Title: How I Lost You
Author: Janet Gurtler
Date(s) read: July 10 – 11, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Publisher & NetGalley (eARC)
There are a few things Grace Anderson knows for sure. One is that nothing will ever come between her and her best friend, Kya Kessler. They have a pact. Buds Before Studs. Sisters Before Misters. But in the summer before senior year, life throws out challenges they never expected. And suddenly the person who’s always been there starts to need the favor returned. Grace and Kya are forced to question how much a best friend can forgive. And the answer is not what they expected.
Thank you to Raincoast Books & NetGalley for sending me an eCopy of this book for review!
Janet Gurtler is constantly surprising me. I discovered her work last year and fell in love with her writing — and then I realized that she lives only a few hours away from me! It was wonderful to find such a talented author in my home province. Of course, now whenever I see her books, I jump at the chance to read them!
At first, I was a little confused because the main characters, Grace and Kya, were playing paintball — I really didn’t read much into the story before I started actually reading the story, so it was kind of neat to have two professional paintball players. It’s not something I see that much in books that have a sporting angle. I did really like Grace and Kya, though I probably liked Grace a little bit more. I found Kya was really hard to like and even though she had been through certain things in her life, it was hard to like her only for that reason.
A thing that I liked in this story was the main theme — Grace and Kya’s relationship. We’ve all had best friends and it’s interesting to see that relationship where two people have been friends forever, not only growing up together but going through horrible events together. The question that the story seems to ask is whether that’s enough to maintain a friendship. At what point do two people decide to not be friends anymore? Especially when they’re drifting apart? I felt like this was very well told and I was so torn at certain parts of the story on whether or not the friendship should continue. I felt like I was part of the decision process and I didn’t want to do it.
One thing that Janet Gurtler writes very well is the family dynamic. Unlike a lot of YA books where the family, mainly the parental units, are pretty much absent, Gurtler’s characters have family and they’re very prominent in the book. Grace’s parents come up a lot in the story, with them knowing about Kya’s circumstances, and James — Grace and Kya’s best friend — has a mother with MS. It’s nice to see that the characters are close with their families, and that they have problems with their families. It seems to be much more realistic than having parental figures that never seem to make an appearance.
I feel like I’ve definitely found a favourite author in Janet Gurtler. She does have quite the catalogue that I still have to make my way through, but I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next. At this rate, she can only get better and better!