Saturday, 13 January 2018

Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index, by Julie Israel || First Four (and a half) Stars of 2018

Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index
It's hard to keep close a person everyone keeps telling you is gone.

It's been sixty-five painful days since the death of Juniper's big sister, Camilla. On her first day back at school, bracing herself for the stares and whispers, Juniper borrows Camie's handbag for luck - and discovers an unsent break-up letter inside. It's mysteriously addressed to 'You' and dated July 4th - the day of Camie's accident. Desperate to learn the identity of Camie's secret love, Juniper starts to investigate.

But then she loses something herself. A card from her daily ritual, The Happiness Index: little notecards on which she rates the day. The Index has been holding Juniper together since Camie's death - but without this card, there's a hole. And this particular card contains Juniper's own secret: a memory that she can't let anyone else find out.

I received Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index for Christmas last year (thanks Mama!) and to be perfectly honest I'd heard absolutely nothing about it before then. But I jumped straight into it and I'm happy to say that my first read of 2018 has been one that I have thoroughly enjoyed!

Initial thoughts...

"I've never heard of this."

"I like the cover."

"Contemporaries scare me, but I'll give it a go."

"The cover really is quite nice."

In the beginning...

I had no idea what to expect from this book because I'd never heard anything about it. At first I was a little wary. I have a fear of average contemporaries because a couple of years ago I felt like every single contemporary book I read was just average. Not amazing. Not bad. Just average. And there's nothing worse than a book that's 'meh'. I never know how to review them.

In the middle...

Once I got past my first initial fears I could not put this book down. I think I knocked the whole thing out in just two sittings and it's been a while since I've done that. I loved everything about it.

I loved the characters and how Juniper befriended a bunch of lonely misfits who helped each other become stronger and although they were all so different they were such a cool bunch of friends when they were together. And the dialogue between them! I could have just read a collection of their conversations and been satisfied. Novella idea?

I loved the way the characters grief was portrayed and handled.

I loved how perfectly it portrayed that something that is small to you (such as sitting with someone who's alone at lunch) can actually be a huge deal to them. It's so easy to throw a little kindness out here and there and it can mean so much to the people you give it to.

And I loved how really it wasn't a story of Juniper finding out who her sisters mystery lover was, but really it was a story of the relationships she formed along the way and how friends are so important and you are so much stronger when you let other people into your life.

In the end...

The ending... Ohmygosh the ending!!! It wasn't the sort of ending that was a huge twist and left me reeling, it was just the perfect ending... I won't talk about it because I like to keep my reviews spoiler free, but can someone who has read it please talk to me about it!! (And if you haven't read it then please do because I really need someone to talk to).

Did you like the format of this review? Have you read this? Or even heard of it? If not, does it sound like something you might like?   


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