Title: The F- it List
Author: Julie Halpern
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: November 12th 2013
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Becca has cancer. She doesn’t know what the outcome of her treatment will be.
Alex is Becca’s best friend, and wants to help. And if the only wat she can is by completing Becca’s bucket list, then so be it.
Sleep on a beach and watch the sunrise? Check.
Tell off Lottie McDaniels? Check, definitely.
Fall in love…Wait! What?!
Here is an unforgettable book about living fully, living authentically, and just…living.
My First Thoughts:
So I bought this book on a whim because I really loved the title. I don’t ever read books that focus on cancer, and no I’m not a heartless person, I’ve just lost too many loved ones to cancer to want to read about it too. But I decided to give this one a shot and make it the book that I read before/during St. Valentine’s Day! Sweet, I know…
The first thing I have to say is I cried once while reading this book. It was within the first few chapters when the character’s cancer was still new. It wasn’t an overly emotional scene, but I imagined myself as the main character and what it would be like for my best friend to have cancer. Yea, I cried like a blubbering baby and it was 2 am…
Other than that one crying episode, my eyes were dry for the rest of the book. In fact, I spent a lot of it mentally screaming at the main character, Alex. Unfortunately, the weakest link in this story was Alex because she reacted in the most bizarre ways, at least in my opinion. There were many times in which I wanted to scream at her, asking her what was she thinking and why would she do that. I didn’t understand her character at all. I enjoyed that she loved horror films and made a lot of references to those movies and other fandoms. However, that’s where my love for her kind of stopped; beyond that layer was a bunch of half-assed character traits. She’s supposed to be a bitch, but feels really awful and loses her nerve when confronting someone who has antagonized her best friend for years. She’s constantly shaming herself for having a better life than her best friend, just because she has cancer, but tries to act all tough and strong to everyone. She blames herself for everything going on for no reason, yet can’t control the words coming out of her mouth. Alex was supposed to be a stellar student, though her behavior never really matched and she was never reprimanded for skipping class so often. And the one thing that I really hated was how she sought a physical distraction to everything horrible happening to her but didn’t really know the guy first; she only used him out of convenience and then fell in love.
Speaking of love, the main couple in this book didn’t really wow me. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer my romances to start with awkward flirting and end with the clothes ripping, though honestly it can stop way before that point too. I understand that relationships do often start in the reverse, but I just didn’t like how Alex and Leo treated each other for the first half of the book. The cancer love story that I would have preferred to read was between Becca and her love interest, but sadly we only got passing shots of the two of them and their relationship.
Becca was definitely the one that I preferred between the two best friends. I felt like her character was more rounded and that the mistakes and character flaws that she had were better explained. The story always got better when she was around, but sadly, she didn’t show up nearly as often as I would’ve thought. If Halpern wants to write this story again, but through Becca’s perspective and with her love interest, then I’d buy it in a heartbeat.
If you enjoy contemporary romance with an element of cancer, or any of them separately, then this book may be for you. If you enjoy a book that embraces extreme use of foul language and won’t shy away from excessive (but not terribly explicit) ‘adult content’, then you may enjoy this book too. If you like characters that love horror films and are film fanatics, then Alex and Leo may make your day.
However, I don’t recommend this book to children under sixteen. As stated before, there’s excessive usage of foul language and more ‘explicit’ scenes in this book than I have ever read in a young adult book. Also, if you find those things distasteful, then there is no way you can enjoy this book.
The story was all right, it kept me entertained for hours on the plane, and was simple enough. The plot was very straight forward and didn’t have a lot of weight to it, though at times is was carried on only by dialogue. The characters were pretty interesting and different, though I had a hard time connecting with the main character and by the end I never did. The love element was not what I had expected, and I thought that the main love was not as enjoyable as the side love. Overall, the book was average but not one that I’m overly excited to show to my friends.