ARC REVIEW: Who I Kissed, by Janet Gurtler

Date(s) read: September 15 – 16, 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary

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She never thought a kiss could kill…

Samantha didn’t mean to hurt anyone. She was just trying to fit in…and she wanted to make Zee a little jealous after he completely ditched her for a prettier girl. So she kissed Alex. And then he died—right in her arms.

Was she really the only person in the entire school who didn’t know about his peanut allergy? Or that eating a peanut butter sandwich and then kissing him would be deadly? Overnight Sam turns into the school pariah and a media sensation explodes. Consumed with guilt, abandoned by her friends, and in jeopardy of losing her swimming scholarship, she’ll have to find a way to forgive herself before anyone else will.

My Thoughts

Thank you to Raincoast Books for sending me a copy of this book for review!

Being someone who grew up with absolutely no allergies, I was eager to start reading Janet Gurtler’s book, Who I Kissed, which involves a peanut allergy. I’ve heard of people with severe allergies to peanuts and it’s a scary thing! While people have a right to eat whatever they want, I still find myself being cautious when eating in smaller spaces, like in an airplane. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have a child with a severe peanut allergy – obviously parents can’t hide their children in the home forever.

The characters in this book really made the story. I loved how the main character, Sam, was so determined to be a great swimmer and really had her life on track. It was interesting to see how one thing – albeit a BIG thing – seemed to completely derail her life.

I really liked Sam’s character. She went through a lot and was very brave. She’s one of those characters who I really wanted to relate to, but couldn’t because of the situation. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to kiss a boy and have him die in my arms – but to think that it might be possible. Peanut allergies are severe – could they be that severe?

This book deals with the aftermath of Alex’s death – his death shouldn’t be a surprise when reading this novel because it’s written in the synopsis. It was interesting to see what people thought of Sam after the death, and how they coped and got on with their lives.

I did like how there was more going on, other than the coping from Alex’s death – there was romance and friendship, as well as family relationships. We learn that Sam’s mother died a long time ago and her death is something her and her father need to talk about. One thing I could have had less of was the sleazy Casper character (who I thought was shady from the beginning), but between him and Kaitlyn, there were plenty of people to dislike.

Of course, that being said, there were times when I thought there were just a few too many things going on in the story and I really wanted to focus to remain on Alex and the awareness of peanut allergies. Another thing I was concerned about in this novel was the fact that it was never talked about how there were TWO people involved in Alex’s death – Sam and ALEX. I thought at one point someone should mention the fact that Alex also kissed Sam and that he should also be in the blame. Yes, I know he died, but there were still TWO people.

A very quick read, but one that should keep your interest the whole way through, Who I Kissed is a book that will keep you thinking when you finish reading it.


© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.


9 thoughts on “ARC REVIEW: Who I Kissed, by Janet Gurtler

  1. Great review! You know, I never thought about the fact that they never mention that Alex should be at fault too, but that’s totally true. I really enjoyed this one because it had so many different dynamics to it, great review!

  2. I’ve heard mixed emotions about this book and it probably makes me a horrible person but every time I read the synopsis I have to fight the urge to roll my eyes. It sounds like something out of a soap opera. Though I am glad that you like it.

    • Ha ha … some books are definitely like that. BUT this also has some real life issues to it, too, since we rarely think about how something so simple as what we eat and how it might affect others.

  3. I first heard about this book on Jenni’s blog, but then today I actually shelved it while at work – which is cool because the store I work at is so small so it seems like we never get in half the books you guys review. I think the premise for this book sounds fascinating – and I agree with you – I’m allergic to nothing and I can’t even imagine what life would be like if I WAS allergic to something like peanuts, let alone *killing* someone accidentally because they are allergic. Sheesh, it’s kinda scary to think about! Great review!

    • I know! I always go into Chapters or Indigo thinking they’d have the cool new releases, but they never do. Maybe they have this one since she’s an Alberta author?

      It’s very scary to think about. When I’m in confined spaces, I’m always cautious of what I’m eating since you never know who might be allergic.

  4. Pingback: Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge (9) | Reading In Winter

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