"CHASING JUNE," by Shannen Crane Camp, $11.99, 320 pages (f) (ages 16 and up)
Author Shannen Crane Camp offers the continuing story of June Laurie in “Chasing June,” the second book in a series.
June is an up-and-coming teenage television star who happens to be an otherwise typical high school student and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The first book of the series, “Finding June” chronicles how 16-year-old June came to be cast in the TV crime drama "Forensic Faculty" and the escapades that follow along with an introduction to her fun and quirky friends.
The second book in the series fast forwards two years as she and Joseph, who is both her best friend and boyfriend, leave California and head for Utah to attend Brigham Young University as theater students.
As soon as June arrives she is thrown into college life with some crazy and somewhat difficult roommates, living on her own, and trying to figure out her relationship with Joseph. She loves him, but he continues to distance himself as he prepares to serve a Mormon mission after he completes his first semester.
Camp does a nice job of recreating the BYU atmosphere and how it feels to be a freshman. June has relatable feelings of loneliness and insecurity as she deals with jealous theater majors, who are reluctant to include her, and other challenges of university life. These are countered by good times, romantic twists, making new friends and needing to make some grown-up decisions.
A movie offer has June trying to decide if she should go home and pursue her acting career or if she should stay in school. It’s one of several plot lines that keeps the story moving along at a nice pace.
This charming novel carries a strong LDS element as the main characters are Latter-day Saints and attending BYU. The language is clean and there isn't any violence. The romance doesn't go beyond a few kisses as June stands up for her values.
"Chasing June" is one of five finalists for the 2013 Whitney Award in the general young adult category. The Whitney Awards recognize novels by Mormon authors.
Camp received a degree in media arts at BYU where she met her husband, Josh Camp. They have moved between Utah and California. Camp’s website is at shannencbooks.blogspot.com
Stephanie Abney is an optimist, retired school teacher, freelance writer and lives in Mesa, Ariz., with her husband, Jim. They have five children and 18 grandchildren. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org and she blogs at stephaniesaysso.blogspot.com.