“June Elbus is a 14 year old girl in 1987 who - like most of us likely were at that age - is awkward. She doesn't really fit in, she lives in the shadow of her popular older sister, and her best friend is her godfather Uncle Finn. But, when Finn dies of a new illness, June finds herself struggling to come to terms with her feelings about his death, her feelings for him, and a whole unknown side of his life. June deals with Finn's death, a new friendship with Toby, and her changing relationship with her sister and she navigates those awkward early teenage years that ultimately define who we are.
***Slight spoilers. Not really unless you live in a cave like I do***
I went into this book completely oblivious to what it was about! I would definitely classify it as young adult even though it was marketed for adults. And, not because it is about a young adult, but because the tone and writing was very much reminiscent of that genre. However, it did tackle a very difficult subject - AIDS - at a time when it was highly stigmatized and feared - the late 1980's. I thought it was heart-breaking to see how even family members could treat those with AIDS and how sometimes it takes the unconditional love of a child to overlook the judgements.
I was however slightly bothered by the Finn/June and Toby/June relationships. I felt a little better about them at the end when more of the past is revealed, but ultimately June's feelings toward both of these men were a little weird. I feel like the author tried to frame it like they were normal and something every teenage girl goes through, but that was never the case in my life. I think I may have missed what the author was trying to get at.
Ultimately, this book was phenomenal. I thought it did a wonderful job of showing how June's viewpoint changed from being very self-centered to aware of how much she didn't know about those that she loves - Finn, her mother, her sister, and herself. I definitely sobbed as I finished the last few pages before work this morning.”