Tag: Janet Gurtler

Review: #16thingsithoughtweretrue by Janet Gurtler.

Posted April 14, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Rowena’s review of #16thingsithoughtweretrue by Janet Gurtler.

Heart attacks happen to other people #thingsIthoughtweretrue

When Morgan’s mom gets sick, it’s hard not to panic. Without her mother, she would have no one—until she finds out the dad who walked out on her as a baby isn’t as far away as she thought…

Adam is a stuck-up, uptight jerk #thingsIthoughtweretrue

Now that they have a summer job together, Morgan’s getting to know the real Adam, and he’s actually pretty sweet…in a nerdy-hot kind of way. He even offers to go with her to find her dad. Road trip, anyone?

5000 Twitter followers are all the friends I need #thingsIthoughtweretrue

With Adam in the back seat, a hyper chatterbox named Amy behind the wheel, and plenty of Cheetos to fuel their trip, Morgan feels ready for anything. She’s not expecting a flat tire, a missed ferry, a fake girlfriend…and that these two people she barely knew before the summer started will become the people she can’t imagine living without.

I’ve enjoyed Janet Gurtler’s books in the past and this sounded like a good story, so I jumped right in.

When Morgan’s Mom is rushed to the hospital, Morgan’s life begins to crumble around her. Her Mom is all she’s got left, outside of her twin brothers. She wouldn’t have a parent anymore because her father is different from the twin’s Dad and they’re still in constant contact with their Dads but not Morgan. Morgan’s never known who her Dad is. Every time she asked her Mom, she refused to tell her…until she thinks she’s dying.

Morgan’s Mom feels like the end is near for her and she wants Morgan to know how sorry she is for not telling her who her father is and when Morgan gets a name, it’s hard for her to not research her father. To find out all she can about him, to want to meet him and find out why he abandoned her and her mother all those years ago. She is so full of self-righteousness that when she goes on a road trip to meet his father of hers, her world is tilted on its axis and she’s thrown completely off.

Before the road trip though, her best friend Lexi posted a video of Morgan dancing in men’s underwear and she becomes an internet celebrity…but more like Miley Cyrus celebrity (not the good kind). People whisper about her behind her back, they laugh and mock her and her best friend Lexi? Yeah, she dumped her. So Lexi spends most of her time alone. Until she meets Amy from work. And with Amy, comes Morgan’s jerk of a boss, Adam.

Over the course of this book, Morgan finds out a lot about herself and about the people she surrounds herself with. Her brothers are both good to her, her mother keeps secrets and is sick and two very unlikely people come to mean so much to her.

I really liked getting to know Amy and Adam. I thought they were fantastic additions to this story but Morgan was a lot harder to connect with. The stuff she was worried about, she shouldn’t have been worried about. The things she thought and did throughout this book either made me want to smack the shit out of her or pull her hair. It was a toss up between the two. When Amy comes into her life and she starts to be influenced by her, I was glad for it. I was glad for the influence that Adam had on her as well. They were both such great characters and I was glad that Morgan had them in her life. She really needed them…or I don’t think I would have ever come around to liking her character.

This isn’t my favorite book by Gurtler, but it was still a good one. I wish I had connected more with Morgan and I wish I would have understood her mother’s intentions but overall, this book was still enjoyable. I’ll definitely be reading more by this author.

Grade: 3 out of 5

This book is available from Sourcebooks Fire. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion.

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Review: Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler

Posted October 30, 2012 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Who I Kissed by Janet GurtlerReviewer: Rowena
Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication Date: October 1st 2012
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Janet Gurtler's latest contemporary YA novel is by turns gripping, heart-wrenching, and joyous as one teen girl has to find the courage to carry on after a devastating tragedy.

She never thought a kiss could kill...

As the new girl in town, Samantha just wants to fit in. Being invited to a party by her fellow swim team members is her big chance...especially since Zee will be there. He hasn't made a secret of checking her out at the pool. Sam didn't figure on Alex being there too. She barely even knows him. And she certainly didn't plan to kiss him. It just kind of happened.

