stories of magic and fantasy displayed in this story was so breathtaking and wondrous. I could not praise it enough.
Along with the beautiful writing, I also adored every single character written into the story. They each had such a distinct voice and personality and all stuck out to me. Not a lot of writers can create such engaging characters, but Henry managed to suck me into this world filled with eccentric voices, especially June and Saul who both were three dimensional and real in a way. Their dialogue flowed naturally, like ones in real life, and their personalities shone off the pages, as if I were reading about real people. I really enjoyed their interactions and the love that blossomed between them both.
The topic of grief and familial issues is written about so beautifully, as well. It has the ability to resonate with any reader because these are two topics that anyone can relate to. Normally I steer clear from books that deal with grief because I find them to be too superficial, but A Million Junes discusses it in a way that struck me with its correlation to the fantastical elements in this novel.
I won’t ramble anymore about this novel. It was beautiful. I highly suggest going in blind and not reading into the synopsis too much because the story unfolds naturally in a way that keeps you wanting more. Read it! Love it as much as I do!
* I received a physical copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review*