I’m Not Her by Janet Gurtler

I’m Not Her
Author – Janet Gurtler
Reviewer – Stephanie
Rating – C+/3.5; Enjoyable, Would Recommend/N/A
Reading Level – Young Adult
Pages – 288
Publisher – Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date – 2011
Source – Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

I’m Not Her is told from Tess’s point of view. Tess is fifteen years old. Her older sister Kristina is the sporty and popular sister and Tess is okay with that. Tess is artsy and enjoys being in the shadows. She wants to be in the Honor Society and she’s going to enter an art contest. Then one day everything changes and nothing will be the same.

Kristina has bone cancer. It’s aggressive and if Kristina wants to live, it must be taken care of quickly. Almost immediately, Kristina is in chemo but because of her popularity everyone notices when she starts missing school. Kristina doesn’t want anyone to know about her cancer and swears Tess to secrecy. Soon everyone at high school wants to know where Kristina is and why she’s not at school. Tess is missing school so she can be at her sister’s side. Tess’s dreams seem to become unimportant and are sliding out of her reach. She’s only fifteen years old. How is she supposed to cope with everything that is going on in her life?

I’m Not Her focuses on cancer and how it affects everyone not just the person who has been diagnosed. In this case, Kristina wasn’t diagnosed until it was almost too late. I was pretty disgusted with her parents. For whatever reason, their response was to bail and leave their younger daughter to deal. No one was there for Tess. Everything became her responsibility. It really made me angry because while they put a lot of responsibility on Tess, they weren’t even 100% there for Kristina either.

Tess filled Kristina’s shoes at school as well. She kept the school updated on Kristina’s illness and gained a lot of popularity because of that. At times Tess really enjoyed being surrounded by supportive people because she certainly wasn’t getting any of it at home. At other times it was really oppressive and all the attention made Tess feel like she was turning into someone she didn’t know.

There was a lot of emotion in this book. There were several heart wrenching scenes and some that made me laugh. A good book will make you feel and this book certainly did that. It’s a good book but it’s not at full of happy fuzzies. There are some harsh realities in I’m Not Her. As long as you’re prepared for that, I think that you’ll find this book an engaging read.

3 stars


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