ARC Review: Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary
Length: 308 pages
Published on 1st June 2017 by Penguin
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD | Waterstones | WHSmith
Julie Israel: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Copy sent to work from the publisher

Synopsis:
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 wasn’t 100% sure if I’d like or bother with this book but given there was no pressure to review it as it was sent to my work and not directly to me I thought why not.

Luckily, it turned out that I took a good chance because this book was a lot better than I expected. Contemporary really isn’t my first choice so when I say this was worth my time I mean it.

Here are my initial thoughts from the night I finished it:

  • i really enjoyed this book which surprised me.
  • the main story itself is kinda predictable but all the bits that fill in the holes are what make this a really cool read
  • also can we get the UK cover up on gr because it also includes the theme of holes in how happiness is written and i really like that touch!!
  • shows different ways of dealing with grief
  • some kind of LGBT rep but like kinda hidden till the end… with only 1 hint earlier / but this book is about secrets so in a way it makes sense but still y’know

I think the important thing to note is that I haven’t had to deal with grief myself but when reading this it felt very real. Juniper has a lot of trouble adjusting to life after her sister’s death and finds herself taking notes of the pros and cons of each day without her.

In her quest (I guess) to get some answers about her sister she ends up creating some very strong friendships with people she may not have usually thought twice about, gets really passionate about her school work, and tries to fix a lot of problems she maybe didn’t have too.

I believe one of my favourite aspects of the book was the focus it had on art (in case you didn’t know I was an art student) and how it becomes a parallel of her feelings and struggles.

As mentioned there are a lot of new relationships being formed in this book and they are all really important but also none of the characters annoyed me or were horrible to read about which was such a nice change.

My only gripe with the book is that I, as a reader, wanted more closure but I think it ended nicely for the characters and story.

Overall a very good read & I look forward to seeing what else Julie writes.

4 stars / 5 stars
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