Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Review- The F-It List (Julie Halpern)

The F- It List


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

My Review 

Alex’s father has just died, and to top things off her best friend, Becca, has just been diagnosed with cancer. While being laid up in bed, while undergoing chemotherapy, Becca imbues Alex with the special task of completing her bucket list; a list of things that she has kept since a child of things she wants to do in life. While some of the tasks are pretty straight forward (eating a hot pepper) some are far more difficult for Alex to complete (Have sex with someone you’re in love with). But ever the best friend, Alex steps up to the challenge, ensuing lots of laughs and definitely a tear here and there.

As a character I really liked Alex. She was very unique and really stuck out as someone I could have easily known in High-school. She’s an old-school style horror movie fanatic, cynical about life, straight up and sarcastic as hell… and I adored her. The chemistry between her and Becca was amazing and spoke of true friendship. Their dialogue flowed so naturally and always ended up in a weird perverted place…..reminding me of me and my own best friend.

Surprisingly, the stories focus is actually less on her best friend’s cancer, and more about her struggles after her father’s death and her friends diagnosis and the ever increasing feeling that somehow she is a fault for them. She carries a lot of guilt around and whenever she starts to feel happy aka when she starts to get involved with Leo, a boy she’s had a longstanding crush on, she chastises herself for being happy while her best friend could possibly die. In turn this stops her from being able to really get close to anyone, especially Leo, who she constantly tries to pull away from.

Ahhh, Leo. At first I wasn’t a huge fan. He definitely didn't live up to my clean cut hero ideals. He himself is dealing with his own struggles, a brother serving in the war who his parents idealize while he feels unnoticed. However, as the story progresses I could see how perfectly he and Alex fit together. 

Despite the premise and the main characters struggles, the story is dealt with in a humorous and witty way, which doesn't subtract from the underlying journey of the characters and the message that this book holds. 

Things I loved about the book:

  • The movie and TV show references, and the fact  that Alex and Becca have Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathons.
  • The overall reminder that life can be short and to make the most of it while you can. Don't hold back, do what you love and 'throw caution to the wind'.
  • That the main love interest was flawed in his own way. He wasn't this clean cut hero, that swooped in and saved the day. He was real and adorably sweet as well.

Things I didn't like about the book:

  • I felt a little like the bucket list got a little lost along the way. It definitely featured, but it wasn't the main focus as I had originally expected. 

My rating: 3/5


  1. That premise does sound interesting. I have been torn about this one. But maybe the fact that two of the characters have Buffy marathons will change my mind, I love that show. I am binge watching it on Netflix right now.

  2. I love tv and pop cultures references as well and I love the title of this one

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs


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