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.
This is a smart, funny, poignant book guaranteed to make you laugh and cry – and maybe even take notes.
Page Length: 320
Genre: Young Adult
Characters: Juniper, Brand, Kody, Nate and Angela
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
First and foremost this story is about grief. It’s about how Juniper has to go on following the death of her sister Camilla. I really enjoyed how this story played out. I initially thought this might be quite heavy but by the end of the book, I felt uplifted.
Junipers journey was difficult I felt her character to be very realistic. I liked that we not only got see how it was affecting her but also how her parents were dealing with it. I also appreciated that this wasn’t a rushed process. The Story takes place over the course of about 10 months to a year. Which means we got to see just how far Juniper come:
“They say grief comes in stages: Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. And lastly, if you follow that model, Acceptance. This has not been my experience at all. Yes, there have been episodes, even periods of each, but the “stages” don’t present themselves in any order. They are not chronological like the days of the week; they cannot be quantified and arranged like teaspoons from smallest to largest. For me it’s been more like cards, a trick game Camie used to play when we were little: Smoke or Fire. In it, the “dealer” holds up a deck at an unsuspecting player and tells them to call out the suit of each card they display, “smoke” for black and “fire” for red—except, on the first “fire,” the dealer launches the deck at them. Grief is like that: One minute you think you know the rules and it’s one card, one emotion at a time; the next, the deck explodes all around you. Boom.”
I really liked this quote because it’s so true, grief is different for everyone and it was good to see this portrayed and important too, especially because this is a young adult book. And I also thought it was good that Junipers experience didn’t follow any sort of pattern, her grief wasn’t linear. Some days were good and some not so good. I felt this gave her character a lot of depth and realism.
I liked how she used to index cards to mark the positives and negatives of her day and in a way they are her coping mechanism.
I really enjoyed her relationship with Brand, I thought his back story was sad too. In-fact all of the characters in this story had very real life problems. Kody was the fat girl who lost weight but was still bullied, Angela is the bookish quiet one that loves her books but is keeps to herself and Nate… I thought his placement in the story was very cleverly done and that’s all I’m saying about him because I don’t want to give too much away.
“We roll on our backs toward the star-filled sky, I do not see the diamonds, the glittering shards that have shone there for billions of years, but the blue-black canopy between them. I see it and think of my watercolors, of carving Bristol from linoleum, of Polaris—with a twang, of Camie’s hand in them all, of the thousand ways she’ll never see her touch unfold—and somehow recognize it is this very darkness, the cutouts, the envelope of holes that makes the stars so sharp and beautiful. All that absence isn’t negative space. It’s the gum that holds the universe together.”
I enjoyed this story a lot more than I thought I would. This is Julie Israel’s first book and for a debut novel, I thought it was excellent. If you enjoy YA than then this should be on your tbr list!
My Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