Wow! I haven’t read a book this good in a long time. In fact, this is so good that I can’t give it a 4.0. Does this sound familiar? Do you remember that I said the same thing when I finished The Language of Flowers? Well, Goodnight June, by Sarah Jio, isn’t a 4.5 or a 4.25. But it’s not a 4.0 either. I won't insult you with a 4.125. So let’s just call it a 4.0+. And be watching for a new list of 4.0+s coming soon to your local blog.
I really liked everything about this book, from the 1st sentence of page 1 - and every sentence and page thereafter. I won't even go to Goodreads for a recap. I’ll do it myself: June Anderson grew up in Seattle and had a pretty rough childhood. She got through it because of her younger sister (by 4 years), Amy, and her great-aunt, Ruby. Her mom was a disaster, and her father was never in the picture. And, most importantly, she spent a lot of her time in Ruby’s children’s bookstore, Bluebird Books. But despite her connection to Ruby and the bookstore, June bailed 1st chance she got. And she ended up in downtown New York, working for a bank as a 35-year old VP, a rising star. Her specialty? Foreclosing on small businesses, like Bluebird Books, and putting independent business owners out of business. Then one day she gets back to her apartment (which she owns), goes through her mail, and discovers that Ruby has passed away and left her bookstore and assets to June. It had been so long since she had been in touch with her great-aunt that she didn’t even know she was sick. June has no choice but to tell her very demanding boss that she needs to go to Seattle and settle her great-aunt’s affairs. Her intention is to sell the bookstore and the assets and get back to NY as soon as she can. Needless to say, it doesn't quite work out that way.
You know how sometimes I’ll list the things that I like about a book? Well, this time I’m going to list what I REALLY like about this book. Because I truly did REALLY like everything about it. Here I go (please bear with me because there is a bunch of stuff):
- I REALLY like a story about books and bookstores - automatically.
- I REALLY like the multiple romances - they all ring true.
- I REALLY like the fictionalization of the story of how Goodnight Moon (get it? - Goodnight June?) got written.
- I REALLY like the made-up letters between Ruby and Margaret Wise Brown (author of Goodnight Moon).
- I REALLY like having a bunch of well-known authors inserted into the story.
- I REALLY like the emotional connection I had with just about all of the characters and most of the one-on-ones (e.g. June with her friend Peter; June with Ruby; June with potential love interest Gavin; June with her sister Amy; June with Gavin's ex Adrianna; even June with her bank boss Arthur; and, of course, Ruby with Anthony).
- I REALLY like all of the tears I shed, the chills I got, the big smiles I smiled.
- I REALLY like the reference to The Princess Bride and James and the Giant Peach, among others of my favorites in pop and literary culture.
- I REALLY like that the Author's Note that tells us about Margaret Wise Brown and Goodnight Moon comes right at the beginning of the book.
- I REALLY like that the author makes me want to learn more about Margaret Wise Brown.
I’m stopping at 10. But let me mention a few more things:
- This book reminds me of Beth Hoffman’s books - Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and Looking for Me. And you know how much I like those two.
- I want to thank my Goodreads friend, Melissa, for making me read this. She practically insisted.
- I had another takeaway, similar to the one I just got from Breathless in Love. This one is: Keep in touch with your loved ones - both family and friends. If you don’t, events can occur which will make you sorry you didn’t.
I’m going to stop now. Have I exhausted everything I have to say? Nope. But I don’t want you to see the length of this sucker and decide it's too long to read. Whether you read this blog or not, though, please read the book. You might not pay public homage to me. But privately you will be singing my praises. I think it’s that good.