BOOKBLOG: Julie Israel

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index: a gorgeous tale of love and memory

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“It’s been sixty-five days since the accident that killed Juniper’s sister, and ripped Juniper’s world apart.
Then she finds the love letter: written by Camilla on the day of the accident, addressed mysteriously to “You,” but never sent. Desperate to learn You’s identity and deliver the message, Juniper starts to investigate.
Until she loses something. A card from her Happiness Index: a ritual started by sunny Camie for logging positives each day. It’s what’s been holding Juniper together since her death – but a lost card only widens the hole she left behind. And this particular card contains Juniper’s own dark secret: a memory she can’t let anyone else find out.
The search for You and her card take Juniper to even less expected places, and as she connects with those whose secrets she upturns in the effort, she may just find the means to make peace with her own.”

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index tells the tale of Juniper, a teenager struggling with losing her sister and trying to keep the memory of her sister alive. She finds a letter in her sister’s bag which is addressed to a mysterious “You” and Juniper makes it her mission to find out who “You” is and why her sister kept it a secret from her. Along the way Juniper thinks she’s losing some of the people who mean the most to her – her parents, her closest friends – and meets some incredible people who she needs as much as they need her – new friends, teachers who support her. Throughout you get Juniper’s take on the day through narrative and her index cards – she rates the day and talks about the positive and the negatives

I really, really loved this book. I devoured it in 2 days. It’s a brilliant story all about keeping the memory of someone you’ve lost without losing yourself in guilt and blame. Juniper had to learn how to fall in love with the present with part of her life missing. She has to learn that some things aren’t her fault, nor can she change them – this journey was so lovely. This book does a brilliant job telling the story of finding someone else’s lost love whilst honouring past memories and current friends and ultimately finding yourself. The mixture of loss, guilt, friendship, love, kissing, dumpster diving and acceptance was spot on for me. 

Juniper’s struggle with grief is one in which she throws herself at this project – to find “You” and to “save” he people around her. Her parents are struggling. The portrayal of her mam and dad’s grieving were touching. Seeing the change in them from the beginning of the book to the end was moving; it made me cry. Juniper starts the book with very few friends, but gains friends in the strangest of ways – she has good intentions but they end up biting her in the nose. She’s a loveable main character. I liked her straight away: she seemed honest and trust-worthy despite the fact she’s hiding a secret, despite the fact she’s living her life with blame and guilt hanging over her head. There’s the loveable rogue, Brand, who helps Juniper in more ways that she could ever have imagined. I really felt for Brand. He’s going through some things himself but helps. Juniper’s bunch of friends enrich this book, with her friend Lauren playing an exceptional role, much to mine and Juniper’s surprise.

Please, go out and get your hands on this book. It’s SO gorgeous. I loved it. Every second.

I was sent this by the gorgeous book fairies over at Puffin books, so thank you so much! 

Have you read Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index?
What did you think?

Let me know what you thought in the comments or on twitter. I want to talk about this book with EVERYONE. It is such a great book!

S x

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