It seems like the top choice curse to bestow a girl in YA is for whomever she meets/love/kisses TO DIE.
Unless, you know, it’s trrruuuuuueeee love. Then the universe was just kidding.
So you can say I had very low expectations and this book barely managed to clear it. The ending is entirely predictable. Why else would two families despise each other for generations unless it has something to do with Shakespeare.
Yet, what A Million Junes really has going for it are the characters. They’re funny, authentic, and flawed. June is an unambitious girl who feels left behind with a best friend planning to leave and never come back after high school ends. Saul is pretty icky and should stop hanging around high schoolers but at least he’s self aware. It could have gone wrong so fast with an age gap romance, people ending up with the wrong person, and falling into rivers that may kill you. Damn, now that I think about it, I just referenced Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Hamlet.
To be fair, the world has originality as it incorporates magic in a way that’s not obnoxious and pretentious. Often, the second half of the curse is the girl’s supernatural beauty so as to entice boys she can’t have. Or a mystical elder in the family that takes the curse too seriously but never fucking explains why it exists. So we’re left doubting if it’s even real, only to see that it is but the kiss was so damn awesome that the gods decided to make an exception. I guess you can tell by now that I’m not fond of magical realism as it sorely neglects the realistic aspect to help me suspend my disbelief.
Recommended to people who are jaded about fated love but it’s still their guilty pleasure.