Monday, March 04, 2013

Review: Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler

Title: Who I Kissed
Author: Janet Gurtler
Publihser: Sourcebooks Fire
Release date: October 1st 2012
Pages: 312
Genre: Young Adult contemporary romance
Source: Bought
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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.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Who I Kissed had a lot of potential, and there were many things I loved about it, but sadly, it fell flat for me. There were a couple of things that bugged me about it, and it generally just left me feeling very underwhelmed.

Sam is an okay main character. She's relatable and likeable most of the time; I really felt her remorse and guilt relating to the accident, and her struggle throughout the novel is realistic. But in every scene relating to boys, I wanted to smack her - she's ridiculously naive and passive. Yes, I get that she's traumatized, and that that's part of the reason she's acting this way, but still - her melodramatic feelings frustrated me. And she also had some slut-shaming views that bugged me.

I'm not sure what to make of the secondary characters. Maybe the problem is just that there are so many of them - Zee, Casper, Taylor, Alex, Chloe, and Kaitlin all seemed like interesting characters, and they all have their own issues that I would have liked to know more about, but I just don't feel like we really got to know any of them; I would've preferred to explore some of these characters in more depth instead of having such a large cast of secondary characters.

Then there's the family storyline. I loved reading about Sam's relationship with her dad and her aunt - both are great characters, and I love the all the crazy stuff Aunt Allie does to try to help Sam. But as part of the family storyline, Sam finds out some secrets about her mother, who died when Sam was younger. I'm not sure what to make of that - again, the set-up had a lot of potential, but I kind of feel like it was just too much. We couldn't explore Sam's feelings in enough depth.

Towards the end, there's a twist to the story that I am not a huge fan of. I can't really talk about this without spoiling it, but I can say that it made a large part of the novel feel kind of pointless. And the ending, I didn't love either - things wrap up too nicely for my taste.

Despite all of the negative stuff, there is one thing I loved, and that's Janet Gurtler's writing. Like in I'm Not Her and If I Tell, the writing is what carries the novel. Janet Gurtler has a style that flows really nicely and is quick and easy to read; it's subtle but beautiful, and what I enjoyed most about Who I Kissed.

Still, though, I can't help but be disappointed by this novel. Each storyline and character had a lot of potential, but I just feel like there was too much going on - the way it is, we couldn't explore any one storyline in as much detail as I would have liked, and there's a lot of unnecessary drama that takes away from the main plot. Who I Kissed is not a bad book, but it just left me feeling very underwhelmed.


  1. I hate it when I don't fall in love with a novel, but then it makes the wonderful ones worthwhile.


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