Tuesday, July 30, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler

I'm Not Her

“For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel envy…”

Tess is the exact opposite of her beautiful, athletic sister. And that’s okay. Kristina is the sporty one, Tess is the smart one, and they each have their place. Until Kristina is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly Tess is the center of the popular crowd, everyone eager for updates. There are senior boys flirting with her. Yet the smiles of her picture-perfect family are cracking and her sister could be dying. Now Tess has to fill a new role: the strong one. Because if she doesn’t hold it together, who will
A pleasant surprise.  I can’t remember what prompted me to buy it off of Kobo, but most likely it would have to do with the cover art.  From the very first pages where you are introduced to a prologue you have a feeling this isn't going to go well. I mean, her sister is diagnosed with cancer.  It ain't no happy go lucky book.
Kristina is Miss.Popular-star of the volleyball team, star of the school really. Whereas her younger sister Tess is definitely not. She likes to draw and study. She doesnt' want to be the centre of attention. It shows that just because you are an all-star sometimes life throws you a curve ball, and that curve ball is cancer.  Yup. Cancer. What a stupid freakin thing. 
Yes, the novel is written under Tess' perspective but I like how this novel shows not only how Kristina deals with the news but also her other family members. Dad retreats. Mom drinks. Kristina turns into a hermit.  Her parents *enter head nod of shame*. I do not like how they managed the situation. Yes its devastating news to hear that your child has bone cancer.  I would not know how to deal with that. It was hard enough having to deal with my mom being diagnosed with cancer a couple years ago. BUT, you can't ignore it. You can't pretend everything is hunky-dorie.  Yes, you have to put on a strong facade to your loved one going through cancer, but fuck- cancer sucks no matter how you look at it! However, the different ways of dealing with Kristina's cancer is realistic because it shows that everyone deals with it differently and in their own ways. Is it the right or wrong way. Yes and No.
Life is interrupted for Tess, and her goals and dreams are falling to the wayside. Understandably yes, but you can't help but feel sorry for her as well. Yes, she isn't the one battling with the possibility of losing a leg due to cancer, but she still is losing a lot. Mainly because her parents are expecting her to be the responsible one.
Yes there are better, less stereotypical books out there on cancer. But this one was pretty darn good. 4 stars because I wasn't expecting it. Plus it was a super easy read too, which is perfect for those lazy summer days.
I think I will definitely check out Janet Gurtler's other novels.  Apparently the author is Canadian too. Which makes her 10x cooler.

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