Reviewed by Arianna Violante (age 20) for Reader Views (02/16)
“Drive to June” by Khristina Chess is the story of eighteen-year-old Adrianna, who is drowning her grief – literally, with her mother’s extensive wine collection. Adrianna’s mother was killed in a tragic car accident sixteen months ago. Her father travels a lot, her sister is away at college, and she has very few friends, being new to the high school. Adrianna is also dealing with a great bit of guilt and has an unforgiveable secret. She deals with her pain and loneliness by drinking, something that seems normal to her, as modeled by her sister and her father.
One day, after finishing a bottle of wine she stole from the cellar, she decides to climb up on the roof to observe the view. She is soon spotted by a pizza delivery guy, Ian, who is also a senior at her high school. Ian climbs up on the roof to help Adrianna down and an awkward beginning to a friendship is formed. Can Ian help Adrianna with her alcohol problem? Can she help herself, or has she gone too far down the path of addiction?
This is a great coming of age, young adult novel. The characters are very well developed and credible. The interpretation of the way Adrianna and her father both dealt with their grief felt genuine and convincing. Ian is a very mature high school student, who is patient and kind, but stands by his own morals in the face of Adrianna’s drinking.
The plot is reflective of many important social issues relevant to today’s high school students. From learning how to drive, the loss of a parent or loved one, under aged drinking and addiction, bullying and peer pressure – the author does a great job representing these issues in a realistic and believable manner.
I thoroughly enjoyed “Drive to June” by Khristina Chess and highly recommend it to the young adult audience, but readers of all ages who like a heart tugging, coming of age story, laced with mystery, murder, and suspense, will enjoy this story.