Sarah Jio's novel, Goodnight June, is for anyone who loves bookstores, particularly children's bookstores. If you care about the future of bookstores and children reading, you should read this. If you're still angry that The Shop Around the Corner closed in the movie You've Got Mail, you'll want to cheer for June Andersen in this book. If you remember Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon with fondness, you'll appreciate the story. (Can you tell I loved this book?)
June Andersen is a thirty-five-year-old driven banker in New York City whose job is taking a toll on her health. But, she's unwilling to take time for herself until she receives word that her great-aunt Ruby died and left her Bluebird Books, a children's bookstore in Seattle. Bluebird Books and Ruby were June's refuge from a traumatic childhood with a troubled mother, but June can't afford to be nostalgic. She flies to Seattle, determined to sell the bookstore, settle the estate, and return to her busy NYC life. However, Ruby left June more than a bookstore.
Ruby left secrets for June, including a treasure hunt through a fascinating collection of first editions. One of those secrets included letters between Ruby and her best friend, author Margaret Wise Brown, who died much too young, at forty-two. And, those letters start to open June's eyes about her own life, her relationship with the sister she can't forgive, and what she really needs in life. As June reads, she discovers secrets that Ruby left just for her.
Goodnight June is a novel of discovery. It's the story of a lost woman finding herself. It's a story of deep friendship and sisterhood. It's a story of romance. And, it's a story for all of us who are passionate about books and reading. Ruby left June a letter that reads, in part, "I trust that you will love Bluebird Books and care for it as much as I have. It won't be easy. Children aren't reading as much as they did in my day. And, I will confess, I worry that the love of books is dying."
June Andersen's own life unfolds, and Margaret Wise Brown and Ruby reveal their lives in enchanting letters in this wonderful book. Welcome to Sarah Jio's Goodnight June, a novel filled with passion for books, for children's books. It's filled with secrets about love, friendship, sisters, and what is important in life. Goodnight June, in the end, is as comforting for a book lover as Brown's own classic, Goodnight Moon.
Sarah Jio's website is www.sarahjio.com.
Goodnight June by Sarah Jio. Plume. 2014. ISBN 978014280211 (paperback), 284p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.