Monday, February 5, 2018

Review: Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index by Julie Isreal

Juniper Lemon's Happiness IndexTitle: Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index 
Author:  Julie Isreal 
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books 
Publishing Date: May 30th 2017
Pages: 320
Genre: YA Contemporary, Coming of Age 
Series:  Stand Alone
Source: Audio
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.

This was a very anticipated read for me but as all contemporaries go I take a while to get to it. They scare me just a bit. I am particular over this genre. This genre is not my favorite but I know some great books exist in this genre. This is one of the greats for me. I am in love with this book. It had all the feels I could possibly need in a read. A real good book for hope and love, forgiveness, and acceptance. 

Juniper Lemon has recently lost her sister in a terrible accident. An accident that has change Junipers world. Her thoughts and agony over the accident has taken her over. Everyday since her sisters death she has numbered her happiness index cards with the day since her sister's death. Once school has started back up she takes number 65 to school and loses it. There is something on this index card that she doesn't want anyone to read or know. At the same time this card has gone missing she finds a note from her sister to YOU. Its a love letter, a break up letter. Juniper finds it her mission to figure out who YOU is and also to find her missing index card. During the search she discovers other peoples secrets, friendships, love, and forgiveness. 

Where to start with my thoughts. This book had my heart and head in so many places while reading and after. I had a book hangover after this read. I just couldn't imagine leaving Juniper and her friends behind or being able to feel anything beyond what I was feeling at time of finish. It was a hard book to get through at times but also was so easy to fall for the characters and be so invested in this story. It was so amazing. 

The books I have read on death and grief are a hit or miss for me. I have a hard time with the main characters in some of these reads. Sometimes either their grief is so consuming or the character is so whiny I can't get through them. Now I think either way the main character goes can be real to life. I mean if I had lost someone really close to me at a young age I may be whiny or too consumed with grief to go on too.... So I do get it. I just don't have the heart to read about it. Juniper Lemon was neither. She was not whiny in the least. She was a strong character. She had her issues sure but she didn't let them get the best of her. She was overwhelmed with grief but in everything she did she was determined to get through it and be the best she could be. What she did find was occupying her time with helping others or finding YOU helped her with her grief. Which I felt was a very mature way to handle her situation and feelings. She wasn't always smart with the things she did but she always had the best at heart. 

The book was filled with so many great characters. Characters that made me question things, made me angry, filled me with hope, made me cry. Junipers parents weren't in the book much but when they were they played such a big part. Her mother handled things with withdrawing and trying to figure out a way to forget. Junipers father was split with trying to grieve, trying to keep his wife in a good place, and trying to help Juniper. He had a very hard time balancing. I felt that most of the time within the family life, Juniper was forgotten. Forgotten she was still alive and forgotten she lost someone she loved too. 

Junipers friends were just amazing. She lost her best friend right after the accident. Simply due to the fact her best friend didn't know what to say or how to act around Juniper. Juniper was forced to make new friends and she did. These new friends gave Juniper an outlet and the friendships that grew were just so amazing. 

There was a bit of romance in the book which was sweet at times and aggravating at other times. I think it was hard to have a great romance when each character was dealing with heavy stuff. It did not take up most of the story. It was there and I did enjoy it but the main story was about Juniper dealing with her sisters death. 

I think one of the things I enjoyed most was watching Juniper use art and her friends to keep her sisters memory alive. The mystery of You was intriguing too but it wasn't a main focus for me. I kept forgetting about it and was more concerned with what was written on index card number 65. Which was really good because the mystery of YOU was a bit of a let down if that is what you are in the story for. The words written on index card number 65 was much more interesting and heart wrenching. 

The end was very heartwarming and great. I was very very satisfied. 

I loved this book. It was one of my favorite reads in a very long time. Worth the read and so happy I finally made myself read this. 


  1. Sounds like an emotional read. Glad to hear Juniper struck the right chord with you, not being too whiny and such. Wonderful review, Jenn Renee! :)


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