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Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler Review and Giveaway (USA/CAN)!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

She Never Thought A Kiss Could Kill. . .

Samantha is new at school and just recently joined the swim team.  She’s been flirting with one of her teammates, Zee, who invites her to a party and just as quickly dumps her for another girl.  Hurt, but pretending not to care, she turns to his best friend, Alex, and gives him a kiss.  And he dies—right in her arms.  Alex was allergic to peanuts, and Samantha had eaten a peanut butter sandwich right before the party.  She didn’t know.  Overnight, Samantha 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 will have to find the inner-strength to forgive herself for the tragedy.  Critics are already applauding the author’s insight and her ability to make her “character breathe with life” (Kirkus Reviews). Skillfully capturing the raw, honest emotions of her teen protagonists, Janet paints them into a searing portrait of a tragedy that uproots the lives of everyone it touches.

Goodreads Summary

How would you feel if you inadvertently caused someone you kissed to die?  When Samantha kisses Alex, she doesn’t realize that she should have picked a different snack (not the peanut butter sandwich!).  Alex dies literally in her arms and Samantha is left feeling terrible and made into a literal pariah.  As Samantha navigates the stages of grief in isolation, she must figure out how to forgive herself.  Help comes in the form of another boy, one who offers her friendship that could maybe turn into something more.  Is Samantha to blame for Alex’s death?  Or was it an unfortunate accident?

Samantha’s character is very sympathetic.  The reader will likely feel terrible that she is ostracized for something she had no knowledge of-how could Samantha have known Alex had such a terrible peanut allergy?  There are several instances of bullying in the book that some readers may identify with, allowing those readers to feel closer to Samantha right away.  Samantha is a sweet character overall.  She feels so terrible about Alex’s death that she cannot forgive herself.  The book focuses mainly on Samantha, though there are several supporting characters that round out the book.  Zee, Samantha’s best friend and Alex’s friend, has a bit of a bad reaction to Alex’s untimely demise.  His response to Samantha after the incident is both informative and interesting.  Casper, Alex’s friend, isn’t good news for Samantha, but she will take any form of friendship-much to the readers’ chagrin.  The interactions and complicated relationships after a friend’s death make Who I Kissed a fascinating story.  The reader will be rooting for Samantha to forgive herself.  Overall, this book is recommended to young adult/teen readers.

4 Stars

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


  1. Great review! I'm really looking forward to seeing how Samantha goes about forgiving herself for something that wasn't really her fault.

  1. M.A.D. said...:

    Sounds terrific! I'm most looking forward to discovering how Samantha navigates her way thru the media nightmare and comes to grips with the entire situation!
    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

  1. I want to know how Samantha handles what she accidentally did. It would be a horrific thing to deal with.

  1. can't wait to try a new authro

  1. Lori Thomas said...:

    I want to see how she forgives herself

  1. Anonymous said...:

    This summary itself intrigued me I can't wait to read this book and see how it all works out for Samantha.

  1. It's a great fear of mine for my son who has anaphylaxis to peanuts! He's eight-years-old and he already plans on "marrying someone who is either allergic to peanuts or hates them!" LOL. Looks like an interesting read. Thanks for the giveaway!

  1. Christina K. said...:

    This sounds so so good - what pulled me in is wanting to find out how Sam reacts, how she recovers and what others do.

  1. Cassi said...:

    I'm looking forward to all of the emotions. They're fun to fall into.

  1. To see how Samantha handles her guilt and grief and gets past it.

  1. Julie R said...:

    Sounds like a great book, with an interesting story.

  1. Maureen said...:

    What a tough situation for a young girl. It looks interesting to see how she copes.

  1. Jackie said...:

    This definitely tackles some issues that I've never read about before. I think that's what interests me the most. It's a fresh idea for the contemporary genre.

  1. LAWonder said...:

    Thank you for your review. I seems very far-fetched but interesting. I can't believe after ingesting a sandwich and the time lapse it would have any effect. Still it is an interesting thought