The O'Donnells and the Angerts have hated each other for generations. June O'Donnell was ready to keep that hatred going and avoid the Angerts, but that plan got wrecked when she literally ran into Saul Angert who had just returned to town. The two were drawn to one another despite June's best efforts to not be attracted to an Angert, and their time together caused June to begin to question everything she knew about their families' pasts. With a curse hanging over their heads, the two must work together to learn the truth before the curse strikes their families again.
I fell in love with June shortly into the book. She's very sarcastic and had me cracking up with her banter with her best friend, Hannah, and Saul. Hannah and Saul also had great lines and won me over quickly. The three of them were fun to follow and watch interact with one another. I loved June and Hannah's friendship. The two of them were very different from one another, but were so close and constantly caring and worrying about each other. June kept Hannah in the loop on the supernatural shenanigans that were happening to her. They felt like best friends.
And June and Saul hit it off right away with the banter too. June felt like she had to hate him because he was an Angert, but she couldn't help but be charmed by him from their very first meeting, so she covered her confused feelings with sarcasm and teasing which Saul was more than capable of matching. They were pretty adorable.
The supernatural elements started off low-key. June was revealed to be able to see a couple ghosts that haunt her lands right from the start with one of those ghosts being a sign of danger to come. A conversation between June and Saul revealed a few more magical elements of the O'Donnell's land like coywolves that take shoes, but don't touch the chickens. But after Saul and June meet, June got her first vision of the past when she returned home. The visions played out sporadically across the story, slowly revealing the mystery of what started the feud between the two families generations ago, but also forcing Saul and June to face the losses they've had in their lives.
More than anything, this was a story about grief and learning to move on from it. The use of a family feud spanning generations really helped to demonstrate how holding onto pain just continued the cycle for the families again and again. This theme really came through with the reveal of what started the feud and what was behind the curse of the families.
With compelling characters and plenty of humor, A Million Junes managed to charm me immediately. It wasn't all laughs since both June and Saul were coming to terms with loss in their family and the event of started the family feud was not a happy once, but the book balanced the pain and humor well so that the grief was never overwhelming. It was a beautiful read.
This is a historical horror/thriller story revolving around Robert Louis Stevenson, the story of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Jack the Ripper. It alternates between 1880's London and "present day" California. My favorite parts were in the 1880's where Stevenson creates the story of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and deals with the consequences. The present-day story revolves around Rafe, an environmental scientist who is working to save the coyotes and stumbles across a mysterious steamer trunk.
The part with Stevenson is intriguing and suspenseful and was hard to put down. But, the present day part with Rafe is a bit tedious and took a while to get going. I kept trying to figure out how it connected with the Stevenson story but was more interested in getting back to the 1880's. The narration is well done even though the accent irritated me a bit.
This is a brilliant premise for a story but lacks a bit in the execution. Overall I enjoyed it and recommend it to fans of history and horror (as combining the two is a bit unusual).
Claudia's best friend, Monday, is missing, but she can't get anyone to believe her. Monday's mother claims Monday is with her father, while Monday's sister says she's with her aunt. Monday hasn't shown up to school, but the school hasn't checked on her. And Claudia's parents don't want her worrying about it. Claudia knows something is wrong. But how can she get anyone else to believe her?
This book was frustrating to read at times simply because there were so many adults turning a blind eye to an obvious problem. Seeing Claudia try again and again to ask for help only to find none got painful. Especially since the book told you from the start how long it will take for Monday to be found, so you knew all of Claudia's early attempts were doomed to fail because it's too soon.
The biggest issue I had with the book was the timeline. The book had several different timelines that it jumped between. The timelines included the expected Before and After, but what made it confusing were the One Year Before the Before and Two Years Before the Before timelines. It was hard to keep them all straight early on. It all eventually made sense, but that didn't make easy before that point and that confusion detracted from the story.
What did shine through in the book were the emotions Claudia felt over Monday's disappearance. Claudia's pain was apparent throughout the entire novel, and the timelines set before Monday's disappearance established their relationship well. Monday meant a lot to Claudia and her disappearance caused big changes in Claudia's life beyond just not having her best friend that Claudia simultaneously was dealing with as she also tried to find her friend. Basically Claudia was a mess during the book for a number of reasons and that came across very well.
Monday's Not Coming was well-written and packed an emotional punch, but the structure with the multiple timelines took some of that punch away by adding confusion to a narrative that didn't benefit from it. Despite that, it was an overall enjoyable, although painful, read.