Book Review: If I Tell

If I Tell
Published By: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Paperback
Length: 256 pages
Release Date: October 1, 2011
Buy it at Amazon
Source: Provided by Publisher
Audience: Contemporary Young Adult

My Thoughts:

The fact that Janet Gurtler's writing has been compared to that of Jodi Picoult was definitely a draw for me. Tired of my typical paranormal trips into the worlds of vampires, werewolves and fallen angels, I  was interested to see how the emotional twists and turns through issues relevant to our society today would pan out in YA literature. In the end I  was very pleased that like Picoult, Gurtler is not afraid to delve into sensitive topics. Her words hold a special power that brings forth a wide range of emotions through the course of her characters' struggles. I loved that she didn't shy away from controversial topics that teens struggle with on a daily basis. Her characters are strong, believable, and imperfect, and the world they live in is real. Ms. Gurtler's writing is rich and moving. It draws the reader in immediately and keeps us reading through the ups and downs of the emotional roller coaster.

Jasmine is a biracial teen struggling with self-identity. She is the product of a one night stand, and unplanned pregnancy between a black football player and a blond princess. Neither of her parents raised her, her mom is a friend at best, and her dad is an absentee parent altogether. While she struggles to find her place in a world that is not accepting of her, Jaz holds a secret that could destroy some of the rocky relationships she is clinging to. Jaz isn't always the the friend and daughter she should be, and while at times she made me angry with her treatment of others, it was also one of the things that made her the most real for me. If I Tell is not a fluffy, easy read. It is an emotional ride through life, touching on a variety of "sore spots" in society. This is a book that is relevant to teens and adults alike as we can all take from it a beautiful message about self-worth and acceptance; about facing our troubles head-on, pushing through them, and standing strong on the other side.

Summary from Goodreads:
Jasmine Evans knows one thing for sure... people make mistakes. After all, she is one. Jaz is the result of a onenight stand between a black football player and a blonde princess. Having a young mother who didn't raise her, a father who wants nothing to do with her and living in a small-minded town where she's never fit in hasn't been easy. But she's been surviving. Until she sees her mom's new boyfriend making out with her own best friend. When do you forgive people for being human or give up on them forever?

It was like watching a train wreck. I wanted to look away but couldn't take my eyes off them. 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.