Thursday, October 1, 2009

review: june bug by chris fabry

First off, if the copy you pick up has the Publishers Weekly quote about Les Misérables, you should ignore it. While there is a slight similarity in storyline, June Bug could also be compared to The Face on the Milk Carton. The scene where June Bug sees her picture in Walmart immediately sparked the comparison to Janie and the milk carton (interesting as well that June Bug has John Johnson and Milk Carton has Janie Johnson). This scene, as in Milk Carton, is what sets in motion the rest of the book's events. June Bug doesn't tell her father about the missing child poster immediately, but she does begin asking questions that make him realize he needs to revisit his past. Complicating matters is the Walmart employee who befriends them, but has some suspicions. She wants to know how Johnson makes money, what happened with June Bug's mom, and what he's running from. The recent news reports coming out of Dogwood about new developments in the case of missing Natalie Edwards make the situation even stickier for Johnson. When Johnson and June Bug travel back to Dogwood, the truth of what happened seven years ago is finally revealed.

Fabry has crafted a beautiful tale of familial love. I found it refreshing that Johnson was portrayed as a good father even though he wasn't providing June Bug with the stereotypical "good life." He recognized that he failed her in some ways (denying her the joy of having a pet is one example), but understood that she had saved him just as much as he had saved her. The pacing of the mystery at the heart of the book was well done--revealing just enough here and there to keep things going without spoiling the shock of the ending to come.
4/5

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