Saturday, December 8, 2012

I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler

Title: I'm Not Her
Author: Janet Gurtler
Format: Paperback, 285 pages
Pub. Date: May 1st 2011
Source: Purchased.


Five stars.

Nobody looks at Tess. She's a weird and anti-social freshman, always studying. Not to mention the lack of fashion that both she and her religious fanatic obese best friend possess. No, everyone would rather look at her older sister, Kristina. Kristina is bubbly and easy to like. She's nice to everyone, beautiful, and the star of the girls' volleyball team. That is, until Kristina is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly Tess finds her home life falling apart, with her sick sister, gossipy mother, and absent father all tearing away her own goals, while at school she's thrust into morbid popularity. She's the sister of the hot one who's sick. Life, trust, and friendships are lost by some but gained by others in this heart-wrenching story of family, love, and coping.


I'm not sure that I can write a cohesive, non-blubbering review for this book, but I'm going to try.

+The amount of emotion in this book is simply astounding. Just when I thought I couldn't grieve or cry any harder, Gurtler ripped away another piece. This book is raw, brutal, and often times uncomfortable. But that's what makes it so beautifully written and realistic. Anger, sadness, hope, betrayal, shock, and grief were all present in this novel, and my heart and brain weren't always sure how to react.

+What else made this book realistic is the type of cancer Kristina develops. It occurs in a non-vital location that I never even thought could get cancer. It's a snap back to a harsh reality that cancer can effect any part of anybody at any time.

+The characters were all flawed, but well described. I absolutely loathe both her mother and her "best friend." I wanted to hug Kristina and a few of Tess' new friends.

+And on that note, I wanted to console Tess. I relate more to her than any other character, being a nerdy introvert myself. I also relate because my mom was sick, though it wasn't cancer, and all of a sudden it brought out both the best and worst in people. You'd be amazed how many people change and how drastically in the face of a tragedy.

I could gush forever, but I'll spare you all that rambling mess. I recommend this book for ANYONE affected by cancer, anyone with a sister, or anyone who wants to read a book where they will shed tears. A similar book to compare it to is Tell the Wolves I'm Home.


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