Reader Reviewed Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index by Julie Israel

Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index

Written by Julie Israel

YA readers   Debuts of the Month   13+ readers   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

June 2017 Debut of the Month | In a Nutshell: Love, loss, friendship and secrets

A tear-jerking, soul-stirring, heart-warming debut about losing a sister, and the ensuing aftermath of grief and mystery.

Sixty-five days have passed since Juniper’s effervescent big sister, Camilla, was killed in a car crash on their way home from a party. Since that devastating event, she’s been holding herself together by rating each day on cards in her Happiness Index. No wonder then, that losing one of the cards throws Juniper into further turmoil, especially when this particular card reveals a secret she’d rather no one knew. While frantically searching for the missing card - befriending bad-boy Brad as she does so - Juniper is also determined to discover the identity of her sister’s secret love.

The mystery surrounding Juniper’s missing card untangles compellingly, as do the personal revelations (sometimes hard-coated bad boys have the softest of centres). While the novel doesn’t shirk from showing the shattering effects of loss, Juniper’s desire to help others, her zesty, sardonic outlook, and the friendships she forms, are hugely uplifting. The characters feel poignantly true-to-life, making this a richly rewarding must-read for fans of Jandy Nelson and aficionados of authentically-voiced contemporary YA. ~ Joanne Owen

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Edel Waugh - 'Thought provoking and touching, this is a must read for any young person going through any kind of grief.'
  • Emma Baird, age 14 - 'I laughed and cried with the wonderful characters through this whirlwind of heartbreak and mystery created by Julie Israel which I would highly recommend as I really didn’t want it to end.'
  • Neha Saji, age 14 - 'A short, sweet book which I would recommend to girls coming of age. It is very motivating and teaches you the act of resilience!'
  • Emily Price, 14 - 'I thoroughly enjoyed Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index...More and more secrets become revealed and it is a very gripping story- I couldn't put it down!'
  • Year 9 Pupil, Dormston Secondary School - 'it is a great mystery story essentially dealing with the pain and confusion of a young girl’s grief.'
  • Amelia in Year 7, Thorp Academy - 'I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down because I found it really suspenseful.'
  • Finn, age 13 - 'I liked that the book was a lot about friendship as I'm always with my friends.'
  • Sophia Upton - 'Wow!!! What can I say, a truly remarkable story. Loved it!!! Well done...'


Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index by Julie Israel

It's hard to keep close a person everyone keeps telling you is gone. It's been sixty-five days since the accident that ripped Juniper's world apart. Life without her kind, beautiful, vibrant big sister Camilla is a colder, darker place. Until she discovers the letter. The letter Camie wrote, but never got to send. It's mysteriously addressed to 'You' and dated July 4th - the day of the accident. Desperate to learn the identity of Camie's secret love, Juniper starts to investigate. But then she loses something herself. A card from her daily ritual, The Happiness Index: little notecards on which she rates the day. The Index has been holding Juniper together since Camie's death - but without this card, there's a hole. And this particular card contains Juniper's own secret: a memory she can't let anyone else find out. An unforgettable story of love, loss, mistakes and memories.

About the Author

Julie Israel

Julie Israel did a lot of telling stories before she ever figured out how to write them: around the campfire, in grade school parodies, at meals where she had to account for the peas that mysteriously vanished from her plate, but did not end up in her stomach. She didn't try writing a book until high school, and didn't finish one until after she had graduated college, taught English in Japan, tutored, written freelance, begun volunteering, and completed her first secret mission as a spy. Okay, she was never a spy. She's still telling tales. It's one of her favourite things to do from her native Portland, Oregon, where she really does enjoy making art, learning, and sometimes vegetables. Juniper is her first novel.

author photo © Darina Israel

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Book Info


352 pages


Julie Israel
More books by Julie Israel

Author's Website


Penguin Books Ltd

Publication date

1st June 2017




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