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December 06, 2013

Review: The F- It List by Julie Halpern

Title: The F- It List
Author: Julie Halpern
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: November 12, 2013

Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary)
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Pages: 256
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.
"Sometimes it takes a bucket list to start living again." That's what really sold the book for me. This is a story about two best friends, Becca and Alex. When Becca is suddenly diagnosed with cancer, she asks her best friend to help her complete her bucket list. Alex's father has also recently died, and now her best friend has cancer. Things can't get any worse than this. Alex makes it her mission to complete the bucket list for Becca. Because she can't do anything else to help her, that's the least she can do. I expected this book to be more sad, but it wasn't that bad. Julie Halpern was able to put in a lot of humor in it, which made me laugh a couple of times instead of crying. 
Trying to describe Alex's character is a pretty hard thing to do. One thing I have to say though, she felt real. I'm a teenager myself, so I know how we act these days. Alex is a very sarcastic person. She also tries to act tough, which is impossible when your dad just died and your friend has cancer. I've also noticed that she has a lot of pride, and it was hard for her to open up to some people. I get that. A lot of teenagers are like Alex today, so it was great to see how spot on Julie Halpern was in writing Alex's character. Becca is such a sweetheart. She showed her feelings, and I liked how she took cancer as a joke. I know, it's not something you should take as a joke, but I'm glad she didn't turn depressed and give up on life. Their friendship was something to envy. They understood each other, and they were always there for one another.  
I must say, this book had a lot of "scenes". More so than your typical YA book.  It didn't bother me, but it was very unexpected. Like I said, this isn't one of those cancer books where you end up crying. This is about friendship, love, loss, and much more. In my opinion, this book just lacked something. I don't know what exactly, and I hate myself for not being able to give a reason as to why I didn't end up loving it, but I just didn't. If you're a fan of contemporary and a good laugh, then I really do recommend you picking up The F-It List. 


  1. This book was definitely different to what I was expecting it to be too Farah, but I actually appreciated the different route that Halpern decided to go down. There was definitely a lot of different scenes to take in, but I enjoyed the nice mix that Halpern bought to this story. Sorry that you felt that there was something lacking for you. Great review!

  2. I had planned on picking this one up eventually. But now I'm considering on picking it up later in the future. I'm not a huge fan of contemporary, but the description drew me in. Thanks for letting me know your thoughts on it.

  3. That's great you enjoyed this overall. Sometimes a book just doesn't totally click and you aren't sure why...quite alright! I like that it's a book about cancer that isn't overly depressing.

  4. Ahh, I hate when you can't pinpoint exactly what you didn't like about a book. I totally get the feeling, because sometimes, there's just that little something that isn't there, that makes the book less enjoyable than it could have been. But I'm still glad that you really enjoyed this one! I wasn't really thinking about reading this one- it seemed like another depressing cancer book- but now I'm putting this on my TBR. I love how the author is able to add moments of humor in to a book that seems to be so sad. The friendship between Alex and Becca also seems touching, and definitely one that I want to read about. I'm also glad that Alex is so realistic. It's hard to find a teenage MC that really clicks and is so real, and it's awesome that Alex falls in to that category.

    Lovely review, Farah! <3