Review: Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler
Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler
October 1, 2012
She Never Thought A Kiss Could Kill. . .
Samantha is new at school and just recently joined the swim team. She’s been flirting with one of her teammates, Zee, who invites her to a party and just as quickly dumps her for another girl. Hurt, but pretending not to care, she turns to his best friend, Alex, and gives him a kiss. And he dies—right in her arms. Alex was allergic to peanuts, and Samantha had eaten a peanut butter sandwich right before the party. She didn’t know. Overnight, Samantha 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 will have to find the inner-strength to forgive herself for the tragedy.
WHO I KISSED is an inspiring contemporary YA read that will twist your insides but leave them well intact by the end. Gurtler expertly approaches a sensitive topic and explores the meaning of life and forgiveness. I have a niece with a peanut allergy so the book hit very close to home in that way. Even if you don’t know anyone with a peanut allergy, it will be easy to feel the pain radiating off of everyone involved and to understand just how horrible the situation is, especially for Sam. I’m thoroughly impressed by basically every aspect of this book and would recommend it to all contemporary readers out there!
Sam is in a very dark place after Alex’s death. She had no idea he had a peanut allergy so how could she have known not to kiss him? She feels guilt so deep that it affects every aspect of her life and changes her into a new person that wants nothing more than to make amends for her part in Alex’s death. It takes some serious support from her close family and friends to help her get to a better place where she can finally heal and let go of the past.
Gurtler’s story greatly affected my emotions. I can’t tell you how many times I was ready to shed tears because of Sam’s emotional despair. The changes she makes in her life to “make up” for Alex’s death made my heart hurt for her. Thank goodness for her friend Taylor, her crush Zee and her Aunt Allie. These guys had a huge impact on Sam’s recovery and she might not have gotten through it all without them. Gurtler is also a pro at throwing curveballs in the book that change a whole lot. I didn’t see them coming at all!
You do not want to pass up on WHO I KISSED. It is stunningly well-crafted and sure to get your mind going. Well done, Gurtler. Well done.