Thursday, March 13, 2014
Book Review: Chasing June by Shannen Crane Camp (Whitney Finalist 2013)
Author: Shannen Crane Camp
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Source: Digital Copy
This book would be rated: PG
June and Joseph, who we met in Camp's previous novel, Finding June, have now been dating for the last two years. June's taken a leave from her hit TV show, Forensic Files, and they are heading to Provo to start at BYU. The only problem? Joseph has broken up with June, even though they're perfect for each other, because he wants to get ready for his mission. June is lonely and jealous, and they both have a hard time navigating being "just friends" after their time together, especially when they're both being pursued by other people.
I've now been reading for the Whitney Awards for four or five years, and one of the things that never seems to change about them is that there are lots of books that are parts of a series. Sometimes, the author does a great job giving new readers the necessary backstory and making them feel like they have the information they need to enjoy the novel in front of them. Sometimes the books have a satisfying conclusion, even when the author anticipates that there will be future books in the series. This book, fell short on both counts. A new reader would have a hard time appreciating June and Joseph's relationship, and would know virtually nothing about Ryan, the guy who comes courting in the second half of the novel (who plays a supporting role in the first book). The book didn't conclude so much as leave a reader hanging. I did like how Camp painted a picture (accurate, if sometimes painful) of life at BYU. I know that some of June's roommates are painted to look pathetic, but June can also appear whiny, insecure and plagued by some of the Mormon cultural conventions as well. I had fun reading this one, but I'm not sure it will be popular with readers who haven't read the first novel.