Tag: Julie Halpern

Review: The F-It List by Julie Halpern

Posted April 24, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Rowena’s review of The F-It List by Julie Halpern.

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

This book is available from Feiwel & Friends. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Guest Review: Don’t Stop Now by Julie Halpern

Posted September 7, 2011 by Ames in Reviews | 4 Comments


Main Character
: Lillian, aka Lil
Love Interest: Josh
Series: n/a
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

On the first day of Lillian’s summer-before-college, she gets a message on her cell from her sort-of friend, Penny. Not only has Penny faked her own kidnapping, but Lil is the only one who figures it out. She knows that Penny’s home life has been rough, and that her boyfriend may be abusive. Soon, Penny’s family, the local police, and even the FBI are grilling Lil, and she decides to head out to Oregon, where Penny has mentioned an acquaintance. And who better to road-trip across the country with than Lil’s BFF, Josh. But here’s the thing: Lil loves Josh. And Josh doesn’t want to “ruin” their amazing friendship.Josh has a car and his dad’s credit card. Lil has her cellphone and a hunch about where Penny is hiding. There’s something else she needs to find: Are she and Josh meant to be together?

I forgot where I saw a review of this book but that review contained the magical word – road trip. I love road trip themed books!! Ever since Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, I’ve been craving a road trip book something fierce! And for the double win, we have best friends falling for each other. Is there anything better?

Lillian, Josh and Penny have just graduated high school. Lillian is going to goof off all summer because she knows she’s going to have to buckle down in college. Josh is despondent a bit because his absent father has demanded he get a job, and this coming from a man who’s never had any input on Josh’s life before. And Penny…Penny has faked her own kidnapping in order to get away from her life. When the police and eventually the FBI question Lil about Penny, Lil decides on the spur of the moment to go to where she thinks Penny is, all the way across the country. Josh is the means to that end because he has a car. Also, Lil has loved Josh since freshman year. They’re best buds. So they cross the country, visiting every corny tourist destination they can think of while Lil slowly goes crazy with wanting Josh.

I could really get behind Lil’s character and her unrequited feelings for her best friend. I’ve been there, I hate to say it. LOL She’s also a bit of a bad friend towards Penny. She’s friends with her out of pity. Penny has a horrible boyfriend (it’s pretty obvious he’s physically abusive) and is kind of socially awkward and somehow Lil brings her under her wing. But Lil has a vague feeling of guilt over her friendship with Penny so she agrees to keep quiet when Penny disappears. But her guilt also drives her to go after Penny to make sure she really is ok. And she’s determined to use the trip to resolve her feelings about Josh.

Don’t Stop Now was very enjoyable. The road trip dynamic is written very well and I would get in a car with Lil and Josh any day. These were two cool cats and their friendship was solid. These two know each other so well. I enjoyed the characters and their adventures. There were definitely some fun times. Cheese castles and theme room hotels.

The whole Penny situation was a bit more deep than I was expecting from this novel and I didn’t feel that it was really resolved. I mean, Penny ran away rather than deal with her problem. That’s fine, a lot of people do it, but even at the end, she deals with one problem but the more important one, the abusive boyfriend, was kind of glossed over I felt. But other than that, I enjoyed this book. B+.

Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository|Kobo
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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