A Million Junes

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
A Million Junes Book Poster Image
Romeo and Juliet fantasy romance is lyrical and haunting.

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age 13+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

A few words and phrases in French, most not translated but with context clues. Some cultural insight into life in northern Michigan.

Positive Messages

You inherit from your ancestors both the good and the bad that they were. There's nothing you can do about that, but you can choose what to hold on to. Everyone experiences loss and pain eventually. Don't hold on to past hurts: grief can poison people if they hold on too much or too long; you have to let go at some point. "To love a handful of people very well, that's a good life."

Positive Role Models & Representations

June is basically a good, responsible teen who occasionally does things she shouldn't, but not to any serious or dangerous degree. She has a healthy relationship with and attitude toward her family as it is, even while still feeling the loss of her father. She's academically unmotivated until it's almost too late, but discovers a talent for writing and is willing to pursue it. She learns to appreciate the love of others. No one's evil or villainous, but some minor characters are bitter and hostile toward others.

Violence

Fantasy violence: animals in the throes of death from a fantasy creature, mention of a dead chicken's wrung neck and blood. Lots of pain on the skin described from being covered in a magical white powder, which then turns into blood. Visiting past memories shows a spanking, a heart attack, and a brutal beating that mentions bones crunching, thwacking sounds, eye gouging, and lots of blood. Some scariness from eerie atmospheres, a magical dark force that brings death, ghosts, and characters in peril.

Sex

Some kissing and light making out. Narrator June often describes feelings of physical attraction. Teens strip at a swimming hole and see each other naked. Teens mention, usually in a joking way, about ovulating, "boobs," having genitalia, and "boners." Making out on the dance floor and mention that teachers try to break up dancers grinding.

Language

"Ass," "a--hole," "s--t," "d--k" (as insult and body part), "chode," "bitch," "damn," "bulls--t," and one "f---ing."

Consumerism

Food, sodas, restaurant chains, pop culture (magazines, TV shows, etc.), clothing, tech, and Axe body spray mentioned to establish mood, location, or character.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Older teens sneak liquor from a flask several times. Adults drink wine with dinner and in the evenings. Teen jokes about needing bourbon and about taking LSD. Getting tipsy on champagne as a sophomore remembered. A list of favorite things includes coconut rum and Diet Coke. An adult asks for scotch, taking notes while tasting scotches mentioned. Jell-O shots mentioned as part of the college experience. Spiked punch at a high school dance. No serious consequences shown for drinking. A teen jokes that "lines" in a title refers to cocaine. Cigar and cigarette smoking in the past.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Million Junes, by Emily Henry (The Love That Split the World), is a modern Romeo and Juliet fantasy-romance. Fantasy elements include ghosts, magical places where borders between worlds are thin, and the ability to witness past events. Grief, pain, and the need to let go of the past are strong themes. Narrator June, who's 18, mentions physical sensations and emotions of physical attraction, and there are a few instances of kissing and light making out. Teens joke about sexual stuff, such as erections, masturbation, and ovulation. A past severe beating describes sounds, kicks, and punches, and mentions lots of blood. Characters are covered in blood in a fantasy setting. Animals like chickens and rabbits are killed during magical or fantasy events. Eerie atmospheres, ghosts (one evil and one benevolent), and being in danger from fantasy elements add scariness. Profanity is infrequent and includes "s--t," "ass," and one "f---ing."

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byannie4321 October 10, 2017

Really good

It was really good, it had a lot of interesting twists, really interesting and a really good book. Some parts are confusing but still good. Never read a book li... Continue reading

What's the story?

A MILLION JUNES is the story of 18-year-old June O'Donnell and how her family has hated the neighboring Angert family, and vice versa, for at least five generations. When June literally bumps into Saul Angert at a carnival, she's immediately drawn to the handsome son of the one family her parents taught her she can never go near. If June and Saul can learn the truth about their families' entwined history, can they finally break free forever from the cursed spirit that haunts them, and that causes each family more harm each time it appears?

Is it any good?

Author Emily Henry's second novel is beautifully lyrical, with rhythmic prose that brings to life a magical place where echoes from the past reverberate to the core of an engaging young couple. Despite the very old setup of young love forbidden by feuding families, A Million Junes vividly evokes a unique, magical place and populates it with engaging, relatable characters.

Grief from loss, uncovering the truth about the past, finding your talent, and learning to value the countless small moments that make up a life are strong themes that will teach teens a lot about themselves. June's authentic voice and wry humor make her easy to relate to, and teens will also relate to lessons she learns about the value of all types of love, not just the romantic kind. Fans of ghost stories will enjoy the haunting spirits that inhabit June's world. Have a hankie nearby at the end.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how stories like A Million Junes blend fantasy and romance. Does the fantasy make the real-world part less believable? How would June and Saul's story be different without the fantasy parts of their world?

  • The lives and actions of their ancestors have a big influence on June and Saul today. Is that realistic? Have past generations of your family affected your life? How?

  • Is the violence that happens in fantasy more or less scary, or about the same, as real-world violence? Why?

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