Following the death of her uncle Finn, fourteen year old June feels lost and adrift. She’s just a girl obsessed with the Middle Ages–she’s not like her older sister Greta, a smart and skilled actress and skilled manipulator. All June had was Finn, but he’s gone, a victim of the 80s AIDS epidemic. When June receives a note from a man who knew her uncle, June is hesitant. However, she overcomes her trepidation to meet with a man who needs her as much as she needs him. As their friendship develops, June uncovers family wounds and secrets, and things…get hairy.
Although this book is an Alex Award, it did not do as much for me as I would have expected. There were definitely things that I enjoyed: I really liked how the arc involving June’s relationship with Greta played out, as well as most of the family-related things. For anyone concerned about the relationship, it actually plays out fine and is not troublesome. My complaints originate from two things. The first is how much suspension of disbelief that I felt that Brunt expected from me. I know June is young, but I did not think a child in the 80s would be as naive or willing as she acts in the story. My other complaint is that the story is too dramatic. I know that story is supposed to have a lot of dramatic tension, but, for me, this one had too much to be really meaningful for me. I can’t point exactly to what strikes me as over-dramatic, but I will say that June did not strike me as a character who could generate that much and then solve it. Overall, I didn’t dislike the book, but it was not my absolute favorite.