Well, May 30th – you’re a lucky day! This is the day that Julie Israel’s debut YA novel, JUNIPER LEMON’S HAPPINESS INDEX is out there in the world!
Funny, warm, and moving, Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index is a contemporary YA novel about loss, how deeply we can know others, and making our own happiness; perfect for fans of Sara Zarr and Jandy Nelson’s The Sky Is Everywhere.
Sixty-five days after the death of her older sister, sixteen-year-old Juniper Lemon discovers the break-up letter addressed to “You” Camilla wrote the day she died. Juni is shocked—she knew nothing of this You, and now the gaping hole in her life that was her sister feels that much bigger. She’s determined to uncover the identity of You and deliver the letter. Maybe that would help fill the hole, even if only a bit.
But what Juniper doesn’t expect is that in searching for You she will unearth other notes and secrets—and that may be just what she needs to sort out her own mess.
I knew I had to offer rep on this novel about 20 pages in. Juniper is funny and smart with an appealing indomitability — she grieving, and struggling through that process, sometimes swamped by it, but always trying to move forward, and go deeper; she’s considering the process of grieving at the same time as living it. It’s in her ability to be reflective that she finds the strength to move forward. This is a book that made me cry, as often as it made me cackle with laughter.
We’ve been receiving lovely reviews, including a star from School Library Journal!
“Themes of loss and emotional growth resonate throughout this novel. Told from Juniper’s point of view, the book … is peppered with lists, poems, notes, and letters…Israel brings together a diverse cast of characters with problems to which many readers can relate…This heartwarming work will appeal to fans of Cori McCarthy’s You Were Here. A well-told story of teen struggles and grief that will resonate with readers.” – School Library Journal, starred review
“Israel’s debut novel sensitively examines loss, survivor’s guilt, and how one girl attempts to rebuild her life…handles the long, painful process of negotiating grief gently and realistically while cleverly interweaving the light mystery of “you’s” identity throughout, keeping readers guessing as Juni steps closer to finding closure.” – Publishers Weekly
You can buy JUNIPER LEMON’S HAPPINESS INDEX here: