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Description⎮Reviewed Jan. 2018
Narrators: Julia Whelan
Length: 10 hours 30 minutes
Publisher: Listening Library⎮2017
Synopsis: Romeo and Juliet meets One Hundred Years of Solitude in Emily Henry’s brilliant follow-up to The Love That Split the World, about the daughter and son of two long-feuding families who fall in love while trying to uncover the truth about the strange magic and harrowing curse that has plagued their bloodlines for generations.
June O’Donnell – aka Junior, aka Jack, aka Jonathan O’Donnell IV, aka the first female O’Donnell firstborn – has always been haunted by her family’s mythic but complicated legacy. As she prepares to begin her final year of high school, June is itching to leave behind her ghosts in Five Fingers, Michigan, and travel the world.
And then, just like it always happens to the O’Donnells, a painful glimmer from her past returns to mess everything up.
Enter Saul Angert, the eldest son of Eli Angert, aka June’s late father’s mortal enemy, back in town from a prestigious writing program to care for his ailing father. June can’t seem to avoid Saul, whose very presence makes her ache with grief over her father, and soon the unthinkable happens: She finds she doesn’t exactly hate the gruff, sarcastic, and strangely tender boy whom she was born to loathe.
When June and Saul accidentally stumble into a bit of the forest magic, they are allowed a glimpse into the past at the fateful, horrible moment that started all the trouble between their families. Now June doesn’t know if this new discovery means she should hate the Angerts even more or if it’s finally time for her – and all of the O’Donnells before her – to let go.
4.75★ Audiobook⎮ A Million Junes was a really magical story. I don’t hear a lot of magical realism, so it sort of took me by surprise. By nature, it had this “one foot in the real world and another foot in a fantasy world” vibe that was both eerie and beautiful.
I found it extremely easy to suspend my disbelief for A Million Junes. It was also an incredibly easy listen. I credit Emily Henry’s poetic, yet still down to earth, writing style. It suited the genre perfectly. It wasn’t magical in a fairytale sort of way, per se. It was more like a daydream when your physical body is one place, but your mind is worlds away and you’re aware of both at the same time. Or like that in between place when you’re just waking up in the morning, but not yet fully awake, just hovering somewhere above total consciousness. Yeah, A Million Junes is just like that and it was an amazing experience.
There was also this Romeo and Juliet thing going on that worked better than I would have thought. Don’t get me wrong, that angle is still completely overplayed, but Henry managed to make it work surprisingly well. The rest of the story was fresh enough to keep an old angle from going stale.
The multigenerational aspect of the story was something I thought could have been played up a bit more. I loved Junior and the fact that she is a she, despite being named Jack O’Donnell IV (how very Rory Gilmore of her). But I wish the story had been broken up a little more, possibly with multiple POVs. Still, the incorporation of the wisps was a unique way to give us and the main character first-hand insight into the past, albeit in an indirect nature.
The only thing that slightly bothered me about A Million Junes was that, by the end, it began to feel like it was dragging on and becoming repetitive. Henry could have ended it an hour sooner without any loss of quality. With that said, I still absolutely adore A Million Junes and Emily Henry’s writing. My fingers are still crossed that The Love That Split the World will be available as an audiobook soon. I’ve had my eye on it for a while because of its intriguing premise, and now that I know how much I love Emily Henry’s writing style, I’m even more eager to get my ears on it!
Narration review: Julia Whelan is an amazing narrator. We all know this, don’t we? At this point, after hearing so many of her titles, I’ve come to think of her amazingness as more of a fact than an opinion. I’ve picked up countless of her titles just because they were her titles. Her narration can raise even mediocre storytelling to epic heights.
Needless to say, her performance in A Million Junes did not disappoint. This was an incredible experience on audiobook and I definitely recommend the audio version in order to capture the full impact of it. ♣︎