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.
I haven’t read anything by Julie Halpern but I’ve wanted to for some time now. I heard there was some drama over her antics online a while back but I can’t remember what the drama was about and still, I wanted to give this book a go.
I don’t think I’ve read a YA quite like this one. One that was as someone on Instagram said, “so sexually forward”. Most of the YA books that I’ve read closed the door when things started to get steamy between two teens but Halpern doesn’t feel the need to censor those things and I can’t say that I was mad. I’m actually kind of interested in what my 16 year old niece would think of this one so I bought it for her to read. Would I want my 14 year old daughter to read it? I’m still on the fence about that one. I don’t think I’d buy it for her but I don’t think I’d necessarily be pissed off if I found out that she read it.
Anyway, back to the book. Alex’s father died in a car accident and on the day of his funeral, Alex finds out that her best friend slept with her boyfriend. Now, this all happens right before summer is to start so Alex takes a time out from her best friend and she completely breaks up with the boyfriend.
On the first day back at school (so, months have passed), she decides that enough time has passed and she can go on and forgive Becca for sleeping with Davis. She’s still mad about it but she’s going to forgive her anyway because Becca is still Alex’s best friend. Only Becca’s not at school and before Alex can tell her that she’s forgiven, Alex finds out that Becca has cancer. The news sends Alex reeling because she just lost her father, she’s not ready to lose another person she loves.
The story is about how Alex comes to deal with all of the drama in her life. She’s still grieving for her father (and hasn’t really grieved properly) and now Becca’s cancer is thrown in her lap because of course she’s going to be there for her best friend but seeing Becca deal with everything wasn’t easy and my heart went out to her more than once. Then she starts hooking up with Ian, the guy that she’s always been aware of and if she was the kind of girl who had crushes, she would definitely have a crush on him. Things get a whole lot more interesting. She doesn’t handle everything perfectly and when everything becomes too much for her, it was great to see her making strides to change that.
This isn’t an easy book to read but I still enjoyed it. It’s not a book that has that perfect protagonist that shits rainbows and does things exactly right but Halpern does a great job of stringing the story together and making it in your face good. I will definitely be reading more from this author and I certainly recommend this book.
Grade: 4 out of 5