It's a coming of age novel but almost too much. I read the summaries on the backs of books when I buy them, but after that I don't read it til after I have read the book. When I started this book I thought. June was much younger than 14. She seemed very immature to me - maybe 9 or 10.
Back up a bit. June and her older sister Greta are sitting for a portrait by their renowned artist uncle Finn. Finn is June's godfather and they have a close relationship. She enjoys going into the city for the sittings, Greta attends but can't wait to go home.
Their parents are accountants and largely leave them on their own during tax season. Another reviewer likened them to the Peanuts parents. Just background noise. Although Mom's part becomes more important in the end. Mom had a tense relationship with her brother and that translates to her relationship with June, although they never talk about why there are problems, just get upset at each other.
Finn dies of AIDS and June notices a man lingering on the side of the funeral. Shortly after she receives a teapot in the mail (from the stranger aka Finn's lover Toby). Despite Finn and Toby having a long committed relationship, June and Greta were never introduced to Finn as their mother did not approve of him.
June reaches out to Toby as she feels no one else understands the pain she feels from Finn dying. They form a strong bond which is often misconstrued as an older man taking advantage of a much younger girl.
There is a great deal of drama throughout the book (between Greta and June, between June and her parents, and between Toby and pretty much every one but June, and the usual high school drama of both June and Greta).
It's one of the first books in a while that I didn't really enjoy the parts but looking at the whole, it was a good read. So I guess, if you give it a try you need to stick with it. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to others - I don't normally do stars but I guess if I did for this one, I'd give 3.5. Better than average but not one I'd be recommending to everyone.