My Jasper June
“This book is a treasure—a touching story of friendship, loss, and finding beauty in the everyday, with characters who stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page. I absolutely loved it.”—R. J. Palacio, New York Times bestselling author of WonderLaurel Snyder, author of Orphan Island, returns with another unforgettable story of the moments in which we find out who we are, and the life-altering friendships that show us what we can be.The school year is over, and it is summer in Atlanta. The sky is blue, the sun is blazing, and the days brim with possibility. But Leah feels. . . lost. She has been this way since one terrible afternoon a year ago, when everything changed. Since that day, her parents have become distant, her friends have fallen away, and Leah’s been adrift and alone.Then she meets Jasper, a girl unlike anyone she has ever known. There’s something mysterious about Jasper, almost magical. And Jasper, Leah discovers, is also lost. Together, the two girls carve out a place for themselves, a hideaway in the overgrown spaces of Atlanta, away from their parents and their hardships, somewhere only they can find.But as the days of this magical June start to draw to a close, and the darker realities of their lives intrude once more, Leah and Jasper have to decide how real their friendship is, and whether it can be enough to save them both.

My Jasper June Details

TitleMy Jasper June
Author
ReleaseSep 3rd, 2019
PublisherWalden Pond Press
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Fiction, Contemporary, Family

My Jasper June Review

  • Colby Sharp
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVED this book. Check out my video review. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSHOh...
  • Moriah
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book in a giveaway from Goodreads and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. This is the first YA novel I have read in awhile so it was refreshing. It talks about things that might be a little bit more taboo for kids including death and a child being homeless. This wasn't something where there were twists and turns, but the book really came all together at the end. I guess if I really had thought about it, this would be something that would be very predictable, but I won this book in a giveaway from Goodreads and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. This is the first YA novel I have read in awhile so it was refreshing. It talks about things that might be a little bit more taboo for kids including death and a child being homeless. This wasn't something where there were twists and turns, but the book really came all together at the end. I guess if I really had thought about it, this would be something that would be very predictable, but I was okay with that.It's a cute read about friendship, hard times and trying to get through those things.
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  • Michelle Simpson
    January 1, 1970
    I stayed up late reading this one because I could not put it down! Leah and her parents have struggled through the past year after he brother’s accidental death. Leah feels alone, with her friendships fading and a feeling of being mostly ignored by her parents. A few days into summer break Leah meets Jasper, who quickly becomes a friend and fills that deep dark hole that rests within Leah. She quickly finds that Jasper’s living situation is horrible, as she is staying in an old abandoned house. I stayed up late reading this one because I could not put it down! Leah and her parents have struggled through the past year after he brother’s accidental death. Leah feels alone, with her friendships fading and a feeling of being mostly ignored by her parents. A few days into summer break Leah meets Jasper, who quickly becomes a friend and fills that deep dark hole that rests within Leah. She quickly finds that Jasper’s living situation is horrible, as she is staying in an old abandoned house. It becomes Leah’s mission to help Jasper, although Jasper insists that her circumstances must be kept secret. As time passes, this secret becomes difficult, even impossible, to keep. When does truly helping a person take precedence over keeping your word? Early digital copy provided by Edelweiss.
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  • Sami
    January 1, 1970
    A summer story soaked in magic, My Jasper June is a beautiful exploration of friendship, loss, and family. Feeling neglected by her parents and lost in her own sadness, Leah finds an instant kindred spirit in Jasper and for the first time, begins to see the luster in life again. Jasper also knows a thing or two about abandonment, and as the girls bond over one magical summer, they realize they can't hide from reality forever. Luckily, Snyder is the perfect writer to tackle these tough subjects a A summer story soaked in magic, My Jasper June is a beautiful exploration of friendship, loss, and family. Feeling neglected by her parents and lost in her own sadness, Leah finds an instant kindred spirit in Jasper and for the first time, begins to see the luster in life again. Jasper also knows a thing or two about abandonment, and as the girls bond over one magical summer, they realize they can't hide from reality forever. Luckily, Snyder is the perfect writer to tackle these tough subjects and does so with astounding grace and brilliance. My Jasper June is soon to be a beloved classic of book clubs everywhere.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    Snyder's summery offering is another middle grade winner. In MY JASPER JUNE, two girls with problems much bigger than them find that the bonds of friendship empower them and enrich their lives. Snyder writes a unique kind of fiction that straddles the line between realism and fantasy, and this book is sure to please both kinds of readers.
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  • Cassie Thomas
    January 1, 1970
    A feel-good, magical story about a family’s experience with grief and all of the emotions that loss can exhume. Leah is a young girl trying to find her way after experiencing a devastating loss that she never thinks her family is going to come back from; and then she meets Jasper, a girl who becomes a sliver of light in their world of darkness. Jasper’s life isn’t typical in any way to Leah, but Leah slowly learns that normal is not a label she aspires her family to withhold. After her families A feel-good, magical story about a family’s experience with grief and all of the emotions that loss can exhume. Leah is a young girl trying to find her way after experiencing a devastating loss that she never thinks her family is going to come back from; and then she meets Jasper, a girl who becomes a sliver of light in their world of darkness. Jasper’s life isn’t typical in any way to Leah, but Leah slowly learns that normal is not a label she aspires her family to withhold. After her families loss she becomes aware that everything is forever different, and Jasper is the friend she needed to ensure her life is lived. A story of hope, friendship, and family.
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  • Pernille Ripp
    January 1, 1970
    There are good stories and then there are perfect stories, @laurelsnyder's new middle grade book is one that will sit in my heart for a long time and one that I hope others will find and love as well. Perhaps we all just need more stories to not feel broken, perhaps we all need to find our very own Jasper so we can remember how to live. Adding this to my best books of year list #pernillerecommends
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Holds interest -family dynamics post death in family-children fending for themselves -community -friendship -trying to fill a broken cup-
  • Elise
    January 1, 1970
    Ooh, I love the cover! The Orphan Island vibes are strong!
  • Rachel Watkins
    January 1, 1970
    When you're a kid it's so easy to feel isolated and alone. Especially when your family has suffered a loss like Leah's. Laurel Snyder has written a deeply beautiful book in MY JASPER JUNE that addresses tough topics in genuine and accessible ways. After an isolating school year, Leah finds herself aimlessly drifting through a boring summer in her Atlanta neighborhood. That is, until she meets Jasper. Their friendship changes Leah's life in big ways. Not only does Leah find the courage to address When you're a kid it's so easy to feel isolated and alone. Especially when your family has suffered a loss like Leah's. Laurel Snyder has written a deeply beautiful book in MY JASPER JUNE that addresses tough topics in genuine and accessible ways. After an isolating school year, Leah finds herself aimlessly drifting through a boring summer in her Atlanta neighborhood. That is, until she meets Jasper. Their friendship changes Leah's life in big ways. Not only does Leah find the courage to address the elephant in the room with her parents, but she learns to stand up for what is right. This is the type of book that could unlock a discussion on some difficult subjects with your young reader. Sometimes you just need an opening.
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  • Erin Varley
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book in record time. What a beautiful story of loss, of grieving, and of love.
  • Kristen
    January 1, 1970
    After reading and loving Orphan Island, I found myself instantly drawn to My Jasper June. When I started to read it, it drew me in - the story of a lonely girl named Leah looking for someone to connect with and running from the grief that has overtaken her household and changed her relationship with everyone she knows. Meeting Jasper is life-changing and I spent the book wondering if there was something truly magical about her character. She's able to transform Leah into a person with purpose an After reading and loving Orphan Island, I found myself instantly drawn to My Jasper June. When I started to read it, it drew me in - the story of a lonely girl named Leah looking for someone to connect with and running from the grief that has overtaken her household and changed her relationship with everyone she knows. Meeting Jasper is life-changing and I spent the book wondering if there was something truly magical about her character. She's able to transform Leah into a person with purpose and give her something to focus on that is new instead of dwelling on the past and the unfortunate accident. I've always struggled with the genre of magical realism but this book truly embodies that feeling - that there is something more to the story but at the same time not.I like the way Leah thinks and vocalizes the changes in her family. I think it's an important book for those struggling with loss, to realize it affects everyone differently. I loved the way the story was written and felt compelled to read it in one sitting.My only struggle was not knowing all the facts of what happened at the end of the book. There's no nitty gritty details and I shouldn't have expected it, but I felt like I had many questions about the change in situation and how everything came to be on the adult side of things. I know as a child I may not have had as many questions, but I wonder if a young reader would want to know what exactly happened to make this ending possible.Verdict:A beautiful story about friendship and family.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    EARC from Edelweiss PlusA perfect blend for middle grade readers- friendship, family, hard truths, and growing up! Laurel Snyder has created another amazing story that will leave readers with lots to discuss. Preorder this now- it is perfect for small group book clubs.