Michelle's Review: If I Tell by Janet Gurtler

We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We apologize for the lack of posts last week but things just got really crazy, with school, Thanksgiving preparations and school (it's the end-of-semester chaos!). But soon it's going to winter break (YAY!) and you're going to be seeing more posts here. Anyway, I hope you're all having a great after-Thanksgiving Monday. Here's my review of If I Tell by Janet Gurtler:

book cover Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: October 1, 2011
ISBN: 9781402261039

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (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?


Michelle's Review:
I was really excited to read this book because the premise was interesting. Jasmine, or Jaz, saw her mother's boyfriend at a party one night kissing her best friend. Add to that the fact that her finding out that her mom is pregnant and, well, I was eager to see how everything will work out.

Most of the book dealt with Jaz's struggle with "the secret" and whether she should tell her mom or confront her mom's boyfriend about it. There was also Jaz feeling like an outsider because of being biracial and the incident that happened when she was younger with her classmates has made her distance herself from anyone at school. She was going through a lot and because of her insecurities, she sets herself apart from everyone. But she want an easy character to like. She had "poor-me" self-centered attitude and was very stubborn that most of the time I was irritated with her. But despite the fact that Jaz wasn't likable, her character felt authentic. She's a teenager who is struggling with a lot of things and how she acted and dealt with her problems was real. She does grow up in the book and was more likable towards the end.

The characters I liked were Jackson, who was the love interest, and Ashley. They were good friends to Jaz and part of my irritation with her was how she treated them but they were so patient with her. The romance between Jaz and Jackson was sweet. I liked that it wasn't a huge part of the book but it was there. Also, I haven't read any book where you sort of "see" a character suffer from postpartum depression (usually it's just briefly mentioned and glossed over). Jaz's mom's PPD was sad but it was interesting at the same time.

If I Tell was my first novel by Janet Gurtler and I thought her writing style was very readable and I got through this novel fairly quickly. The writing was clean and straightforward without the flowery language but the emotion was there. If you're looking for a realistic fiction read with themes of identity, family, friendship, being biracial, belonging and forgiveness, I suggest you give If I Tell a go.

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