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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel - Book Review & Giveaway

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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

Je suis Julie. I hold a B.A. in Creative Writing but am prouder of things like my by-the-seat-of-the-pants experience teaching English in Japan, self-taught progress with guitar and liquid eyeliner, my pursuit of languages and delicious words: relámpago, お花見, maquillage.

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:


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a winner's choice edition (hardcover or paperback) of Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index.

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index sounds like a beautiful, emotional story. From the review, it kind of reminds me of The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson which is also about family, love, loss and friendship and is one of my favourite YA books.

  2. The covers I've seen for this book are the first things that drew me to it, but then once I read what it's about and some of the reviews (including this one) the story really appeals to me too, I love an emotional that deals with tough stuff but manages to do it in a hopeful way.

  3. looks like an interesting read, thanks xx

  4. Sounds like an interesting read, thanks for the review & giveaway!

  5. I've had this emotional book on my TBR already and since i love family and friendship stories this book sounds like a perfect choice for me.

  6. I've seen this book everywhere and it seems very interesting!

  7. This sounds like an interesting exploration of grief.

  8. I would really like to read this book - it sounds great

  9. This sounds very different but definitely interesting. Will be put on my TBR pile too.