It’s finally the last day of school, but Leah has a long summer looming ahead, with no camp or vacation plans. With boredom starting from day one, she’s aimless in her attempts to stay afloat during the long, hot summer days. She sleeps in, wanders from the kitchen to the couch in pajamas and clicks through the TV channels.
One day, boredom gets the best of her, and she puts on actual clothes and leaves the house. At the nearby creek, she sees a girl with a beautiful mop of huge, curly red hair, lounging on a big rock. The girl looks luminous in the light, and Leah is at first afraid to speak. From a distance, Jasper breaks the ice, introducing herself and explaining that she’s new to the area. But there’s a lot about Jasper that Leah doesn’t know.
Grief plays a prominent role in both girls’ lives. They both have their own secrets, and only time will tell if their newfound friendship will be enough to withstand them. Author Laurel Snyder (Orphan Island) pens a gorgeous yet realistic story about the struggles that a friendship endures when secrets verge into dangerous territory.
Tackling issues of grief, homelessness, alcoholism and abuse, My Jasper June is appropriate for mature young teens. The issues are intense and the consequences realistic, but they’re handled sensitively, making the novel a good fit for readers ready to explore such themes.