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusIt's summer time, but Leah is bored. She's old enough that her parents let her stay home, but she isn't going to camp, her friends are gone, and she's just... bored. Her parents aren't interested in what she does, since they can barely drag themselves through the day after a tragedy that befell the family a year ago. When she is out in her suburban Atlanta neighborhood, looking for things to do, she meets a girl, Jasper. Jasper is trying to wash her clothes in a c E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusIt's summer time, but Leah is bored. She's old enough that her parents let her stay home, but she isn't going to camp, her friends are gone, and she's just... bored. Her parents aren't interested in what she does, since they can barely drag themselves through the day after a tragedy that befell the family a year ago. When she is out in her suburban Atlanta neighborhood, looking for things to do, she meets a girl, Jasper. Jasper is trying to wash her clothes in a creek, so Leah asks her home. The girls do laundry, have snacks, and hang out. For the first time, Leah feels normal and happy. Jasper doesn't know her past, so doesn't ask questions. For a while after that, the girls don't see each other, and when they do meet again, Leah finds out that Jasper doesn't like to accept help. She sees Jasper's living situation, which is an abandoned shack, and learns a bit about her life. Jasper learns Leah's secret as well, but the girls get along well, and are glad to have someone with whom to spend the long summer days. When she finds out the full truth about Jasper's circumstances, Leah is afraid for her and wants to tell her parents, although she has promised not to. Eventually, Jasper does visit, gets along well with Leah's parents, and even restores them to their former involved selves a little bit. When Jasper needs Leah and her family's help, will they be able to provide it? (Trying not to spoil some of the plot elements.)Strengths: Jasper's home reminded me a little of the shell house in Edward's Mandy, so it was interesting that Leah saw it as a kind of playhouse but it was really more serious. Jasper's circumstances are laid out in a very believable way. The friendship is a relief to both girls, and middle grade readers will relate to the idea of finding someone who lets them be themselves, despite the things that have gone on in their lives. Snyder's writing is always very vividly descriptive, easy to read, and innovative. Weaknesses: I'm not a fan of grief being portrayed in a way that makes the characters seem completely devastated and unable to go on, especially when parents stop caring for living children. Leah mentions having been in therapy briefly; clearly, the entire family needed to go. What I really think: Snyder's work doesn't circulate well in my library even though I love some of her titles, so I will probably not purchase this. Portraying grieving parents like this is personally hurtful to me; I just can't. The public library has a copy on order, and they deliver directly to my school.
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  • Marzie
    January 1, 1970
    Author Laurel Snyder's (Orphan Island) latest middle grade novel, My Jasper June tackles some serious topics including sibling death, grief, teen homelessness, and family dysfunction. Telling the story through the eyes of Leah and her friend Jasper, we see their friendship find ways to heal something broken in each of them. Snyder does a find job of giving us a poignant look at the ways children grieve their losses and struggle to express their fears. This is a touching novel that exposes childr Author Laurel Snyder's (Orphan Island) latest middle grade novel, My Jasper June tackles some serious topics including sibling death, grief, teen homelessness, and family dysfunction. Telling the story through the eyes of Leah and her friend Jasper, we see their friendship find ways to heal something broken in each of them. Snyder does a find job of giving us a poignant look at the ways children grieve their losses and struggle to express their fears. This is a touching novel that exposes children to ways in which their peers may struggle silently. It's also a good reminder that talking about loss is vital to the wellbeing of those who have lost loved ones or family. Failing to connect out of fear can just leave someone you care about isolated and suffering further feelings of loss.I received a paper Advanced Review Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jessika
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Walden Pond Press for the free ARC of this book! This does not affect my opinion presented here in this review.The best way I can think to describe this book is to say that if you've been searching for a kindred spirit ever since Anne of Green Gables, look no further than My Jasper June. This was one of the most moving books I've read this summer and perfectly exemplifies why middle grade is a genre worth the read for both children and adults alike. I simply did not want to put this Thank you to Walden Pond Press for the free ARC of this book! This does not affect my opinion presented here in this review.The best way I can think to describe this book is to say that if you've been searching for a kindred spirit ever since Anne of Green Gables, look no further than My Jasper June. This was one of the most moving books I've read this summer and perfectly exemplifies why middle grade is a genre worth the read for both children and adults alike. I simply did not want to put this lovely read down. My heart alternately ached and soared for these characters--Leah, Leah's parents, and Jasper. I feel like Snyder truly brought them to life--they feel so real to me. She perfectly nailed the inner workings and thought processes of a teenager--I felt so nostalgic reading this. And it was just so special to watch Leah and Jasper's friendship bloom. We have all been there at some point--finding that bosom friend who fills in our gaps. I can't reiterate enough--Jasper is like a modern-day Anne. If you are looking for a heartfelt, touching read, I highly recommend My Jasper June. It is, without a doubt, one of the best middle grade releases of 2019.