And then Alex dies—right in her arms...

Consumed by guilt and grief, Sam has no idea what to do or where to turn when everyone at school blames her. What follows is Sam's honest, raw, and unforgettable journey to forgive herself and find balance—maybe even love—in a life that suddenly seems to be spinning out of control.

I was curious to see how I’d like this book, given the premise behind it. I can’t even imagine the kind of guilt and grief a girl would feel after making out with a guy and having him die because you ate a peanut butter sandwich before the party. I found that while reading through this story, Sam’s reaction to everything that happened rang true. It felt real and my heart was broken for her, for Zee and for Alex’s family. There were so many things going on in this story, so much guilt that it was hard not to get emotionally attached to everyone in the story.

There’s Sam’s guilt over kissing a boy she barely knew. There’s Chloe’s guilt over staying with her boyfriend than checking on her brother like she meant to. There’s Zee’s guilt over the crappy way he treated Sam that led to her kissing Alex. So much guilt and so many people drowning in it.

The story goes like this: Sam is the new girl in school and she swims (exceptionally well). Sam likes Zee. Zee seems interested in Sam. Zee and Alex are best friends. They all go to a party. Zee and Sam talk, hit it off. Zee is pretty drunk. Sam is not. Zee’s ex-hook up bulldozes her way into Zee’s lap. Zee does not push her off. Sam is hurt. Alex makes himself known. Alex and Sam talk. Alex makes Sam feel better about Zee’s rejection. Sam tries to teach Zee a lesson. Alex and Sam kiss. Alex dies. And then guilt…all around.

The bulk of this story deals with what happens after Alex dies. It’s told through Sam’s point of view but Gurtler did a great job of inserting the other characters and their emotions in as well. The sub-plot about Sam’s mom’s death is thrown in there which I thought added more depth to Samantha’s character.

I couldn’t put this book down. I started it long after I posted on Goodreads that I was reading it but once I opened it up, I couldn’t put it down. I was too interested in getting to know Sam, in getting to know what happened after that party at Taylor’s house. I was invested in Sam’s story and I thought the author did a great job of sucking this reader right into Sam’s world. She’s the new girl in school and she didn’t know about Alex’s peanut allergy. She was the new girl in school and she was trying to live down a false reputation at her last school that was started by girls who were jealous of Sam’s ability to swim faster than some fish.

Sam was a good person and she didn’t deserve any of the treatment that she got before she came to Tadita and after the party at Taylor’s but what gutted me was that she thought she did. She thought of herself as a murderer and she just took the treatment that the kids at school threw her way. She took the treatment that Zee gave her on the chin because she thought she deserved it and that made my heart hurt for her in a way that it hasn’t hurt for a character in a long time. I was so glad when her Aunt Allie finally came into the picture because even though I knew that her father loved her and wanted to help her, it was more than a little obvious that he didn’t know how to help her. Sam was drowning in a sea of guilt and it wasn’t healthy and I was super glad that she had people in her life that loved her enough to want to get her that help. She was also very fortunate to have a good friend in Taylor. Taylor was the best friend that Sam had and seeing her stand up to the people who stared and murmured behind their hands at Sam made me want to pay for her college tuition or something.

I really liked that even though Sam thrashed out at those around her (the people that didn’t deserve her attitude), she knew that she needed help and she didn’t waste anyone’s time when that help was presented to her. This is one of those stories that could happen in real life. It’s real and it’s something that we could have heard on the news and this book takes us into that what happens next situation and tells the story of a young girl who was a good person that went through some really bad crap. I came to love Sam as if she were my own daughter and was happy that she had a good support system through her family and her friend. Sam learns a lot about herself and about life and I thought Gurtler did a great job with the writing of this book. I really liked it and what I liked most about it is that it made me think about how I’d react if something like this happened to me. Not just to me but what if it happened in my town, when I was in high school. I know that I wouldn’t have been one of the people that treated Sam like she was a killer but what would I have thought? How would I have reacted?

