Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Review: Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler

Title: Who I Kissed
Author: Janet Gurtler
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary
Release date: October 1st, 2012
Pages: 312 (Paperback)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Publisher
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She never thought a kiss could kill… Samantha didn’t mean to hurt anyone. She was just trying to fit in...and she wanted to make Zee a little jealous after he completely ditched her for a prettier girl. So she kissed Alex. And then he died—right in her arms. 

Was she really the only person in the entire school who didn’t know about his peanut allergy? Or that eating a peanut butter sandwich and then kissing him would be deadly? Overnight Sam turns into the school pariah and a media sensation explodes. Consumed with guilt, abandoned by her friends, and in jeopardy of losing her swimming scholarship, she’ll have to find a way to forgive herself before anyone else will.

Who I Kissed tells the story of a teenage girl who seems to have everything going for her...and the night that changed it all.  Sam has always been healthy, both mentally and definitely physically.  Unfortunately, when she's the cause of a classmate's accidental death, her life take a turn for the worse.  She loses any hope of finding friendship in her new school and she even quits swimming altogether, which was once her entire world.  Why should she deserve to have a good life when she took someone else's away?

I loved that the author pushed issues surrounding food allergies and asthma into the spotlight.  I haven't read any books on the subject before this, and it's definitely an eye opener.  When Samantha kisses a boy she'd just met in order to make her crush jealous, she's faced with something more shocking than she could have ever imagined.  Alex dies from the peanut butter sandwich Sam consumed before the party, and now Sam is the talk of the town, as if she did it on purpose.

Sam was the perfect main character for this story.  Her emotions felt so real.  Pain and remorse is present throughout the entire story, and she even tries to turn to others in order to take it away, but what she doesn't realize is that she is her most difficult critic.  Sam has to be able to forgive herself, to make herself believe that Alex would have wanted her to keep living her life the best she can instead of giving up.

The author creates an incredibly heart-wrenching story about loss, love and the mistakes we all have to make in order to grow.  The reader will feel like they've grown with these characters, which makes the story all the more worthwhile.   With realistic characters, an interesting plot and wonderful writing, Who I Kissed is a contemporary that no one should miss.

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