Book Review: The F- It List by Julie Halpern

17286812Title: The F- It List
Author: Julie Halpern
Publisher: Square Fish
Pub Date: March 31, 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
Source: Purchased
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Rating: ★★★
Goodreads || Buy on Amazon


Synopsis from Goodreads:

Alex and Becca have always been best 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 just may 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.


My review:

“I can’t buy the idea that we’re supposed to live and learn from horrible things. That somehow these things happen so we can grow as people.”

My review probably won’t make any sense to you because I don’t know how I feel about this book yet.

Death and cancer and bucket lists and boys.

This book was a clusterf*ck of pop culture references and teenage hormones. I was apprehensive that Becca’s cancer only existed to serve as a plot device but it was hardly even an afterthought. Somehow this story started with sex and ended with sex, and I’m sort of confused about it. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a terrible book. It was an easy and entertaining read. I just had a hard time figuring out the point of the story.

Update: Alex and Becca are based on real people, so I’m assuming this story was written for them. And now I feel like there doesn’t have to be a good reason for the story, other than they deserved to have their story told. I don’t know.

The romance was cute. The death and cancer and heartbreak was sad. Alex was pretty relatable when it came to her quirks and thoughts about life. Some of her “questions” really resonated with me. As humans, we always try to make sense of things–particularly the bad things. We want to know why awful things happen to people. And sometimes there’s no proper explanation. It’s just life, and maybe that’s the point.

A quote I particularly liked: “I have always kept a stack of library books next to my bed as a lifeline. If I ever woke in the middle of the night too scared to move or too sad to roll over, the books were my saviors.”

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