If I Tell by Janet Gurtler
Paperback 256 Pages
Expected release date October 1, 2011
I received this book from Net Galley. No compensation was offered or received. A review while appreciated was not mandatory.
Jasmine Evans was born to high schoolers - the princess and the football player. He has his life mapped out with dreams of football and she doesn't have plans to raise a child in hers. So Jaz is lovingly raised by her grandparents, with visits to and from her mother. Jaz is pretty much a loner after being harassed, (and nearly drowning), by her fourth grade classmates, who weren't very accepting of her skin color. Not being accepted by either white or black kids she has had one best friend Lacey and a slightly newer friend Ashley. Lacey is a few years older and the "bad girl" while Ashley is a lesbian. While working at a coffee shop Jaz meets "bad boy" Jackson. Things are not great but not too bad when one night at a party Jaz walks in and sees Lacey kissing her mother's boyfriend. Feeling betrayed by her best friend and the man she considered a step father figure, she is determined to tell her mother. But unknown to her, Jaz's mother has news too - she is pregnant.
This book tackles many issues that could muddy the story or fail it completely. Janet Gurtler, however, writes a beautiful, gripping novel. She handles each issue sensitively. The writing is such a caliber that you are able to feel what Jaz is going through. You are drawn in from the start and, if you are like me, take sides right off. I was confused and indignant when Jaz's mother told Jaz she was pregnant and wanted Jaz to be happy for her. How could she ignore the fact that she did not raise Jaz? I was mad at her mother through much of the book. The issue of being biracial and being raised in a white home was handled intelligently. Jaz's feelings of not knowing very much of her father, his family and being black were explored. (There is a flip side to this but you can read it to find out.) The book makes you think about how far we have come, (or in some areas, not come), in acceptance of various races and mixed races in particular. A lot of value is placed on honesty and being open with those we care about. The consequences that are written in are natural and not watered down. The book has a very real feel to it. Reading it I felt the see-saw emotions that Jaz was going through and I was as confused as she was whether to tell or not. If you are looking for an excellent YA novel that does not back away or play down issues, misconceptions, deceptions or consequences this is a book I would highly recommend. I would also recommend it to YA reading groups, and mother-daughter teams. There is a lot of material in this book that would make awesome discussions.
Just Tacos by Shelley Wiseman, and Sugar, Sugar: Every Recipe Has a Story by Kimberly "Momma" Reiner and Jenna Sanz-Agero, ( both out October 2011) . I know I do not need to tell you who will benefit from these two. * To everyone else there are reviews for these two cook books coming up next week.*
Part Wild: One Woman's Extraordinary Love for a Creature Caught Between the Worlds of Wolves and Dogs by Ceiridwen Terrill, ( out October 2011). This book sounds fascinating and I love both wolves and dogs.
Extreme Paranormal Investigations by Marcus F. Griffin, ( out October 2011). I love ghost stories. These are located in the Midwest. The book sounds awesome. I found this on Llewellyn Worldwide
Ghost Hunting for Beginners: Everything You Need To Know To Get Started by Rich Newman, (out October 2011). Doesn't even need an explanation. Just says FUN. Another Llewellyn find.
Death by a Killer Mop Doll by Lois Winston, (out January 2012). Another book that just says FUN to me. *Children that I bore in pain, this book does contain instructions on how to make Themed Mop Dolls - don't let that frighten you. Remember if I have a happy Christmas your New Year will be happy. * Llewellyn
Pieces of Us by Margie Gelbwasser, (out March 2012). This book sounds so intriguing!
Silver Sparks by Starr Ambrose, (out November 2011). I will need a light romantic suspense to get me through the holiday stress.
I hope you find something interesting and/or just had a chuckle or two today. Check out the book If I Tell - it really is a good read. Look for the other reviews soon. Please leave me a comment so we can stalk, err, check you out and see what your reading or waiting on.