A Million Junes has a million heartbeats. Both eerie and beautiful, I love the way that Emily Henry mixes contemporary with magical realism and a bit of paranormal. This book was so… so… everything. While it is inspired by Romeo & Juliet, as well as One Hundred Years of Solitude, I feel it stands well on it’s own without having to read the inspiration materials (though, understandably, it is enhanced by knowing them!) It is not a full re-telling of either, so use the endorsement of those texts lightly.
Blood feuding families, Michigan, and mythology all come together to craft the story of June and Saul. June and Saul–who were born to hate each other. A thing I loved a lot about their relationship is that it is slow moving, building and building until it can be something real and romantic. And at the same time, the likability of relationships like June and her best friend Hannah are so important as well. They are achingly realistic, in a way that teens should be in lit.
I think what really draws the whole story together, however, isn’t even the relationships of the present characters… but the mystery of the origins of the feud. Henry’s writing is like watching someone weave together pieces of a tapestry, the full picture isn’t clear until the last threads are placed. It is especially true here where we do not even know the source of the deep burning hatred of these families at first, and why it is such an incredible risk for June and Saul to even try to know each other.
If you enjoyed The Love that Split the World, you will no doubt be enthralled by A Million Junes. Henry’s tone and storybuilding is a joy to read. Highly recommended for fans of contemporary / magical realism.
Thank you to Penguin’s First to Read for a copy of this galley!