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  • Mortisha Cassavetes
    January 1, 1970
    This was a very heart touching book that talks about some hard issues including abuse, neglect, depression, grief and even death but it is definitely worth the read. The story follows Leah, a young girl who recently lost her brother and is not only trying to cope with her own issues regarding his death but a mom and dad that are devastated mentally. Leah finds out that she will not be going to camp this summer and so she tries to fill her day with things to do until she meets Jasper, a young gir This was a very heart touching book that talks about some hard issues including abuse, neglect, depression, grief and even death but it is definitely worth the read. The story follows Leah, a young girl who recently lost her brother and is not only trying to cope with her own issues regarding his death but a mom and dad that are devastated mentally. Leah finds out that she will not be going to camp this summer and so she tries to fill her day with things to do until she meets Jasper, a young girl that is new in town. They soon become fast friends but both girls are plagued with things from the past. I don't want to go into the story more as to not spoil it but I highly recommend it.
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    Everything changed last summer, when Leah's little brother passed away. No one talks to her like they used to, not even her parents. This summer, Jasper appears out of nowhere-- new to town, she doesn't know about Leah's family, doesn't treat her with fragility. Jasper's got some secrets of her own... My Jasper June is a sweet story about the beginnings of an everlasting friendship and healing after more than one kind of family loss.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    I got an ARC of this book from some wonderful people at nerdcampmi. I teach 8th grade ELAR and this will be my first read aloud this year. We are focusing on respect and empathy and this novel highlights both. It won’t be released until early September, but I highly recommend preordering it NOW!!
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  • Bhavini
    January 1, 1970
    If we could do half stars, I'd truly give this 4.5.In so many parts of this book, I just wanted to hug Leah and Jasper. Putting myself in their age definitely helped relate to them more. (Advance Reader's Edition was received. Opinions all my own)
  • Melissa Biehl
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book in 24 hours, that is how amazing it is! This story is about friendship, family belonging and healing after trauma. A book that will stay with me for always!
  • Pam Page
    January 1, 1970
    Readers cannot help but love Jasper, a "girl unlike anyone" who befriends Leah, a girl who needs a friend to help her heal and understand her grieving. Jasper's past is tragic and heartbreaking and yet she is the uplifting and "magical" friend Leah needs. The two girls form a bond immediately but what they discover is they cannot leave their problems behind. A great story of friendship, overcoming and living with hardship, and learning that others' problems can be equally as difficult as your ow Readers cannot help but love Jasper, a "girl unlike anyone" who befriends Leah, a girl who needs a friend to help her heal and understand her grieving. Jasper's past is tragic and heartbreaking and yet she is the uplifting and "magical" friend Leah needs. The two girls form a bond immediately but what they discover is they cannot leave their problems behind. A great story of friendship, overcoming and living with hardship, and learning that others' problems can be equally as difficult as your own. I was so happy with the ending (secretly had hoped it would end that way!).
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  • Jonathan Auxier
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this book!
