The F-It List by Julie Halpern
Review of The F- It List
Title & Author:
The F- It List by Julie Halpern
Feiwel & Friends
November 12, 2013
ARC via Publisher
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. – Goodreads
The F- It List by Julie Halpern is witty, snark-filled story that felt very honest in its portrayal of not only what it’s like being a teenager right now, but how cancer can affect people.
And I really liked it. I’ve seen a few mixed reviews, but I enjoyed The F- It List. I felt like the tone was really realistic and Alex’s character was snarky but in a very natural sounding way. Sometimes a character is too snarky, you know? And it makes you hate them. But there was a lot about Alex that reminded me of myself when I was a teenager.
I was also totally loving the pop culture references in The F- It List. And there’s a lot of them. Again, it felt very natural. From Alex’s Norman Reedus thing to Buffy binge-watching, I was all over it, because my favourite thing is pop culture, basically.
Everyone’s reaction to things like cancer is different, whether you’re the one who has it or it’s your best friend, and I thought Julie Halpern did a great job of showing that. We’ve got Becca, who actually has cancer, and she’s bitter and sarcastic and scared. And then Alex, the best friend, who is awkward and unsure and pretty much terrified. And then Becca’s mom, who turns to God, and a girl at school, who goes around telling everyone. I don’t know, I just really liked how no person acted the same way.
The F- It List had a lot sexual situations, so if that’s not your thing, I might suggest not reading it. But I really liked Leo and I liked his interactions with Alex. I thought that played out well. And I liked how the characters in The F- It List kind of owned their sexuality. It’s a reality of being a teenager these days, maybe not everyone is having sex, but a lot of them are and a lot of them know people that are.
But more important than that, I think, was Alex and Becca. The summary of The F- It List kind of makes it sound like Becca and Alex aren’t friends anymore until she gets cancer, but it wasn’t really like that? They were just fighting a bit and then they kind of just jumped back into their friendship and it was the same as it ever was. It didn’t have that strengthening growth described in the summary – but maybe that’s because I didn’t get a good look at what their friendship was before the fight and before the cancer. I don’t know, whatever their friendship was or wasn’t, I liked it. Not nearly enough YA focuses on friendship and I felt like it was a big part of the The F- It List, although the romance bits definitely took up a lot of the screen time too.
Oh, and I really liked Caleb. I don’t know why, because he was barely there, but I think he was my favourite character.
This review is all over the place, but basically, I enjoyed The F- It List by Julie Halpern. It was bitter and sarcastic, but hilarious and full of heart, much like a teenager, I think. I loved the focus on Alex and Becca’s friendship – I thought it balanced out the romance and the sex perfectly. The writing is fairly straight-forward and easy to get into. Definitely pick it up if The F- It List sounds like your thing.
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