Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Review: I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler

Title: I'm Not Her
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 320
Release date: May 1st 2011
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought at The Book Depository
Find out more: Amazon ; Goodreads

Goodreads description:
Tess is the exact opposite of her beautiful, athletic sister. And that’s okay. Kristina is the sporty one, Tess is the smart one, and they each have their place. Until Kristina is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly Tess is the center of the popular crowd, everyone eager for updates. There are senior boys flirting with her. Yet the smiles of her picture-perfect family are cracking and her sister could be dying. Now Tess has to fill a new role: the strong one. Because if she doesn’t hold it together, who will?

First sentence:
No matter how much I don't want to care, it's not easy being stranded alone in the middle of a crowded room, like the ugliest dog at the animal shelter.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First off, I love the cover of I'm Not Her - the colors are just so beautiful! And so is the actual book. The writing is incredible - beautiful, rich and vivid, which the first sentence shows perfectly, in my opinion. The characters are complex and well-written. From the first page on, it's easy to relate to Tess and her problems, even before the whole cancer-story starts. She has a great voice, touching and funny at the same time. I really enjoyed reading about her and her art and her relationships with others (especially Nick and Clay).

The other characters are great as well. All of the descriptions I'd read before reading I'm Not Her made it sound like Kristina was going to be the stereotypical "popular girl" - superficial and all of that, but that's not the case at all. Well, obviously, she is the popular girl, but  she's so much more than that too - I loved reading about how she deals with having cancer, and even though I'm in no position to judge whether or not the way she handled her situation is realistic, it definitely seemed realistic to me. The relationship between the sisters is great and relatable too - complex and dynamic. Even though both of Tess's and Kristina's parents annoyed me, the way they dealt with their daughter's disease seems realistic as well. I enjoyed reading about the different ways each member of the family handled the situation. Jeremy is a great character as well - he's so cute!

***This paragraph contains spoilers!***
My only real problem with I'm Not Her are the developments later on in the story. I understand there has to be some kind of character growth for Tess, but to be honest, I liked her better in the beginning than at the end. Yes, it's good for her to gain confidence, but she seemed kind of conceited to me towards the end, screaming at her father how great her art is. I would have liked to know more about Kristina's growth after the amputation. I'm not sure how I feel about Jeremy's death - yes, there has to be some kind of development in that storyline as well, but having Jeremy die seemed unnecessarily tragic to me - like the author wrote his death just to have something tragic happen. The only development I liked is the one between Tess, Nick and Clay!

I have two more little problems with I'm Not Her. The first is the title - the title I'm Not Her gives the reader (or at least me) the impression that the realtionship between Tess and Kristina is bad, which I don't think does their bond justice. It seems like it's about a girl trying to break out of her sister's shadow, but the book is about much more than that. The other problem is the...well, I don't really know what to call it - I mean the snippet of the book that's copied to the first page - is that called a prologue?... Anyways, I think that snippet is very misleading and confusing and made me not have any hope throughout the novel. I feel weird about criticizing that, since it's not even the author's fault (I think), but it doesn't seem right to me to manipulate the reader like that.

Despite the little problems I had with the novel, I'm Not Her is a great read with beautiful writing and complex characters. I'm looking forward to Janet Gurtler's next novel, If I Tell, which sounds great as well!


  1. i'd like to read this book. it seems heart warming:)

  2. This book sounds great! It's been on my wishlist for a little while now. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :D

  3. I love the green and the pink on the cover too. It's beautiful. I have added this to my to-read book list before. This remind me of My Sister's Keeper. Anyway, I can't wait to read this!

  4. I read this book for a book report and I liked it for the most part. I feel the same as up above in the complaints Hannah had.


Please leave a comment - I love to hear what you think!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...