  • Munro's Kids
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVED Orphan Island, and was so excited to read Laurel Snyder's follow-up novel. There are a few things in common between the two:- The emotional core. Snyder is incredible at extracting a character's innermost being, and displaying it on the page. She has an uncanny ability to get all the complexities of adolescence: all the fears, anxieties, hopes, dreams, attitudes, etc. She nails it again here.- Magical realism, although far less apparent here than in Orphan Island.Still, I didn't love it. I LOVED Orphan Island, and was so excited to read Laurel Snyder's follow-up novel. There are a few things in common between the two:- The emotional core. Snyder is incredible at extracting a character's innermost being, and displaying it on the page. She has an uncanny ability to get all the complexities of adolescence: all the fears, anxieties, hopes, dreams, attitudes, etc. She nails it again here.- Magical realism, although far less apparent here than in Orphan Island.Still, I didn't love it. It's not the book's fault. Orphan Island was so incredibly imaginative and inventive that I tried hard not to compare the two, because it's just not fair on My Jasper June. The plot is something I've read a dozen times: two friends meet and try to hide their tragic backstories from each other, but of course the truth comes out and they're forced to deal with their own demons while trying to help the other out at the same time. It's a good plot. It's just not a particularly unique one, and it left me wanting more. I also didn't love the ending, with everything basically tied up in a neat little bow. I was hoping for something more ambiguous, even though the characters would have suffered for it (does that make me a bad person?).I would still recommend this book, and I think the girls' backstories could create a lot of conversation about issues that a lot of kids face.
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  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    Still reeling from a family tragedy, Leah befriends a mysterious girl named Jasper at the beginning of the summer."We were broken. Our family was cracked all the way through, like Mom's dumb coffee mug."Leah's family suffered a terrible tragedy when(view spoiler)[ Leah's younger brother accidentally drowned at summer camp the previous year (hide spoiler)], and she and her parents have been silently and separately grieving. (view spoiler)[Sam's death (hide spoiler)] also caused a rift between Lea Still reeling from a family tragedy, Leah befriends a mysterious girl named Jasper at the beginning of the summer."We were broken. Our family was cracked all the way through, like Mom's dumb coffee mug."Leah's family suffered a terrible tragedy when(view spoiler)[ Leah's younger brother accidentally drowned at summer camp the previous year (hide spoiler)], and she and her parents have been silently and separately grieving. (view spoiler)[Sam's death (hide spoiler)] also caused a rift between Leah and her friends who, unsure of how to react and what to say, drew back, isolating her even further. Because she isn't going to camp this summer, her parents decide Leah is old enough to be allowed to stay home alone. One day while wandering around the neighborhood, she meets a girl named Jasper. After a few more chance encounters, they become friends, and Leah discovers the terrible secret Jasper has been hiding. (view spoiler)[Jasper is a homeless teenager who ran away from her sister's house where she had been placed after her mother lost custody of her. (hide spoiler)] Leah finds incredible comfort in her relationship with Jasper, and for the first time since (view spoiler)[her brother's death (hide spoiler)], she feels like herself again and can act like a normal teen. Because Jasper never knew her before, Leah can be free with her in a way that she can't be with her older friends. As the danger of Jasper's situation increases, so does Leah's anxiety about her friend, and it becomes clear that Jasper won't be able to handle things on her own for much longer. Eventually, Leah's parents find out what is going on and set about resolving things like the grownups they are."I wanted to write about the dangers of silence and the secrets kids keep. I wanted to write about pain and how friendships -- real friendships -- can ease that pain." -- Author's AcknowledgementsThis is a powerful story about loss, grief, and the healing power of friendships. It is an honest and raw exploration of the grieving process. It's also about how young people try to help their friends by keeping their secrets and the dangers therein."Above all, I wanted to write about how strong kids can be, and how grown-ups often underestimate their experiences. I wanted to tell a story about how sometimes kids step in and do the work their parents can't, for each other. And, in doing so, create their own chosen families." -- Author's AcknowledgementsThis story shows how children and young adults often shoulder adult burdens and responsibilities. It also demonstrates how sometimes they are the ones who are able to take the first step, which allows the adults to finally join in. The book cuts through so much bright-sided BS that pervades popular culture, which I absolutely loved. When Leah responds to Jasper's account of her truly horrible home and family situation by telling her that it's good that all those things happened because otherwise they would never have met and become friends, Jasper immediately shuts her down. She essentially says that there is no silver lining to (view spoiler)[having a non-functional alcoholic mother, a bio daddy who bailed on her as an infant, and a sister whose husband is a wife beater, and if that's the price of their friendship, then it's not worth it. She then points out that if Leah's brother hadn't drowned at summer camp last year, Leah would have been at camp, so they never would have met, but their friendship isn't worth the cost