- Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
- Publication date: 11/12/2013
- Source: ARC provided by the publisher for review
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.
I have read books that deal with cancer, but this was totally different. Yes, it had an emotional impact, but it was also full of hope. It was light-hearted, while still having an emotional impact. This was not told from the perspective of the person with cancer, but by her best friend, who has just been through her own tragic issues. I loved the idea of the bucket list and Alex trying to complete it for her best friend. She not only is doing something for her friend, but she discovers herself along the way.
I liked Alex, but some things about her irritated me. She is very selfish at times, but I do get that she is still having a hard time with the things that happened in her life. She at least knows that she is being selfish and feels bad about it. She realizes that her issues are small in comparison to fighting for your life, and not knowing if there is a future. She not only helps her friend and is there for her, but she discovers her own happiness that she didn't think she would find with so much hurt in her life. She fights it, thinking that she doesn't deserve to feel good. She is very broken inside and uses humor and sarcasm to create a wall around her. I felt bad for her and also wanted to yell at her to tell her to stop trying to act like the world can't hurt her. Of course with the help of a romance and her best friend, she is able to let herself out slowly and let that solid wall down bit by bit. Not that it was that easy. In fact, she created more hurt for herself while fighting to keep her feelings and emotions hidden away.
Leo was a character that I instantly liked. He wasn't overly charming, or one who tries too hard. He gives her what she needs, but doesn't want to push too far. Though he is falling for her, he still tries to play it off for a while like it's just fun like she wants. He has some of his own issues to deal with too, but he knows that she is going through a lot and wants to help her. They have a weird sort of relationship, but it works. I really liked his character. It fit with the confusion and feelings that teenagers go through, especially under the circumstances in this book.
This book tackles many issues such as family death, cancer, tested friendships, relationships, and family. It wasn't so dramatic that it seems like every other sad tragic book in this genre, it was very light, but very real. I loved that Becca wasn't letting herself completely fall apart, and in fact she was stronger than Alex while she was the one facing cancer and the treatments. She was very funny and it kept the story from seeming too intense and emotional, but the emotion was still there. I think that the most emotional parts of the story were other issues that were tackled. There were moments when I felt like it all might be too much for one book, but it worked since the way things went in the book really do reflect real life. I love contemporary books, and I love finding ones that are light and make you feel good even when there seems to be so much tragedy. A book full of hope in desperate situations was just what I was looking for, and this totally delivered.
*An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.