The characters were real. Not a single one of them was perfect (in a nothing is wrong with them way). Harper feels guilty for not seeing that her "perfect" sister was about to commit suicide. She was the one who found her sister, and is now angry at June for not even leaving a note to explain why. Harper's best friend, Laney, is always there for Harper, no matter what. And after Harper's mother and her judgmental aunt aren't there for her like she needs them to be, she turns to Laney to help her figure out how to get June's ashes to California (June wanted to move there). At the wake, Harper meets Jake, a boy she's never seen before, and she wonders why he is there. When Jake insists that he drive Laney and Harper across the country to California, she agrees.
The road trip was written perfectly. I enjoyed how the road trip wasn't rushed, they three of them took their time, seeing sights, eating local foods, even participating in a protest in Chicago. I certainly enjoyed the stop in St. Louis very much since that is where I'm from! :) As they cross the country, Jake and Harper start to form something more and Harper must decide if she knows him well enough to trust him with her heart.
I thought the story had a wonderful pace and when it ended, I didn't want it to. Harper's story is a heart felt, gut wrenching coming of age story. By far the best contemporary book I've read! You need to read this book!