of his death either, (hide spoiler)]which makes Leah see the absurdity in such a statement. I was ecstatic at this. Finally, someone was refusing to go along with the myth that abuse and suffering are justified since they made a person who s/he is now or brought him/her to the place s/he is now. Suffering is spirit-crushing rather than ennobling. All the platitudes about how adversity and negative experiences make one stronger are hurtful, condescending, and untrue when it comes to real hardship. Years of abuse and neglect aren't redeemed if and when a person arrives at a better place. That's nonsense. Jasper could have become a mature, self-reliant, resourceful person if she hadn't(view spoiler)[had an alcoholic mother and a completely absent biological father and been privy to domestic violence. (hide spoiler)] It is is reprehensible to suggest that her lifetime of trauma was necessary to make her the person she is now or bring her to her current location, and I was happy that Jasper didn't stand for it.The author did a fabulous job of showing how sometimes when someone needs "help," people don't "help" in the way that person wants. Jasper (view spoiler)[was the child of an alcoholic, and when her mother's inability to care for her was reported to child protective services, Jasper was removed from the home and placed with her older half-sister (hide spoiler)]. It's a harsh truth that adults can't always fix a problem, and sometimes the solution is not always what a child would want. Even well-intentioned people can sometimes make a situation worse.Children would usually prefer to stay in a home where there is abuse and/or neglect than be placed with a relative or foster family. Often placements are not ideal. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. Jasper just went from one set of problems to another. Jasper resents responsible adults for "helping," but what she can't understand is that they were forced to act both out of conscience and because of mandatory reporting laws. They also couldn't foresee what would happen after the report of child neglect was investigated. Perhaps, if they had known that there was no good alternative placement for Jasper, the non-mandatory reporters would have tried to "help" in other ways than alerting the authorities.It was a fantastic moment when Leah finally understood that keeping Jasper's secret wasn't the way to help her and tells her parents what it is really going on. Young readers need to see scenes play out like this. They need to know that they're not betraying their friend to "tell a responsible adult," that some secrets aren't meant to be kept, and that keeping secrets won't protect a person. Sometimes things are too big for young people to handle on their own, and one has to tell an authority figure for someone's own good and just let that person be mad or, in teenage terms, "never forgive you and hate you forever." I was really disappointed that Leah's father didn't call the 24-hour child protective services hotline then and there. The situation galvanized Leah's parents into action. For the first time in the past year, Leah witnessed them at their most competent adult selves rather than minimally the present "ghosts" whom she resented. I wanted the author to go all-in instead of backpedaling and having Mr. and Mrs. Davidson to decide to sleep on it when the gravity of the situation struck them. The story was set up to have them do something decisive, to show Leah that they still had the strength to act in a crisis, to restore her faith in their ability to function, but instead story's trajectory screeched to a halt at this very moment and then abruptly detoured into something. A more satisfactory ending would have seen Jasper (view spoiler)[sent to live with her biological father in Ohio or placed with a non-relative foster family in a nearby community. Leah's mother perfectly outlines why their taking her in is not feasible. She also raises the issue that Jasper's previous trauma will make her likely to act out in a destructive manner. I appreciated that she busted the myth that all children with troubled pasts need is love and a good home, and then they'll be perfectly fine. Histories of trauma affect people in profound and often very negative ways. Leah's mother very clearly articulated that Jasper, as wonderful as she is, and all the potential problems that fostering her would entail were something that she and Leah's father were unequipped to handle. (hide spoiler)] But then she abruptly gave in to the fairy tale ending, which was unexpected change of direction.This story also acknowledges that grief changes a person. When Leah had the epiphany that her friends hadn't changed after (view spoiler)[Sam's death (hide spoiler)], that she was the one who changed, she finally understood that loss changes people. No one is the person s/he was before. This put Leah on the verge of realizing that her parents may never be the "funny and weird" people they were before and that her expectations for them to return to normal were unrealistic. 50% of relationships do not survive the death of a child, and I loved how honest the author was in showing the toll their loss had taken on Leah's parents' marriage. They had turned away from each other as they grieved. But they were also reconnecting as the new people they were now. And Leah was slowing becoming aware that her parents had a relationship with each other part from her.The moment when a child realizes his/her parents are real adult people is life-changing, but the story touches the surface of this at multiple points before skating on to something else. When Jasper pointed out that Leah's mother might be sad but that she wasn't a "ghost", Leah seemed on track to understand that her parents were human beings with inner lives that extended beyond their roles as parents. Paul and Rachel Davidson were people who had (view spoiler)[lost a child (hide spoiler)] and who were still actively grieving. When Leah witnesses her father