Friday, August 30, 2013
The F- It List by Julie Halpern
Author: Julie Halpern
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Released: November 12, 2013
Page #: 248
Source: ARC from the publisher
"Alex and Becca have always been the best of friends. But when Becca does something nearly unforgivable at Alex's dad's funeral, Alex cuts ties with her and focuses on her grieving family.
Time passes, and Alex finally decides to forgive Becca. Then she's hit with another shocker: Becca has cancer. It also turns out Becca has a bucket list, one she doesn't know she'll be able to finish now. That's where Alex comes in, along with a mysterious and guarded boy who may just help Alex check a few items off her own bucket list.
Julie Halpern writes about illness, loss, love, and friendship with candor and compassion. Here is an unforgettable book about living fully, living authentically, and just... living."
"The only thing worse than having my best friend sleep with my boyfriend the night of my father's funeral would be if she killed my dad herself. Becca didn't, which was the one thing that redeemed her."
I honestly wish this book had a different title. This book was really, really good and I wish I could buy it for every high school... but alas. We'll see if I can sell anyone on it. Straight up, this book was fabulous.
It's the story of Alex and Becca - best friends forever. After an insane summer, Becca finds out that she has cancer. This throws both of their lives into a tailspin. Alex wants to do anything to help Becca and only thing they come up with is to help Becca complete her bucket list that she had been making since she was nine. Some of the stuff on the list is super silly and easy, other stuff is a bit more risque. But Alex wants to help out and is willing to do anything.
I really appreciated that this book was written from the perspective of Alex. Sometimes I worry that teen stories about things like cancer will be really heavy and intense and sad. That truly does not describe this book. Alex is the perfect leading lady and she has an outlook on life that is unstoppable. She would probably be the perfect friend to have around when something like this happens. She's hilarious and understanding and loving... a recipe for a fabulous friend.
While there are parts of this book that are a little more edgy, I really think that the life lessons and situations will speak to anyone in high school. And I really did worry that the title was an indication of major f-bomb usage in the story. But it really is only used in normal contexts. There are some books I have started that I couldn't get through because of the intense amount of language - which is not the way anyone speaks. This book felt real and honest when it comes to the way people actually talk. I very much appreciated that.
I also thought it was cool the way Alex treated her life after finding out about Becca. Like anyone, she wondered about how shallow she was when thinking about stupid stuff while Becca was dealing with a huge issue. She knew how she was supposed to feel and had a hard time putting her own needs aside. Which really is how I think most people feel in those types of situations. The author just did a great job putting a lot of reality into this story.
You've also got a pretty awesome love story to top things off - which helps Alex complete some of the more risque items on Becca's bucket list. It's not all butterflies and rainbows, either. Real stuff happens and they deal with it the way many people would. And there's an adorable relationship that starts up with Becca and her next door neighbor. Which is super sweet and makes you want to meet a guy like him.
I haven't read anything by this author before, but I really think she does an amazing job with realistic fiction. Things feel authentic and everything rings true. I may have to go back and pick up some of her other stuff now. If you can get past this title, I really think lovers of realistic fiction will be all about this book.
Other Blog Reviews:
The Reading Addict
The Bookaholic Blurbs
Reading Junky's Reading Roost
Istyria Book Blog
Page Turners Blog