Here's most of the Goodreads summary, because everyone I describe the book to accuses me of spoiling it but it's not a spoiler if it's the premise.
"1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life—someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.
At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most."Now stay with me, my Harry Potter buddies. I was worried I wouldn't be able to get into this book because Serious Story is Serious,
but I had no trouble becoming completely invested in it. Also, the longest chapter is something like five pages, so, zippidy zip.
The single most impressive thing about this book is its narrator, June. Actually, its cover is so amazing that I keep shoving it in people's faces and demanding the appropriate, red-zone level of enthusiasm, so maybe that's the most impressive thing. But the second most impressive thing, for sure, is its narrator. June is 14 and, praise be, she sounds like a 14 year old. This means that she can be frustrating to read sometimes (rarely), and maybe a little short sighted, but she's authentic and you don't catch her revealing herself to be a grown-ass lady with offspring and a masters degree. June has a passion for things medieval and a penchant for pretend. I would be this girl's pal, is what I'm saying.
There was much crying and exclaiming during the reading of this book. It might wind up being one of the best things I read in 2013. I loved its face.