Published: 11.22.2011 by Harlequin Teen
Everyone's sorry, but no one can explain why.
Harper Scott's older sister, June, took her own life a week before high school graduation, leaving Harper devastated. So when her divorcing parents decide to split up June's ashes, Harper steals the urn and takes off cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going - California.
Enter Jake Tolan, a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession...and an unknown connection to June. When he insists on joining them, Harper's just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanor and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what Harper needs. Except...Jake's keeping a secret that has the power to turn her life upside down - again.
I can't resist a roadtrip book, especially one with a mysterious boy. This isn't a light and fluffy book, as you can tell from the summary. Harper deals with a lot on her journey across the country, between her sister's suicide and her parents' divorce, but this book is wonderful. There's just enough levity to balance out the heavy stuff without taking away from it.
- Harper - Harper is an excellent mix of sarcastic, angry, and understandably shaken up. Yes, she feels a bit guilty for leaving her mom behind (and she should), but I love the fact that she was angry enough at her parents to set her plan in motion and follow it through. Her keeping people at arms-length while she was dealing in her own way felt right.
- Jake - Jake is just badboy enough. Because of the kind of book this is, we can assume from the beginning that he has a heart of gold, but he throws us off from his 1st encounter with Harper. The slow unfolding of who Jake is, what he meant to June, and what he means to Harper is beautiful and real. Not ideal, but real.
- roadtrip - Who doesn't love roadtrip books? This one has it all: purpose, drama, and fun.
- comparing - I don't know what it's like to have sister or an older sibling, but Harper's constant thinking about how perfect June was and how flawed Harper herself is. It was depressing. It was kind of strange to me, how Harper was still comparing herself to "perfect" June, when every day it became more and more clear that her sister's life was anything but perfect.
- boy crazy BFF - Harper's best friend Laney was a great character, but why why why why why does every BFF in a YA book have to be the boy obsessed, sex-crazed girl? Laney wasn't bad by any means, but she's a character with little development beyond her interactions with guys. We don't get to know her besides that.
- It's the first time he's used my first name. I hadn't even been completely positive that he knew what it was. We've never exactly had a formal introduction - how would that have gone? Hi, I'm Harper, the sister who didn't die. You must be Jake, the guy said dead sister tutored, the guy who burned here the mix CD she was listening to when she overdosed on Mom's sleeping pills, the guy who blackmailed his way into joining our road trip for reasons I am none too clear on. - pg. 84
- Jake Tolan: Secret Overboard Tipper, at least when it comes to overworked, yet resilient, bubbly waitresses with bad dye jobs. Who would've thought? - pg. 165
I devoured this book. The tone was perfect and the mystery of June's relationship with Jake, and Harper's developing relationship with him was great.
Acquired: swapped for on swap.com