Tyndale House Publishers
June Bug, written by Chris Fabry and based on the play Les Miserables, is a captivating story about a young girl whose existence is composed of traveling in a weather-beaten, rust-eaten, RV with John, the man she calls dad. The novel begins with John and June Bug stranded in a Wal-Mart parking lot where June Bug happens upon a picture of herself on a missing children’s poster. June Bug’s vagabond life becomes threatened not only by her desire to know the truth of the photo, but also by Shelia, the perky Wal-Mart associate who becomes increasingly curious about June Bug and John.
From page one, the tone of the book immediately envelopes the reader into the setting. The attention to and description of details involves the reader in the story, and the fresh, original analogies maintain the reader’s interest. Fabry’s ability to allow the reader to develop relationships with the characters is perhaps the strongest aspect of the novel. One notable weakness involves Fabry’s lack of build-up to create tension at critical moments in the story; and, although background of characters is certainly important, there were small chunks of background that weren’t essential to the story.
Although the novel doesn’t begin with a character in moral depravity and end with his or her salvation, Christianity is an undercurrent throughout the story. June Bug recounts a time at a VBS in which she prayed and received Jesus. Other characters’ beliefs are stated or implied. It is left to the reader to discover why certain characters believe the way they do, and whether it is “right” or “wrong.” Although Bible verses aren’t referred to, Matthew 18:3, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” is evident in June Bug’s simple, trusting faith. However, the theme of Christianity could easily be removed from the book without altering the storyline.
For those in search of a good book, June Bug certainly qualifies, leaving readers wishing for more pages after the last one is read. Also worth mentioning are the themes of kidnapping, semi-violent flashbacks, and sexual predators present in the book, making it appropriate for readers fourteen years of age and older. – Emily Morgan, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
It all begins in a nondescript Wal-Mart parking lot where nine-year-old June Bug sees an artist's rendition of herself on a missing child poster in the store where they've parked their broken-down RV trailer. With questions galore, June Bug starts pestering her "dad" about their RV vagabond life and where they're headed next. Johnson, little June Bug's father, is obliged to face his past in short order as a series of unexpected media events force his hand and reroute his life. Afraid and emotionally battered, Johnson returns to the "scene of the crime" and discovers what he thought was lost forever. Fabry's retelling of the world-renowned Victor Hugo tale is a stunning success, and readers will find themselves responding with enthusiastic inner applause.