Another Incredible Publication From Wattpad | Review: The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by Daven McQueen

4:30 PM

Part of me knew that this novel was going to be special because of its catchy name. The other part of me was quietly freaking out over the gorgeous cover. The third part of me, that one that read this in one sitting, is beyond ecstatic to say: The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones should be at the top of your summer reading list and I'm still buzzing over how much I loved this book.

The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones 
by Daven McQueen 

It’s the summer of 1955. For Ethan Harper, a biracial kid raised mostly by his white father, race has always been a distant conversation. When he’s sent to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle in small-town Alabama, his Blackness is suddenly front and center, and no one is shy about making it known he’s not welcome there. Except for Juniper Jones. The town’s resident oddball and free spirit, she’s everything the townspeople aren’t―open, kind, and full of acceptance.

Armed with two bikes and an unlimited supply of root beer floats, Ethan and Juniper set out to find their place in a town that’s bent on rejecting them. As Ethan is confronted for the first time by what it means to be Black in America, Juniper tries to help him see the beauty in even the ugliest reality, and that even the darkest days can give rise to an invincible summer.

Daven McQueen’s Juniper Jones is a character for all ages in this sweet coming of age story set in 1950s Alabama.

The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by Daven McQueen
Rating: ★★★★☆
As always, a copy of this book was provided by the author or publisher in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.     

Recently, it dawned on me that I almost never read books that are both set in the south or that take place in the 1950s and when I stumbled up The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones, I felt like that was fate's way of saying, "Here you go." And suddenly, I was thrust into a delightful and honest work of historical fiction that dazzled me almost instantly.

Daven McQueen is another vocal, imaginative, talent to have emerged from the pages of Wattpad. (I know it's fun for you guys to shit on works that originated via Wattpad but that needs to stop because voices like McQueen's deserve to be heard and praised.) The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones is only the beginning of what we'll be hearing from her in the future and every word in this story feels like the echo of a promise.

And that promise is of what's to come. 

No, seriously. Remember her name. We won't be hearing the last from McQueen. The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones feels very much so like the beginnings of a leading voice in YA fiction.

If you are looking for a novel that is as sweet as it is serious, and as hopeful as it is honest in its bleak portrayal of the past. The parallels to the present, to the future, are startling only to those who haven't been paying attention. The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones is so much more than its exploration of history and racism: it is a hopeful story about friendship, loss, and the destined end of summer.

The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones is every bit as captivating as its title led you to believe. (I'm always, always, always drawn to longer titles for some reason. They just catch my eyes and make me do a double take in interest.) It serves as a nice change of pace in terms of timeline. It serves, too, as a reminder, of how much farther we need to go in being anti-racist. 

While the writing had its patchy moments (which are irrelevant: this is a debut) there's something so easy, breezy, and lively about The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones. This doesn't mean that it doesn't tackle serious topics with grace, because it does, it merely means that readers can expect to finish this book in one sitting.

The biggest takeaway readers will get from this novel? It is unforgettable. It will break your heart. But, you'll feel so much towards the story. And it might stay with you for life.

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