Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review: If I Tell by Janet Gurtler

If I Tell by Janet Gurtler

Release Date: October 1st 2011
Page Count: Paperback, 279 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Good Reads: Link
Source: NetGalley  

Jasmine Evans knows one thing for sure... people make mistakes. After all, she is one. Jaz is the result of a one night 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? - Good Reads

The summary of If I Tell struck me right away and I knew I had to read it. I even put aside books I've been dying to read to read it and I'm personally very glad I did. 

I wouldn't say this was a light, fluffy read, but it wasn't horribly depressing either. If anything it was thought provoking. If I Tell centers around Jasmine, a seventeen year old biracial girl who has been raised by her white grandparents in a small town. Her Mother is active in her life, but felt unable to raise her and her Father skipped out. Jasmine is very insecure about her skin colour and how she fits in in her local community. She feels shunned by both the white side and the black side because she's "not black enough to be black" and "not white enough to be white." Race is the driving force of this book and how Jasmine begins not only to accept herself, but others as well. She starts out in the book with major trust issues, but towards the end you definitely see her begin to blossom and start to see that not everything should be taken at face value. Not herself, not her friends, not her family.
There is mention of sex, drugs and alcohol in this book and there is a small amount of swearing, but I wouldn't say those things are extremely prevalent and better yet, they aren't glamourized - there are consequences shown. 

I actually liked this a lot. There are some really, really good lessons in this book. As I think over it I realize all of the little hints that were sitting in there that add up much clearer after I read it and sit and think. I don't want to spoil anyone, so I'll keep it to myself, but ahhh! My sister is biracial and I'll definitely be buying this book and saving it for her to read in a few years when I think she'll be old enough to handle some of the themes. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for giving me the chance to read this!



  1. I'll keep this in mind for the next time I crave something contemporary/realistic. Jasmine sounds like a fascinating character...

  2. She is... The book wasn't perfect and there were times when I was annoying, but it was interesting enough. :)