By Sarah Jio
Plume May 2014
From the library
June Anderson has to leave her successful banking job in NYC to settle her aunt Ruby's estate in Seattle. When she arrives, she finds that her beloved Bluebird Books is in some serious financial trouble. Her first inclination is to quickly sell off the building, but her memories and those of the many people who loved the store make her pause. When June finds letters inside beloved children's books from her aunt to Margaret Wise Brown, the author of Goodnight Moon, she embarks on a treasure hunt through the book store. The correspondence between friends gives June some ideas about her own relationships and maybe even one that can save Bluebird Books.
Sarah Jio utilizes two beloved storylines in Goodnight June. June is the executor of her aunt's will and arrives to find the bookstore in disarray. She works in banking and has little idea about the things her Aunt Ruby did to keep the store running. Readers love to vicariously experience owning and running a bookstore and they won't be disappointed by those sections. This book also explores the friendship between two literary people - Ruby and Margaret Wise Brown. We see how people who love books can inspire each other and remember that friends don't need to live close to each other to have an incredible impact on each other's lives.
But I can't help but feel that Sarah Jio sometimes takes the easy route in crafting her stories. There were a few scenes that felt like they hadn't been fully thought through. I also wished that we had spent more time with some characters and their relationships had been better fleshed out. June meets the owner of a nearby restaurant soon after she gets to Seattle and it seems that they have only spent a few hours together before he professes his feelings for her. We are also told by June that she and her sister have had an irreparable break in their relationship. The details of this falling out come so late in the story that it is difficult for the reader to care for her sister or that part of the story.
Goodnight June is quick and enjoyable read. Readers can immerse themselves in the dream of loving and running a bookstore or having a part in the origins of a beloved story. June's quest to save Bluebird Books and discover what is important to her is a lovely, if somewhat predictable, story.