Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: The F- It List by Julie Halpern

Title: The F- It List 
Author: Julie Halpern 
Release Date: November 12, 2013
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: For Review 

My Rating: fullfullfullfullBlank

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. (taken from
As soon as I read the synopsis for The F- It List, I was excited to get my hands on a copy. So many "cancer books" are written about the person with cancer. For once, it was kind of nice to see a regular girl who has to deal with cancer in a different way. Alex's best friend, Becca, begins her chemo treatment early on in the story, and Alex must play the part of the supportive friend while also balancing her own problems outside of Becca's illness. 

I have a serious problem with books that romanticize cancer. Having lost people to the disease, I hate to see it used as a dramatic and unnecessary twist in stories. Sometimes I feel that authors use the big C as a way to easily make their novel a tearjerker. While I don't believe that Halpern did that, I'm still not sure how I feel about the use of cancer in this book. It adds depth and character, but it didn't reach my heart the way I thought it would.

Even though I am nothing like Alex's character, I enjoyed reading about her hobbies and witty opinions. Her take on Becca's illness and life in general kept me intrigued. Becca and Alex's relationship made the book for me, hands down. How many people would be able to handle Alex's situation? Not only has she recently lost her father, but she's also having family and romantic issues while dealing with her best friend's disease. Still, she never fails to make Becca smile through the pain. That's true friendship. 

The F- It List is definitely intended for more mature audiences, as you can probably guess. Sex and other touchy topics are common subjects. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The F- It List. While it wasn't as heartbreaking or touching as I had hoped it would be, it provided a humorous yet insightful look at life and loss. As a girl who has had her own bucket list for years, I would definitely recommend this story of self-discovery and friendship.