Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler

Who I Kissed
by Janet Gurtler
Raincoast Books (Sourcebooks Fire)
ISBN: 978-1-4022-7054-3
Buy from Indigo

Description: She Never Thought A Kiss Could Kill. . . Samantha is new at school and just recently joined the swim team. Shes 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 diesright in her arms. Alex was allergic to peanuts, and Samantha had eaten a peanut butter sandwich right before the party. She didnt 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.

The Good Stuff
  • A sweet and realistic story of grief, guilt, family, relationships and forgiveness
  • As a mom I found it a thought provoking and challenging read at times.  I won't lie I spent much of the story silently weeping. Made me think could I forgive someone who might have inadvertently killed my child. Made me think about my serious consumption of peanut butter and how I will be so much more vigilant about cleaning up, brushing my teeth and washing my hands when I consume.
  • Again as a Mom my heart went out to Sam and her grief and wanted to just give her a great big hug (also as a Mom it makes you think about your own child in the situation)
  • Relevant to the world our kids live in with cyber-bullying and drinking and relationships. Author isn't naive about how kids deal - never sugar coats anything and isn't overly preachy so kids will relate
  • No archetypical characters - these people will remind you of someone you know - again YA readers will relate to (And us old mom's will appreciate that the adult characters aren't evil, totally ignore their kids or stupid - very refreshing thank you)
  • The scenes between Sam and Alex's family just broke my heart
  • well written and intriguing
  • Enjoyed the scenes between Aunt Allie and Sam's Dad
  • Great for a class discussion or teen book club (Not to mention one for mom's)
  • nice touches of humour at the right spots
  • Added this to my Staff Picks at work I loved it so much
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Don't read in public unless you enjoy people staring at you while you sniff and wipe the tears from your eyes
  • Would have liked to seen some repercussions or mentions of punishment for those who were exhibiting bully behaviour online (Sorry its a mom thing)
  • Cover doesn't do the brilliant story justice
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Hold out your hand," he says in a deep, rich voice that sounds like he gargles daily with sexy juice."

 "Of course not," Aunt Allie says. "That would require actual human compassion."
Both of them stare off into space. "At least we don't have to worry about me being spoiled by my grandparents," I say.
Aunt Allie shakes her head and turns to me and smiles. "That we don't."

"She's working on a full house cleanse to rid us of negative energy. Dad's been holding his tongue about it, mainly because I think he appreciates the free cleaning."

"It's not fair." I whisper. "He had so much to live for."
"He was just a kid," my dad says softly. "It was a mistake. God knows we all make them."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Probably not for someone who only enjoys fast paced dystopian, paranormal reads (Nothing wrong with that though)
  • Other than that I would say this can be enjoyed by anyone of any age (probably would appeal more to girls than boys - yes I know that is sexist - but probably true)
  • Excellent for someone who is dealing with grief  - they will relate to Sam and her friends and families honest & realistic portrayal of guilt and grief
  • A must have for every public and school library
  • FYI - parents & educators - there is a sex scene but it is tasteful, realistic and honest - please kids are going to have sex, help them make sure they are protected - don't be naive and think that they are not going to do it (sorry sometimes I go all preachy and high horsey)
5 Dewey's

I purchased this at Janet's launch at Chapters Shawnessy where I work - she was lovely and the book cookies were a nummy breakfast the next morning


  1. Yes. I wouldve liked to have seen some repercussions, too. AND, I wondered why there was never anything said about Alex doing anything wrong. I thought that being the one with the allergy, he wouldve been more cautious!

    But, it was a very good read and one that introduced me to Janet Gurtler. Ill definitely be checking out more of her work!

  2. I agree Kristilyn - but I also know kids like that and they think it wont happen to them, so would say it is realistic. I will be checking out her other stuff too now. Thanks for dropping by -- you are amazing at keeping up with stuff - I have barely looked at any blogs since I moved here - but hopefully that will change now that I quit the day job (no not Chapters -- love it there!)