Review: Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel

Juniper Lemon uses index cards to rate how she feels each day since the death of her sister Camilla. On day 65, she discovers that Cam was in a secret relationship (and that she was going to break it off). This letter was wrote on the day of the accident, and Juniper decides to try and find out who the mystery person is. In the evening of day 66 she realises index 65, the index where she confessed something no one can find out, is missing. Will she be able to find what she’s looking for, and get the closure she desperately needs?

There’s nothing I didn’t love about Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index. I loved when memories between Juniper and Cam were brought up, aswell as memories between Cam and other people. As Juniper said, “it’s like Camie is alive again”. When others shared their memories of Camilla with her, she felt like a hole was filled. She felt like she wasn’t the only one who misses her. School life is very accurately portrated – there’s gossip and drama, people being nasty for no reason (ahem, Morgan) and people you thought were friends just leaving you and finding new friends.

This book does a wonderful job at displaying how grief can show in different forms, whether that be upset when Firsts-without-a-loved-one happen, or dumpster diving, clay throwing, and basically going on a loss-fueled mission to discover who Camilla’s partner was. The friendship was heartwarming, and it wasn’t always perfect but there was always good intention (ok, maybe not on one occasion – I’m looking at you, Brand).

Another topic that’s included in Juniper Lemon is difficult family life. I think this is especially important, because some books brush over family life completely, or just make it seem perfect. You can really feel the strain the loss of Camilla has put on Juniper’s family, and it’s evident how much her mum is struggling. Brand’s parents are seperated because of his fathers alcohol addiction, and the violent ways in which his father acts out leaves Brand with no choice but to spend his time elsewhere, and you can see the impact this situation has on him.

I didn’t have to get very far into Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index to know it’d become one of my favourite books, throughout reading it I was just a big bundle of emotions and I whizzed through it! I felt so attached to the characters and really wanted to find out how things would work out for them, and I was really invested in the story overall. The author somehow had a way of making me feel like I was actually a part of Juniper’s life, and in typical me style I absolutely sobbed at the end.

This is no doubt a 5 star read for me.

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