This was a good story and I thoroughly recommend it.

…and that’s your scoop!

This book is available from Sourcebooks Fire. This book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://goodreads.com


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Review: If I Tell by Janet Gurtler.

Posted October 4, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Main Character:
Love Interest: Jackson
Series: None
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

Jasmine Evans knows one thing for sure… people make mistakes. After all, she is one. Jaz is the result of a onenight stand between a black football player and a blonde princess. Having a young mother who didn’t raise her, a father who wants nothing to do with her and living in a small-minded town where she’s never fit in hasn’t been easy. But she’s been surviving. Until she sees her mom’s new boyfriend making out with her own best friend. When do you forgive people for being human or give up on them forever?

The blurb of this book was what drew me to it. I thought it would be one of those stories where I could lose myself in what was going on in the story but that wasn’t what I got when I was reading. What I got was a lot of race issues. Jaz is the product of a black father who wants nothing to do with her and a white mother who gave her over to her parents to raise while she went on and continued to live her life. Jaz is half white and half black and that distinction played a big part of this book. It’s hard for me to believe that there are places in this world that still treat black people different from white people.

So Jaz knows a secret that she’s pissed about. This secret could hurt someone really close to her and she doesn’t know what to do. She doesn’t have a friend to confide in because the secret includes her best friend Lacey and she needs distance from her so she does what she does best. She pulls away and when her hot co worker Jackson shows interest in her, she takes him up on his offer to be friends.
This book could have been a good story had the delivery been a bit smoother. I thought I was getting a story about a girl who caught her Mom’s boyfriend cheating on her Mom with her and while that happens, the story centers around Jaz and her coming into her own skin. Becoming comfortable with who she is and not letting what she is (half black/half white) define who she was as a person. Jaz struggles with her identity throughout the book and I wished time and time again that being black wasn’t something that she was so hung up on.
I wasn’t a big fan of Lacey and I understood Jaz’s struggle with forgiving her because she was Lacey’s best friend and you don’t hook up with your best friend’s Moms boyfriend. No matter how drunk you are. I’m sorry but even after finding out what Lacey went through when she was younger didn’t really justify hooking up with your best friend’s Mom’s man, especially when your best friend’s Mom was pregnant with her boyfriend’s baby. So when Lacey was mad at Jaz for not forgiving her, I rolled my eyes because well, tough shit.
Jaz’s attitude toward those around her left a lot to be desired. I got that she was shy, I got that she was trying to save herself the heartache of being rejected because of the way that she was treated at that pool all those many years ago but the way that she treated her Mom, her friends (Jackson and Ashley) got on my nerves from time to time. She was really bratty and I’m not a fan of brats. She’s almost eighteen years old, she needs to put those whiny rants to bed.
Overall this book was interesting but I didn’t really enjoy it much. All of the black and white issues that the main character went through wasn’t anything that I could relate to and because I didn’t like her much, it was hard to want to connect with her. I did enjoy seeing her relationship with Jackson blossom and I enjoyed the friendship she had with her grandmother and Ashley. I liked that at the end, Jaz became the person I wanted to know throughout the book but by then, it was a too little, too late kind of thing.
I was royally pissed off at her when she mouthed off to Jackson and if Jackson didn’t forgive her, I wouldn’t have blamed him. I thought it was such a stupid way of expressing yourself and it really ticked me off but her apology at the end made up for all the darts I was throwing her way (in my head) because of everything she said, from the stuff she said to her Mom, the disrespectful way she was with her elders. I thought that Ashley and Jackson were good friends for her and I was glad that Lacey was finally taking the necessary steps to fix herself and I was glad when she finally talked everything out with Simon. It all ended the way that it was supposed to end but the getting there was rough. All in all, it was a good book but there was a lot of stuff (attitude) that I could have done without.
..and that’s your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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