Sarah Jio's Goodnight June is a beautiful, well written story that tugs at your heart.
"Sometimes I think of my life as a great big story. Each silly thing I do is a new paragraph. And each morning I turn to the next chapter. It's fun to think of life that way, each day being an adventure of the grandest proportions. If I can give you any advice, my dear, and I am unworthy, at best, to be doling out such wisdom, I might just say this: Whenever you're down on your luck, and when things aren't going the way you like, remember that you are the author of your own story. You can write it any way you like, with anyone you choose. And it can be a beautiful story or a sad and tragic one. You get to pick."― Sarah Jio, Goodnight June
Goodnight June opens with June Peterson dreaming of her happy place, a bookstore with emerald green walls, a fireplace and cozy chair. June awakens and finds herself in the hospital, not in her Aunt's book store. June is a single, thirty-something New York investment banker who specializes in foreclosure. She has high blood pressure and has been admitted to the hospital.
Declining medical treatment, June leaves the hospital and returns to her high pressure job. June comes home and learns she has inherited her aunt's children's bookstore which is on the brink of bankruptcy in Seattle, Washington. June decides to fly out to Seattle with the intent to settle her aunt's estate and sell the bookstore. June finds a letter from her Aunt Ruby which states that she has faith in June and "if anyone can save this store, it's you." The letter also mentions secrets and treasures. I enjoyed how the author revealed the secrets and treasures to the reader.
June finds letters from her aunt and children's author Margaret Wise Brown hidden throughout the store. Each letter reveals information about the two friends, their families, their love lives their work and most important a clue to the next set of letters.
The letters reveal that both Ruby and Margaret had complicated relationships with their sisters and June discovers more about her own family history. As June figures out each clue in her Aunt's scavenger hunt she learns more about her Aunt as well as about herself. The author does a fantastic job comparing and contrasting the characters of Ruby and June.
I enjoyed reading the letters written in the 1940's as each contained a life lesson and clue for June to discover and pursue. Each one of the novel's characters is well defined and plays an important role. June's story is one of self discovery and the reader wants her to push forward and reach for the stars or the moon!
I received a copy of this book from the Penguin First Reads program and highly recommend it.