Sep 28, 2011

Review: If I Tell

Janet Gurtler

  • Publisher: Sourcebooks
  • Imprint: Sourcebooks Fire
  • Pub Date: 10/1/2011
  • ISBN: 9781402261039
  • Source: NetGalley
  • My Rating: 4/5
  • Summary: Her best friend and her mom's boyfriend. Locking lips. This is the secret Jasmine Evans has to keep at all costs. Because her mom is pregnant, and Jaz doesn't want to ruin her life-again (just being born did it the first time). But the harder Jaz tries to pretend everything is okay, the faster her life spins out of control. Until Jackson. He doesn't care about the popularity of her friends or the color of her skin. But can she really trust a guy who just transferred in from reform school? She might be willing to chance the heartbreak, but telling him everything and risking the truth getting out is a whole other level of scary.

If I Tell is first and foremost a deeply realistic novel (maybe you can't tell by the summary which at first sounded to me like a soap opera blurb), but given any other setup, any other place and situation, the core of it is as realistic as it can be. The main conflict revolves around an alcohol-induced mistake. If told, it could destroy several lives. As Jasmine struggles with herself weighing the pros and cos of telling the truth,she learns that everyone makes mistakes, but also that some of them have to be forgiven and forgotten.

Janet Gurtler addressees issues such as alcoholism, postpartum depression, racial and sexual identity with honesty and frankness (given that there was a lot of talk about making gay characters straight in YA literature, I really appreciated it), which added more depth to the novel and characters.
I loved the characters. They are well-developed, multidimensional, perfectly flawed and so real. To quote from the book-We're human. We're an imperfect species. From characters that are easy to judge in the beginning they grow and spread to unveil the morale of the story; can you dismiss all the good in a person because of one mistake?

I read If I Tell in a day. It made me laugh out loud and filled my eyes with tears more than once. What I loved most about this novel, beside it's emotional charge and strong morale, was the tenderness in voice and compassion Janet wraps her characters in.

If I Tell hits shelves October 1st.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the opportunity to read and review this novel.

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