It’s Saturday and you know what that means, its book review time! Whoop, whoop! This week it is the turn of a book that has been sat on my TBR pile for ages, a book that I brought purely because I liked the cover. and that book is Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel. So let’s do this.
I am unsatisfied by this book. like really unsatisfied! This book had so much potential but it ultimately failed to deliver. Which was such a shame.
I had really high hopes going into this book. I was hoping that this was going to be a really good exploration of grief. A book that explored what it means to lose a sister and how to piece your life back together afterwards. I was thinking The Sky Is Everywhere, When We Collided, History Is All You Left Me, that kind of thing. And at first, it was. at least it was starting to be. For the first few chapters I had really high hopes for this book. But after those first few chapters it started to dissolve into a pretty standard YA romance. And the grief side of the story got pushed to the back. Which was a shame. I hate it when YA books do this. they let the topic slide half way through and focus on the romance instead. It is incredibly annoying.
I was also really annoyed that we never got closure on a lot of things. The biggest one being You. I am so incredibly annoyed that we never found out who he/she is. This was such an integral part of the plot and it is never satisfyingly resolved. I get that Israel was attempting to do the whole ‘sometimes letting go is all the closure you get’ thing, but when so much of a plot hinges on something, that approach doesn’t work. So much of this book was centred on finding You, that not ever finding out their identity is just a bit of a piss take. Especially since I have a major suspicion as to who You is and I want to know if I’m right. and if I am right, it should have been included as it would have been such an interesting storyline. And if it isn’t the person I think it is (I will say who I think it is at the very end of the post, scroll down if you want to know who I think it is) I want to know who it actually is. I just found it incredibly unsatisfying not knowing.
And this is the problem with this book. It didn’t hold what I wanted it to hold and what suggested that it held, but it was nice to read. I found myself smiling at it several times. This book worked as a light, almost fluffy, romance. It was predictable, but sweet. Everyone ended up together. Nice and fluffy. But it didn’t work as a Contempary exploring grief. And it could have, if only a bit more focus was given to that side of it. There was so much potential. Between Juniper, Nat, her parents and You, we could have seen all sides of the grief process. And we could have seen how everyone grieves differently. I just wish that this had been the case.
I can definitely see why this book has such mixed reviews. it just isn’t what it is said to be, and that is disappointing.
2.5 out of 5
And there we go. Have you read Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index? What did you think about it? I hope that you have enjoyed todays post and I will see you all again soon
My opinion: I think that You was the teacher. The English teacher (I think it was English) who is described as being young and zany and that everyone loved. Camille was in his class; he fits the profile. Secret relationship, possibly secret because it wasn’t aloud. Left him in high school, technically, he is in high school. The collage key chain thing, possibly the collage he went to. his reluctance to reveal himself, because the relationship was forbidden. How he saw the wall, he is at the school. That’s my opinion. Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but it fits. And it could have been a really interesting topic to explore. A student/teacher relationship isn’t something that gets explored in YA very often. Who do you think You is?