Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm Not Her

I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler
Sourcebooks, 2011
285 pages
YA; Contemporary; Sisters
3/5 stars

Source: Library

Have I mentioned that I love books about sisters yet? I mean, I think I have but just in case that hasn't sunk in, here's another story; this time it features the well-worn trope of popular older sister who had always overshadowed the younger until something tragic happens.

Beautiful popular older sister Kristina is diagnosed with bone cancer, shattering her dreams of volleyball scholarship and causing her to almost completely withdraw from the high school world of popularity.  Meanwhile younger sister and narrator Tess watches her family collapse and sees her social status skyrocket as everyone wants to know about Kristina.

I never really connected with Tess, despite her facing problems I could sympathize with (fortunately not the family member with cancer).  Nor did I feel much for Kristina, who so completely withdrew from everyone, allowing none of her friends the opportunity prove there was more depth to their relationship.  On the other hand though, these were real, messy characters, not even close to perfect and making a lot of mistakes in their relationships and life.

Because of that realness, there was a sadness permeating every page. Neither Tess nor Kristina gets what they want nor is either of them even close to healing at the end of the book. I think that's one of the reasons I didn't love this book: I prefer a happier story or else one with more over-the-top drama. The events hit too close to home because I could see these people and see real-life people making the same bad decisions and suffering in the same ways.

Overall: Well-written but too bleak for my tastes.

Read for YA Debut Author Challenge.

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