Monday, June 30, 2014

Book Review: Goodnight June

By Melissa Amster

It takes a lot for me to cry from a book. I didn't cry from The Fault in Our Stars and thought something was wrong with me. However, Sarah Jio manages to have this powerful effect on me. The first time was with Blackberry Winter and now with her latest novel, Goodnight June.

June Andersen works for a bank in New York, repossessing properties that have defaulted on their loans, no matter how personal these places were to the owners. After experiencing a health scare, she receives a letter saying that her great-aunt Ruby has passed away and that she now is the owner of her beloved children's book store, Bluebird Books, in Seattle. June has to drop everything to fly cross-country and settle Ruby's estate. While trying to figure out what to do with the store, June comes across a series of letters between Ruby and Margaret Wise Brown, the author of Goodnight Moon. Each letter reveals some secrets, leading up to something powerful that could change June's life and affect the future of the store. And soon she finds herself in the shoes of those whose dreams she used to crush.

Where do I begin? I loved everything about this novel! It's the first of Sarah's stories that doesn't involve a murder mystery, which is a refreshing change. Sure, there are mysterious elements, but nothing to be nervous about! Also, in previous novels, the story lines are entirely fictional. This time, she incorporates some history by making Margaret Wise Brown into one of her characters and sharing pieces of her life through her letters. The letters between Margaret and Ruby were so comforting to read and the tone and feel of them reminded me of e-mail exchanges with an author friend of mine. Even when I thought I might know what would happen next in the story, Sarah manages to throw in some curve balls and surprises.

My only complaint is that the story wrapped up too perfectly, although I was glad for the escape. Getting to that point was a rush of emotions that I was glad to experience because it reminded me that there's nothing wrong with a good cry over a beautifully told story. Goodnight June is now my number one favorite of Sarah's books and is a possible contender for my 2014 favorites list.

I didn't have a lot of casting ideas for this book, but I was able to see Kate and Rooney Mara as June and her sister Amy, respectively.

P.S. My mom didn't cry for The Fault in Our Stars, but she also sobbed from Goodnight June.

Thanks to Plume for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Sarah Jio:


susieqlaw said...

I loved Goodnight June and gave my sister a signed copy for an early birthday gift! I have always been fascinated with Goodnight Moon...and adored this book!

S.Sabia said...

Goodnight June is next in my to-read pile. I'll be sure to grab the tissues (I didn't cry while read The Fault in Our Stars either).

susieqlaw said...

I love the casting idea of Kate and Rooney Mara!

Carol Fragale Brill said...

I finished Goodnight June a couple days ago and went right to the library to reread Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny. I'm always impressed when an author has the creativity and courage to fictionalize a real person.
Like you, I thought things wrapped up too fast and too neatly. June had major life changes and there just didn't seem to be enough character depth or angst. Still, I enjoyed the story

AiringMyLaundry said...

I'd like reading this! I'll add it to my list.

Janine said...

I'm looking forward to reading this book

Liz Parker said...

Adding to my TBR! I think I've read one or two of Sarah Jio's books, I remember they were good.

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) said...

I have this waiting for me on my Kindle! I loved Goodnight Moon as a child and now read it to my own children.