Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel


YA Fiction - Netgalley Review

I must start this review by simply stating that this is perhaps one of the best YA books of it’s type I have ever read. Here the emotions are truthful and raw without being mawkish. The story approaches loss and grief in such a way that rather than going for the “big weep” as I like to call it, it is more a process of repetitive cracking and solidifying like an ice flow, those fissures creating weaknesses that might be forced open at the slightest pressure of the ocean below.

Juniper is a marvellous character and I loved her unconditionally.  Her love for her sister and theguilt she feels over her own emotional outburst that is the catalyst for her search -not only for answers about her sister’s secret, but her own perceived culpability in her sister’s death, made her desperately relatable to me.

Her previous relationships and  friendships are fragile and brittle, but the collection of outliers she draws close during her personal journey are the seasoning to this glorious ragout. I fell in love with each of them, the dreamers, the thinkers, the geeks and the rebels in any other setting would seem to be overused tropes but here they became vital and fresh additions. There might have been a love triangle, but Julie Israel never allows her Male protagonists to become truly adversarial which for me is such a boon particularly in a genre where this device has been overused.


The book never allows the reader to know the identity of The Secret love, but this reader has her own ideas about the person Camie might have loved.. the bravery of leaving the question unanswered is a master stroke, in the same way that grief cannot be dealt with uniformly,there are no definitives in love either. We know that Camie’s message is conveyed and that brings peace.

Overall this book was a delight and made me very happy that I shared those chaotic mysterious months with Juniper.




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