June and Finn had a special relationship, but the rest of June's family cannot flush out the stigma of AIDS just as America could not in the 1980s. June was left in the dark about another very important person in Finn's life, his partner, or as Greta refers to him, Finn's murderer. June's quest to discover who her uncle really was begins when Toby contacts her. This story reminds us all what it is like to be young and naive to adult situations and adult opinions. Sometimes parents leave children in the dark as a way to "protect" them from the adults' own prejudices and familial embarrassments.
Her relationship with her sister is tedious at best. June and Greta deal with becoming young women and they both grieve the end of their childhoods. Greta is mean and cruel because she is hurting inside. She wants to be friends with her sister, but the only way she knows how to interact with her is to be mean. As someone who has two sisters, I found myself relating to their relationship. The author did a phenomenal job of making their sister relationship authentic. Sister relationships are some of the most complex relationships people have in their entire lives. June and Greta despise and love each other in the same moment as many sisters do.
June's mother was the most complex character. I find it interesting when authors choose to make someone other than the narrator be very difficult to figure out. All we get are the observations and descriptions given to us, rather than first hand thoughts. I felt as if Mrs. Weiss was remorseful about something, that there was something she had chosen to hide from her past about her brother Finn. She carried around a large burden that her daughter could not know.
I have never read a book like this. The character development was perplexing and astounding. Now that I have finished the book I find myself wondering how June and her family are doing. You MUST read this book.
I highlighted many quotes in this book and I want to share my favorites: