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Review by Suze
Juniper has lost her sister Camilla and nothing is the same without her. Juniper likes spending time with her sister's things and when she finds a break-up letter in Camilla's handbag that's addressed to 'You' she wants to deliver the letter. Juniper is trying to find this person, but the search won't be easy. She didn't know Camilla was seeing someone and doesn't have any idea who it could have been. To feel close to Camilla Juniper keeps a Happiness Index, something her sister made her do, she rates her days and gives a score to everything that happened. Juniper doesn't only have to get over the loss of her sister, she's also estranged from her best friend. She's trying to cope while letting new people into her life, which is quite a task.
Juniper's searching for lost things and while doing that she's finding herself back bit by bit. Who is she without Camilla and what exactly happened on the night Camilla died? Is the bad-boy at school really so bad or is he actually a kindhearted guy? Can Juniper, with the help of others, find out more about her sister's love life? And last but not least, will Juniper be able to find happiness again after the loss of her sister?
Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index is a beautiful story about family, love, loss and friendship. Juniper thought she knew Camilla and when she discovers her sister was secretly in love she's determined to find this person. This gives her story a fantastic mystery aspect that immediately gripped me. I love stories about secrets and Julie Israel knows how to work with tension. Juniper is grieving and wants to find a way to still feel close to her sister, so she's very invested in her search. That makes the story extra captivating. I could easily understand her emotions, they felt realistic and genuine and I loved the Happiness Index, something that's out of character for Juniper, which she does for her sister, even if she's no longer there. Julie Israel describes the connection between the siblings and Juniper's grief with empathy and kindness and that suits the story incredibly well.
Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index is moving and impressive. While it's a story about grief it isn't too heavy. Juniper's search and the time she spends with her new friends are bringing enough lightness. There's hope, even though Juniper has to live with a terrible loss she will eventually be able to start living a little again. She deals with her sadness in a unique way, which is something I really liked about this book. What I also loved is the friendships, the way Juniper expresses her love for her sister and the fantastic unexpected ending. Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index is a compelling emotional story about growing up and finding a way to move on after going through something life shattering.
If you love emotional YA and like stories about secrets I highly recommend Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index.
About Julie Israel
I’ve been an artist since I could mar walls with crayon and a writer since grade-school parodies, but chose to study writing because I thought I’d have a better chance landing a job with it (Oh, my sweet summer self). I’m now pursuing my dreams with reckless abandon: noveling first, making art on the side.
Author newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cCun3z
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