The F-It List by Julie Halpern is nothing at all what I was expecting. Rating: 3/5
*This is book #11/40 for my 2013 book challenge. You can take a look at my different reading challenges here.
Please Note: I received a free e-galley of this book courtesy of Net Galley. It is an uncorrected proof, and so some details may have been changed prior to publication. The following review is entirely my own view, and receiving this e-galley has not changed my opinion in any way.
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.
Well. This was disappointing. Let me first start by saying that the cover for the F-It List is absolutely stunning. It’s what drew me to the book in the first place. What made me want to read the book, however, was truly the summary. I assumed this would be two friends tackling cancer and going through a bucket list together, and it was not like that at all. Not even a little bit.
First off, the book isn’t bad. It’s just misleading. Yes Becca has cancer, and yes Alex is asked to do things on Becca’s bucket list. But that’s about all that is honest about this. If you read through my Goodreads updates, you’ll see how up and down my feelings were. I loved how this book didn’t hold anything back. So many YA books change cuss words to be more PG, and barely any talk about sex let alone masturbation. I liked how it was a bit crude, and it was more real. The characters weren’t perfect little princesses. Shit happens and people grieve. I like that. And I liked Becca a lot, but I hated Alex. She was whiny, and the entire time she acted like a little bitch. I understand people feel guilty, and they all grieve differently, but I wanted to smack her. I wish the book was from Becca’s perspective instead.
With all that said, the book was not about Becca and Alex’s friendship. It wasn’t about Becca’s cancer. It was certainly not about the Fuck It List. These were just minor aspects of a story that really focussed around Alex’s guilt and her new relationship with a boy named Leo. Everything just sort of fell flat. For example, Alex has been crushing on Leo for years and then acts completely disinterested in him. Cool. Becca asked Alex to do things off her Fuck It List, and then these things were only briefly talked about. Alex masturbated one morning, looked at the list, got to check something off. Told Becca she kissed Leo, finds out she accidentally did something on the list. The list, which is the name of the book and supposedly the focus of the story, was just an after thought. And half the things didn’t even get addressed. There were also far too many Horror movie discussions. We get it, you like horror movies. That shouldn’t be brought up more times than the actual supposed premise of the book. And then there’s Becca and Alex’s friendship in general. Because the book starts out with them being on the outs and then picks right up with Becca having cancer, we never get to sense how strong their friendship is. It feels like they’re not even friends at all. It’s hard to feel bad for a girl whose friend has cancer when she doesn’t even act like a friend to her. It’s just completely ridiculous.
Now, had this book been upfront and said something like “Alex’s dad dies, her best friend has cancer, and her world is completely turned upside down. Alex deals with her guilt, her grief, and learns how to live a better life” blah blah blah whatever. Had it been honest, I would have liked it more. I just kept expecting more to be done with the list, more than 25% of the book to involve Becca, SOMETHING. But I couldn’t fully enjoy the story because I was so frustrated.
I’ll end this very long review by saying that the book is light hearted, so you don’t have to worry about crying during this one. Don’t let the cancer angle stop you from reading the book. And Julie, if you see this, I’m sorry I disliked your book. Try not to call me a bitch.
If you’re interested in reading the book, it will be published on November 12, 2013.
If you’re interested in reading my GoodReads updates from this book you can do so here. I must say, they’re quite entertaining. It will tell you exactly what I was thinking on certain pages.