Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Me on Who I Kissed
Author: Janet Gurtler
Release Date: October 1, 2012
Samantha didn't mean to hurt anyone. She was just trying to fit in... and maybe make Zee a little jealous after he completely ditched her for a prettier girl. So she kissed Alex. And then he died. Was she really the only person in the entire school that didn't know about his peanut allergy? Or that eating a peanut butter sandwich and then kissing him would be deadly? Overnight, Sam turns into a pariah and a media sensation. Consumed with guilt, abandoned by her friends, and in jeopardy of losing a swimming scholarship, she'll have to find a way to forgive herself before anyone else will.
Who I Kissed is an intriguing look at grief, at mistakes we wish we could take back, at giving up and moving on. At the heart of the book is Sam, her emotional issues, her struggle to move on. The only way she can go is forward, but something has been switched on inside of her that makes her stop in her tracks, stopping while the rest of the world moves on around her.
Sam is filled with regret, with guilt, and she can't move on. There were times when I wanted to reach into the book and shake her, push her, scream at her to move on, but she can't. That's what this book is about, it's about how she can't move on, how she's too focused on Alex and his death that she believes she caused, even if it was accidental. In her mind, it's enough, and she doesn't feel that she deserves to continue on with her life, with her new friends, her new high school, and with swimming.
Most of the supporting characters in the book are grieving, just as Sam is, but they all have their ways and methods. It's an interesting look at the ways people cope with loss. Sam needs to grief, needs to talk and express all of her emotions, but in a way she needs space, space to accept. She also needs the unwritten and completely fictional guide book on how to cope with loss. I got the sense that, right after the accident, Sam wanted to be told what to do in terms of coping and grieving. She wanted to know what to do next, how to get over the guilt of causing Alex's death, even though there was no way she could've known about his allergy. No one told her what she was supposed to do, but that's because there's nothing specific that anyone could've told her. Everyone grieves in their own way, and it was up to Sam to figure out how to move on.
A heartfelt and honest look at grief, at how hard it can be to move on, to take that step forward after stopping because of something so tragic and unexpected.
(I received an advance copy to review from Raincoast Books.)