Thursday, April 11, 2013

Book Review: Finding June by Shannen Crane Camp (Whitney Finalist)

Title: Finding June
Author: Shannen Crane Camp
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Whitney Finalist
This book would be rated: PG

When I started reading the Whitney finalists four years ago, the YA category was widely considered to be the strongest of the bunch (although I know some would argue that it's the Speculative category). Since that time, the category was split into YA General and YA Speculative, and then again into middle grades. I expected to be left with all kinds of bildungsroman (in the vein of Kristen Chandler's Wolves, Boys, and Other Things that Might Kill Me) or gritty soul-searching books like those by Carol Lynch Williams. But four of the five books in the category (I haven't read the fifth) are teen romances, and I've felt underwhelmed by the category as a whole. That said, here goes with the review of this book:

Finding June is the kind of escapist fantasy I can imagine my daughter loving. June is an aspiring actress, a junior in high school with a dead mom and a dad who is always gone on business. She lives with her kooky grandma, and somehow manages to land a recurring role on a tv show. But this brings its own sets of problems-- she's totally gaga over the leading man on the show, but there's also Joseph to consider. Joseph has been her best friend since forever, and while it's obvious to everyone that he's been in love with her his whole life, June remains oblivious because it suits her purposes. I think the characters and the LDS issues are a lot more interesting than the story itself in this one. Camp does a nice job with descriptions and seems to have a lot of insider knowledge about acting, but the whole love triangle aspect fell a little flat for me. I understand that Camp was going for June coming to some realizations about herself, but the good guy/bad guy felt painted with awfully broad brushstrokes.

1 comment:

Melanie Jacobson said...

Okay, between you and me, I was a judge for this category, and I'll tell you right now that some of these finalists are NOT how I wanted to see this go down. Having said that, as far as I can tell, you've got two good ones coming up in this category.