If I Tell by Janet Gurtler
Sourcebooks Fire, October 1, 2011
Summary from 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?I started this book with very high expectations. I truly loved Janet's debut, I'm Not Her, and really thought that this book would have just as much of an impact. Sadly, while it was a great story, I didn't enjoy it nearly as much. I just couldn't relate to Jaz at all for some reason. She was so down on herself, and hated herself so much, and yet so many people love her. How can she not see that? Plus, I really hated her mom. I get it that she was only 17 when she had her, and super kudos to Jaz's grandparents for stepping up and raising Jaz as their own, but really, her mom still acts like a 17-year-old and the way she treated Jaz just disgusted me throughout the whole novel.
The points about forgiveness, and keeping secrets, were very well done, however. I felt the story wrapped up very nicely and the ending was very acceptable to me. I just really couldn't find anything redeeming about Jaz. Yes, she's had a crappy life, what with being the result of a one-night stand, being bi-racial, and having to live in a narrow-minded small town. BUT, she's got so much going for her that plenty of teens who were born to same-race, happily-married parents don't have, and I find it really hard to connect with someone who can only focus on the negatives of her life--especially when she's the ONLY one (except for those racist kids at school) who does focus on them.
Having said all that, If I Tell was an interesting read, and certainly an intriguing premise (your best friend and your mom's boyfriend? EWWW!), and fans of contemporary fiction will enjoy it. I think I was expecting something even better than I'm Not Her, and sadly, this wasn't it.
eGalley received courtesy of NetGalley.
Enjoy your reading!