crying alone in the garage, she almost has a moment of revelation. It almost dawns on her that her father was also an individual whose role as a father was only one part of who he is. He is (view spoiler)[not only a father who lost a child. He is also a man who lost a son, his only son. Because a man's son is a reflection of himself as well as the embodiment of his dreams for the future, this is a profound loss (hide spoiler)]. Seeing his raw grief softens Leah's anger towards her parents, and it seemed like Leah was on the road to grasping that her parents were entitled to grieve however they need to for as long as they need to instead of how she thought they should. It was almost the tipping point for Leah to understand that she didn't have a right to expect her parents to just snap out of it. The grieving process can last a lot time, and it is different for everyone. As the story built towards its climax, it looked like Leah, having stepped into the final phase of grief herself, was going to lead her parents from depression (stage 4) to acceptance (stage 5). I thought she was going to the first to establish their family's new normal. But instead,(view spoiler)[ she convinces her parents to assume custody of Jasper and give Jasper her brother's old bedroom. Jasper just takes Sam's place. The family's grief over Sam's death magically disappears, Jasper sends out text message olive branches to her mother and sister, and everyone lives happily ever after. (hide spoiler)]This is a powerful story dealing with grief, loss, guilt, friendship, dangerous secrets, and situations with no-win solutions. I really loved this book up until the final two chapters when it descended into wish fulfillment. The ending ruined it for me. I am at at loss at the sudden U-turn. The resolution was so jarring and unanticipated that I couldn't reconcile it with the rest of the story up to that point. But I can understand why the author chose to have an unrealistically happy ending after the story's very realistic exploration of grief and trauma. This is also exactly the resolution that the target tween and teen audience would want. As Harvey Milk said, "You gotta give 'em hope." So, why not pull the last punch at the very end?
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  • Shirley Freeman
    January 1, 1970
    Leah and her family are trying to cope in their own ways with their tragic loss a year ago. Leah meets Jasper, another lost soul whose family is broken in differently than hers. Their friendship helps both girls in unexpected ways. This is a sweet middle reader with sad undertones.
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  • Megan Schmelzer
    January 1, 1970
    Open Book Reviews by Megan Schmelzerwww.openbookreviews.orgI have been a huge fan of the author, Laurel Snyder since she wowed me with her novel, Orphan Island. It is one of those books that I oftentimes find myself thinking about and comparing other books too in regards to Laurel Snyder's creativity and just sheer talent as a writer. I have read Orphan Island several times, and I know I am that I will be nowhere near done with reading that book anytime soon. When Laurel Snyder’s newest novel, M Open Book Reviews by Megan Schmelzerwww.openbookreviews.orgI have been a huge fan of the author, Laurel Snyder since she wowed me with her novel, Orphan Island. It is one of those books that I oftentimes find myself thinking about and comparing other books too in regards to Laurel Snyder's creativity and just sheer talent as a writer. I have read Orphan Island several times, and I know I am that I will be nowhere near done with reading that book anytime soon. When Laurel Snyder’s newest novel, My Jasper June, arrived at my house with a request to review. It immediately got my attention. I was dying to sit down and bust the pages open immediately. I knew if it was anything close to Orphan Island, then I was about to be immersed in something magical. Let me tell you, My Jasper June floored me. I thought there was no way that Laurel Snyder could top Orphan Island for me, but she did. My Jasper June was absolute perfection. I devoured every single word, and I am honored to be able to share this review with all of you.My Jasper June is a story of an unlikely friendship between two girls named Leah and Jasper. Through a chance encounter, the girls run into each other at a creek one summer day. Their connection is immediate and strong. It is one neither girl seems to be able to shake off, yet one that both girls so desperately seem to need.Leah’s life is in shambles. After the tragic death of her brother, her parents are walking shadows of the people they once were. Her friends are no longer around, and no one in town seems to know how to talk with Leah now that she is the girl with the dead brother. She is alone always, and every day the ache of loneliness seems to drift her further and further into her grief.Jasper is as fiery as her wild red hair. She faces her life with energy and strength. However, Jasper is holding herself together by a thread and she is doing everything she can to hide her real truth from everyone around her, including her new friend, Leah.It doesn’t take long for both girls to realize they are in too deep. Things become desperate as they aim to find a way to save themselves from their problems and preserve their friendship that they both have come to depend upon. My Jasper June is a story full of complexity, twists, and turns. Readers will find themselves immersed with these characters’ lives from the moment they meet them both. The relatability, yet also tragicness, of these two girls will cause you to not only become their biggest fans, but also one that will ache when you find out the truth behind both their stories. It is with my top recommendation that I share My Jasper June with you. This is a novel that one will find leaves an imprint on your heart. Check out My Jasper June to see for yourself! I promise you; you will not be able to put this one down!
