Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: November 12th 2013.
My rating: 3.5 stars.
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.
“Maybe not amazing, but we have to do what we want and not let conventional fear get in the way”.
There seems to be a certain trend with books dealing with bucket lists as of late. I find that I’m really an emotional reader, I seem to find myself gravitate towards books which deal with tough emotional subjects and ones which make me cry. So bucket list books were certainly books I couldn’t wait to dive into.
Despite me assuming that The F-it List would be a book which would solely focus on a friend complete her sick friends bucket List I’m pleased to say this story provided much more than this. The bucket list that Becca who had been diagnosed with cancer asked her friend Alex to compete was an integral part of the story. It was made even more important because Becca and Alex hadn’t been talking until Alex found out about Becca’s diagnosis. It was like it had become crucial to make up on the precious time the two friends had lost over the summer. But also Becca hadn’t just made this bucket list since she had found out about her cancer, but had worked on it for a long time, so helping Becca fulfil some of the dreams, even though some did sound lame was important to Alex.
Alex was a complicated character, she was still dealing with the loss of her dad and now her best friend had been diagnosed with cancer. She didn’t really know what to do. Alex was also one of those characters who because she was afraid, she wouldn’t allow herself to get close to anyone else. Some readers may find this characteristic in Alex annoying especially when they meet the lovely Leo, who seemed perfect for Alex. But when you get under Alex’s layers that she keeps so she won’t get hurt, you understand why she does this in the first place. At times there is a lot of faffing about and time lost between Alex and Leo, but the realisations that Alex comes to and the character which emerges in the end I think was worth some of the heartbreak.
Like I mentioned before The F-it List focuses on several different stories, some readers may have wished for more focus on the bucket list, but I liked how Halpern shifted the focus around a bit. And most importantly, with these individual stories coming together it resulted in a lot of character growth and overall a brilliant read.