Skip to main content

The F--- It List by Julie Halpern

This is, I think, the first book that by Julie Halpern that I've read.  It's Young Adult fiction, it's a slim novel, and it's a quick read.  The novel opens on a death in the family and a betrayal between friends (drama), there's cancer (for which I was afraid I'd need tissues at the end of the story, but I did not), and a blossoming romance (awww).  This is a witty, irreverent, heartfelt, at times humorous, at others heartbreaking, tale.

Alex takes the summer off from her best friend, Becca, after Becca sleeps with Alex's boyfriend at Alex's father's funeral (I said there was drama).  This is no big deal in part because Alex wasn't really 'in love' with said boyfriend.  Besides Alex and Becca have forgiven each other numerous transgressions over the many years of their friendship, so it's a given that Alex will forgive Becca come the first day of school.  Right now she just needs space to process her father's death and to attend to her family as well as some distance from the inherent drama that Becca brings (she is a budding actress after all).

When Alex returns to school an acquaintance drops a bombshell: Becca was diagnosed with cancer over the summer.  The news sends Alex reeling, and now it's even more important that the two friends reconcile.  When Alex visits Becca at home, the girls waste no time repairing their broken friendship.  Then Becca shares with Alex a list she's been keeping for years--it's a list of things that Becca wants to do before she dies.  Of course Becca never thought her death might be this soon, and with the chemotherapy and other cancer treatment she'll have to endure in the fight for her life, she won't have the strength to complete the more taxing items on the list.  That's where Alex comes in.  Becca entrusts her friend with the list and asks her to help complete it.

While continuing to process her father's death (something that is for the most part relegated to background of the story), and now her best friend's illness (something that is at the forefront of the story), a new romance blossoms between Alex and boy she's liked for a long time named Leo.  But Leo wants a relationship which is something Alex is determined to avoid at all costs because it's too much more complication in her already complicated life.  There are also other underlying issues holding Alex back from embarking on her first true romance that must be dealt with.

These are some heavy issues in this slim novel, but the story never feels too heavy thanks to the lightness of the writing and the depiction of the characters of Alex, Becca and Leo--all of whom maintain witty, sometimes dark, senses of humor.  People who enjoy young adult fiction will enjoy this novel.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


Popular posts from this blog

Broken by Karin Slaughter

Before I begin the formal review there are a few things I need to get off my chest in the wake of finishing this book; I'll do so without giving away too many (or any) spoilers.
The OUTRAGE!: the identity of Detective Lena Adams' new beau; the low depths to which Grant County's interim chief has sunk and brought the police force down with him; agent Will Trent's wife, Angie's, sixth sense/nasty habit of reappearing in his life just when he's slipping away from her. Thank God for small miracles though because while Angie was certainly referred to during the book, the broad didn't make an appearance. One sign that I've become way too invested in these characters is that I'd like to employ John Connolly's odd pair of assassins, Louis and Angel, to contract out a hit on Angie; do you think Karin Slaughter and John Connolly could work out a special cross over?
Hallelujah: Dr. Sara Linton and agent Will Trent are both back. There is no hallelujah for…

In The Woods by Tana French

"What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with the truth is fundamental, but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies ... and every variation on deception. The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers, reflexively denying anyone else the slightest glimpse of her. We betray her routinely ... This is my job ... What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this--two things: I crave truth. And I lie." opening lines of In The Woods chapter 1, pages 3-4
In The Woods by Tana French, an Irish writer, is an extremely well-written and well-crafted mystery novel. The downside is that this is French's debut novel, and her website (located at does not offer any insi…

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

When the end came, it seemed to do so completely out of the blue, and it wasn't until long afterward that I was able to see that there was a chain of events leading up to it. Some of those events had nothing to do with us, the Morrisons, but were solely the concern of the Pyes, who lived on a farm about a mile away and were our nearest neighbors." from page seven
I must confess that it took me longer than it really needed to in order to finish the novel Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. The entire story is building up to the big catastrophe that forever destroys all the hopes and dreams the Morrison clan ever dared to hope and dream for its future. In the eyes of the narrator, it is even worse than the tragedy of the car crash that claimed both parents' lives one evening on the heels of some good news the family has received and celebrated. Now you can see why I dreaded getting to the end of a book that drips in foreboding like nobody's business. What can be a worse tra…