Title: How I Lost You
Author: Janet Gurtler
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release date: May 1st 2013
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
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Grace and Kya always do everything together, and nothing can get in the way of their friendship. They have a pact: Sisters Before Misters. Buds Before Studs.My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Only Grace knows what Kya's been through, or how much she needs someone to stick by her. No Matter What. Besides, Kya keeps life exciting-pulling Grace into things she'd never dare do on her own.
But inch by inch, daring is starting to turn dangerous. And Grace will have to decide how far she can go to save her friendship with Kya...before she ends up losing everything else.
I really enjoy Janet Gurtler's novels, and I think How I Lost You was my favorite one of her books so far! Janet Gurtler's writing reads really quickly, and her books are always a great balance of entertaining and thought-provoking. How I Lost You was no exception - I loved it!
Very few YA books focus on a platonic relationship rather than a romantic one, so I really appreciated that Janet Gurtler took on the topic of friendship in this novel. Grace's and Kya's relationship is fascinating. Grace's character is easy to like and relate to, especially in her conflicting feelings towards Kya. Kya's character is even more interesting to me: yes, she seems like a horrible person at times, and she does make some horrible decisions, but I also understood her and felt for her, and saw the darker parts of myself in her. I don't want to spoil anything and give away Kya's secret, but what she's been through and the way it's still affecting her is an issue that I really liked seeing explored in YA literature. Kya fascinated me so much that I kind of wish that this book had been written in alternating voices so that we could have gotten to see both Grace's and Kya's point of view. But even just from Grace's view, the way that Kya's mistakes shift the dynamics in her friendship is interesting to read about, and I love the way that Janet Gurtler explored the complexities of such a destructive friendship.
Even if friendship is the main focus of the novel, How I Lost You has a really good romantic storyline as well. Grace's relationship with Levi is slow-moving and sweet, and provides a stark contrast to Kya's love life. I really enjoyed seeing their relationship develop over the course of the novel. At first, I was afraid there would be some kind of romantic interest between Grace and James, and I'm glad the story took the direction that it did instead.
Another aspect I really enjoyed about this story is the paintballing. Grace's dad owns a paintball place, where both Grace and Kya work and play. They're even trying to make it to a college or professional paintballing team! I really liked reading about this creative interest for Grace. I especially liked seeing Grace and Kya try to succeed in such a male-dominated area. I wish, though, that the feminist theme prevalent throughout the paintball scenes, had carried over to the rest of the story, especially Kya's issues and behavior, a little stronger.
With great writing and intriguing characters, I absolutely loved this thought-provoking story. I can't wait to read 16 Things I Thought Were True, Janet Gurtler's next novel!