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  • Candice
    January 1, 1970
    Growing (and still if I'm being honest) I loved the idea of a secret, magical place in the woods. Not fairytale-magic but real magic--where anything is possible. This book had that and I loved it for it.It also has grief. Oh, my goodness, the brokenness in this book. As a parent, at points I had to put it down, it was too much for me. But there was always enough hope for me to pick it back up. Such an important book on resurfacing from tragedy, about how friendships can help you find yourself. T Growing (and still if I'm being honest) I loved the idea of a secret, magical place in the woods. Not fairytale-magic but real magic--where anything is possible. This book had that and I loved it for it.It also has grief. Oh, my goodness, the brokenness in this book. As a parent, at points I had to put it down, it was too much for me. But there was always enough hope for me to pick it back up. Such an important book on resurfacing from tragedy, about how friendships can help you find yourself. The Leonard Cohen quote at the beginning of the novel sums it up perfectly: "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."
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  • Emily Tyler
    January 1, 1970
    5 stars!I adore this book. It is the perfect balance of heartbreaking, adorable, and whimsical for the middle grade audience, and really, for anyone.This book is strictly a contemporary, but the word choice, symbolism, and setting create a magical energy. I am honestly surprised that there is no element of magical realism because that's the vibe this book gives, and the ability to create this tone in an exclusively real world is incredible. Coupled with the heavy themes this book handles, the to 5 stars!I adore this book. It is the perfect balance of heartbreaking, adorable, and whimsical for the middle grade audience, and really, for anyone.This book is strictly a contemporary, but the word choice, symbolism, and setting create a magical energy. I am honestly surprised that there is no element of magical realism because that's the vibe this book gives, and the ability to create this tone in an exclusively real world is incredible. Coupled with the heavy themes this book handles, the tone makes the book a little lighter and much less bleak.I love both Leah and Jasper and their friendship. I have a friend who I met and quickly became very close to, who knows most of what I consider to be the worst parts of me, and I saw our friendship in Jasper and Leah. These girls would do anything for each other. I also like that Snyder also includes a strained friendship to demonstrate to readers that our best friends will not always be our best friends, but we will always make new friends who we will love just as much. My favorite theme in this book is acknowledging that bad things happen, but we can live fearlessly in spite of them. Jasper says, "Just because things are hard doesn't mean life isn't still full of good things." Both of the girls have dealt with their own traumas, but they trust each other and take the risk of forming a friendship. This is the book I needed to read right now.I feel like kids are told to "look at the bright side" and never say that they're hurting, no matter what has happened, or that someone else has it worse. Adults put on this act that pain isn't real or that it's a choice. My other favorite quote is, "It isn't a contest, pain. And sometimes, you can't make it go away, no matter what you do. You just have to carry it around, you know?" I had to put my book down for a moment because this simple line struck me so hard. This story deals so head-on with grief and does not shy away from depicting any of the aspects. It's sad, it's beautiful, and I think it's going to change lives and mean a lot to people. I know it meant a lot to me.
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  • Robin Hoffman
    January 1, 1970
    There is nothing like the magic of an unexpected friend and that’s what we have between Leah and Jasper. Laurel Snyder builds a deeply rich narrative that is delightful and compelling. Families come in all shapes and sizes, none of them perfect. Readers will identify with both girls and will be rooting for them. A delicious read!
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