Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK Children’s
Edition published June 1st, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, YA, Romance
* Received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you very much! This doesn’t affect the review in any way. My opinions are, as always, my own.*
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 loved this book so much. I had no idea I was going to love it this much… I saw some mixed reviews on it, people either absolutely love it or it’s just an okay book. Well… I freaking loved it! It’s beautiful, touchy and extremely gripping.
Since the very first page, I couldn’t put this down. This book is about Juniper. Sometime after her sister’s death, she finds a letter in her sister’s bag dated with the day she had the accident. It’s a breakup letter, but Juniper didn’t even know her sister was dating…
In all the rush with finding that letter, Juniper ended up losing one thing of her own. A Happiness Index – which she did every day – with a secret she can’t let anyone find out. Trying to find her card and her sister’s secret lover, she ends up changing her life completely.
This book talks a lot about grief. It made me cry 45% of the book, while the rest 55% my heart was tense as a rock trying to hold itself together. The characters are really easy to connect with and really fun to read about. I loved Juniper’s witty answers and how much she cared about the people around her. I connect with her in terms of grieving but it did seem pretty realistic to me.
Another character I really enjoyed was… Well, to be honest, I enjoyed all of them. They are all very different and interesting. I love the friendship in this book, how connected the characters were, how much they helped each other and how much fun they were. There’s some diversity in this book too, which I thought interesting.
I also enjoyed how we had different characters reacting differently to grief in this book, I liked to see how different people cope with the same type of matter. And something as huge as losing a family member can change your life forever, and how not everything has to be bad.
For a contemporary book, this was a hell of a surprise. Normally I find them pretty easy to find out the end, but this kept me hooked until the very last page and I didn’t expect anything of it!
The writing was also really fluid and fun. I really enjoyed the humor and the whole rollercoaster of emotions. It was the first book I read from the author but I will for sure keep an eye open for more!
This book contains some physical and psychological abuse, bullying and grief. Some are more represented than others and I didn’t find theme particularly trigging, but we are all different, so I just wanted to mention it.
This book was incredible, it was emotionally beautiful, it had amazing characters that I will never forget and I couldn’t recommend it more!
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!