Nick and June Were Here

Nick and June Were Here

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Age Range
12+
Release Date
February 12, 2019
ISBN
9780399556586
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Nick and June were best friends for years, until their relationship suddenly turned into something more. Now, June is coping with a new diagnosis of schizophrenia, a secret she asked Nick to keep for too long. Between managing her symptoms and her parents, June is just trying to keep it together. Nick is a reluctant car thief, supporting his aunt with the money and focusing on his art whenever he can. But when June's condition sends her to the hospital and Nick's latest crime threatens to land him in prison, the two decide to run away. When the world is trying to tear them apart, can Nick and June find a way to stay together?

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Overall rating 
 
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Plot 
 
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Characters 
 
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Writing Style 
 
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Emotionally gripping YA romance

Shalanda Stanley's DROWNING IS INEVITABLE is one of my top underappreciated books, so I was thrilled to receive a copy of Stanley's sophomore title, NICK AND JUNE WERE HERE. Nick and June have been together for years- first as friends, then as something more. June struggles with schizophrenia, an untreated mental illness she's been trying to pretend isn't a problem. Nick and his aunt struggle with poverty, leading Nick to steal cars for cash to pay the bills. As their issues grow bigger and threaten to force them apart, they start to think the only solution is to run away...

Nick and June had my heart from the first chapter. Both are trying so hard to make everything okay, to keep their families from worrying. They put immense pressure on themselves to solve everything and feel their options are limited- if options exist at all. Anyone who has struggled with poverty will immediately connect to Nick's dilemma and understand how helpless amounting overdue bills and eviction notices can make you feel. On June's side, knowing something is wrong inside is absolutely terrifying, especially when you don't know what to do or where to go for help.

On the romance side, Stanley does what the best romance writers do: creates a situation that truly seems impossible to result in a positive ending. I was clenching my book so tightly by the last chapter, not knowing what was best for Nick or June or what would come of them. All in all, the conclusion was highly satisfying and also realistic. I may or may not have been tearing up many times throughout their journey.

Combining intense emotion, powerful love, and dramatic odds, NICK AND JUNE WERE HERE is a perfect addition to shelves alongside Katie McGarry and Emery Lord.

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