Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Book Review: Chasing June by Shannen Crane Camp

Chasing June, a Whitney Award finalist in Youth Adult General Fiction, picks up two years after Finding June.  June and Joseph are headed off to Brigham Young University in Provo for their freshman year of college.  Joseph is planning on only going for one semester before leaving on his mission and doesn't want any romantic entanglements while he prepares, so June and Joseph are back to "just friends."

June struggles to adjust to college life, her roommates are less than welcoming, and she laments that "people seemed to never use their signals when changing lanes and there was a severe lack of racial diversity" in Provo, but life looks up when she and Joseph are both cast in Tartuffe and then three of her friends from Forensic Faculty come to visit, including Ryan, one of the supporting cast from the show.  Ryan is ready to step into the void Joseph has left in June's dating life and soon June finds herself having feelings for him, too.  Their relationship is sweet and respectful, but June can't help but wonder what this means for the future she always imagined with Joseph.

While still enjoyable, Chasing June seemed a bit more contrived than Finding June. Too many things just worked out too conveniently.  One example: Just as their romance is starting to bloom, Ryan and June happen to both get parts in the same movie - as love interests, natch - and happen to get their friends hired on there, too.  There's an eating disorder subplot that never gets fully developed and then resolves a bit too quickly and easily.

The passages where June chronicles her loneliness during that first semester of college rang painfully true; I think everyone's experienced that sense of being completely alone even with lots of people around.  And I again appreciated the recognition that decisions aren't always cut and dried, black or white.  When June discusses with her grandma/agent whether or not she should accept the lead role in the film with Ryan, which would necessitate leaving school for a semester, she hesitates:
"I guess getting an education is always the right answer, isn't it?" I asked, honestly not sure anymore.
"Always is a dangerous word to use, Bliss.  It's very rare for something to be always right."
I found Chasing June weaker than the first book in the series, but I'm still invested enough in the story that I want to know what happens to June and Ryan when Joseph gets home.  Fortunately, Catching June is expected out later this year.

Chasing June
by Shannen Crane Camp
ISBN: 9781484191262
Buy it from Amazon here: (paperbackebook)
Find it at a local independent bookseller.
Look it up on Goodreads.
Check it out at your local library (find the nearest one here).

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