Published by Simon & Schuster on January 7, 2014
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Two teens discover the true danger of love in this gripping novel from Printz Honor–winning author Chris Lynch.
Oliver loves Junie Blue. That’s true. Pretty much everything else is a lie. Both known for their deceit, Junie and O’s relationship was the only honest thing they had. But now that’s over. Oliver’s been dumped, and he’s miserable. Junie says they’re done. Unless she’s lying?
Junie’s father works for One Who Knows, the head of an organized crime family. He won’t tell O where Junie is, not even after O hears a rumor that Junie’s won the lottery—and that One Who Knows expects to be given her ticket. O fears Junie’s in danger, and he’s determined to come to her rescue. But is there honestly anything he can do?
Oliver O’Brien was completely blindsided when his girlfriend, June Blue, breaks up with him after they’ve been together for a year and a half, citing that they’re “not kids anymore” as the reason. Rumors swirl that June bought a winning lottery ticket, and she seems to disappear off the face of the Earth. It’s a well-known fact in her neighborhood that all winning tickets have to be relinquished to “One Who Knows,” the head of the local mafia. Oliver’s devastated and can hardly figure out what to do with his life now that she’s gone.
“It’s none of my business, Dad. I hope she did win and that she’s going to be the happy heartbreaker for the rest of her life, but if she didn’t win, and she’s working every possible shift at that stupid shop and she’s walking dogs to the moon and back, and I hope that that makes her the happiest heartbreaker in the the solar system, but frankly I have no insight into this situation, nor into any other situation that involves Junie blue, other than that every situation involves Junie Blue and every situation involving Junie Blue is making me blue.”
When June turns up a bit later with a swollen eye and a burn on her hand, Oliver is even more determined to get her to talk to him. Once he does, the pair go on a whirlwind romantic adventure, but what happens when the whimsey fades away and they’re left with the real world once again?
What We Loved:
- Authenticity. You know we’re suckers for boy-pov. We genuinely felt the forlornness that Oliver was experiencing and totally understood the reasons he was flailing in life. He was real, and we loved that.
- We liked his relationship with his parents. Though everything wasn’t always sunshine and roses (when is it in real life?), we appreciated that they always had his back.
- We loved their time in the Beachcomber Gentleman’s Barbershop.
- The end. Perfect ending is perfect.
Um...Not So Much:
Though we loved the banter and Oliver’s personality, we thought that it was a little overwhelming sometimes. We found ourselves wishing he’d just say it already on a couple of occasions.
His parents constantly referring to him “spending time with himself” squicked us out more than a little bit.
Somewhere along the line she got the idea that this summer I’m jerking myself to the point of hairy-handed criminal insanity, and so, by golly, as long as she is in the house, monkeys will not be spanked.
There were a lot more references, and just…ew.
Not to be too spoilery, but we were surprised by the total FTB. For someone who is so verbose and describes pretty much everything, Oliver glossed over his feelings about a few events that we, ahem, maybe wanted a little insight into. We feel like we deserve it after having to hear about all the names he could think up that were synonymous with “snapping the squid”.
We thought June’s dad provided some comedy, but he was just too over the top for us.
Oliver O’Brien. He’s mostly referred to as “O” throughout the book. He’s funny and clever and sometimes witty.
I awake to a dream.
That is, I believe I am awake, because I have never dreamed this well before, and even if this is a dream, then, well done, subconscious.
And he’s sweet.
She should have a life. She deserves a life, and a fantastic one.
Mostly he’s sort of adorable.
“You’ve got some rust starting under here,” I say, so unbelievably composed that I fall instantly in love with myself and curse the fact that Junie Blue is not right here to see it.
We really liked him. He’s loyal and honest and real.
Malcolm. O’s best friend, who he apparently dumped when he got wrapped up in a Junie-Blue-centric world. Pretty much as soon as he heard about their big break up, Malcolm comes around to hang out and bring Oliver out of his depression. We loved the banter between these two.
“You are going to tell me the rest of the story, are you not?”
“Excellent idea,” he says when we’re faced up to each other like real tennis players. “We’ll play for info bits. Like points. Every time you score, I gotta give you a detail.”
We never keep score. We just hit back and forth, and it’s fun, and it’s exhasing. Great sweaty exercise, and soothingly simple.
“And when you score?” I say wearily.
“Umm, let’s see. Okay, how’s this? We’ll keep score like a regular tennis game, fifteen, thirty, forty, game. Only we’ll use letters. J, U, N, E, and when I win, you have to step aside and let me ask her out. Deal?”
“Well, hey, that sounds like a pretty good deal. But you should also consider these other two options. I could beat you to death with a tennis racket. Or we could just hit back and forth for a while and you can talk or shut up however much you like.”
We didn’t totally understand everything that happened with him, but we liked him.
Ronny Blue, June’s dad. He was over-the-top crazy.
We’d also like to mention someone else, but we really can’t because it would be too spoilery. Just know we liked him, too. Even though we probably weren’t supposed to.
June Blue. Of course Oliver thinks she’s hot, but Malcolm does, too. Even Oliver’s parents don’t think he can do much better than June. Here’s how he describes her:
She has big pearly teeth with a middle gap you could park a cigarette in, which she does sometimes, and it’s heart-flutter stuff. Smoking and hearts, eh?
She writes the perfect note. She’s tough, but she’s sweet sometimes, too.
“You, are the nicest thing in the room, Oliver,” she says, and pulls me into her bed.
We didn’t necessarily like the abrupt way she ended things with Oliver, but we respect her for knowing what she wants and what she’s capable of doing. She’s all right, that Junie Blue.
We loved June’s sister Maxine and the fact that she called O a big ol’ nancy boy. 🙂
Witty rhetoric and authentic feelings make this story especially perfect for anyone who’s ever lost their first love and wished they could go out and do something–anything–to get him/her back.