Friday, January 31, 2014

Review: The F-It List by Julie Halpern

The F- It List With her signature heart and humor, Julie Halpern explores a strained friendship strengthened by one girl’s battle with cancer. 

Alex’s father recently died in a car accident. And on the night of his funeral, her best friend Becca slept with Alex’s boyfriend. So things aren’t great. Alex steps away from her friendship with Becca and focuses on her family. 

But when Alex finally decides to forgive Becca, she finds out something that will change her world again—Becca has cancer. 

So what do you do when your best friend has cancer? You help her shave her head. And then you take her bucket list and try to fulfill it on her behalf. Because if that’s all you can do to help your ailing friend—you do it.

My Review:

This was an interesting story with unique characters.  The take on cancer in this book was done well, and this book really showed how difficult the cancer was for both Becca and her family and friends.


Alex is a character who is going through a lot of tough stuff.  Her dad died in a car accident, and then she finds out that her best friend (who she was in a fight with) has cancer.  I wouldn't want to be in her shoes.  She deals with everything as best as she can - often involving watching a gory horror movie.  Alex isn't always the most sensitive, since she doesn't really think about what she's going to say before it comes out of her mouth.  She says some things that hurt her mom and brothers, usually when they mention her dad.

It is sad to see Becca go through all that she does when she's having her treatments.  She has a good attitude about the whole thing.  When she first talks to Alex about it, she makes a joke.  The list that she made for herself that she gave to Alex to complete was interesting.  The things on the list varied from innocent to rather inappropriate.  As a reader, I had to read about the treatments making her sicker and sicker.  One scene that was sad was when she decided she was well enough to go school, but then she ended up getting sick at school.  I was glad that she had Caleb, the boy next door, who was really sweet and nice to her.  

The relationship between Leo and Alex is well-written.  At first, it doesn't seem like she's fully ready for a real relationship with him.  She seems to only want to have a physical relationship.  The nature of their relationship has to change when his brother dies.  She realizes he needs someone to be there more emotionally, and she doesn't really know how to be there for him in that way.  I thought that Leo was a sweet guy.  He made cookies for Alex, and he didn't run away from Alex and Becca when Becca got sick at school.  He was a guy who really seemed to care about Alex, and I think she really needed someone who cared about that much, even if she thought that she didn't.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


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