If I Tell (Paperback)
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Short Description for If I Tell Raised by her grandparents, seventeen-year-old Jasmine, the result of a biracial one night stand, has never met her father but has a good relationship with her mother until she sees her mother's boyfriend kissing Jaz's best friend.
- Published: 01 October 2011
- Format: Paperback 244 pages
- ISBN 13: 9781402261039 ISBN 10: 1402261039
- Sales rank: 374,229
Reviews for If I Tell
Review from Blkosiner's Book Blog
If I Tell is a mesmerizing read with character that make you care and be involved with them. Even though I've never been in a situation like Jaz's I felt for her, and agonized over the right choice to make, and the implications of telling or keeping a secret.
There was so much more to this book than I expected, issues of friendship, bullying, biracial identity, sexual identification, and different family dynamics.
Ms. Gurtler fleshed out wonderfully Jaz's fears and emotions--dealing with her mom's pregnancy, her mom's boyfriend's (who she'd previously had a good relationship with) betrayal, and a changing friendship. But I also loved how everything ended up working out. Not in some fairy tale manner, but in something that could be real. There are beautiful moments of overcoming and of healing.
The romance was kind of surprising and fun to read all at the same time. Jackson was truly mysterious, but I loved how he opened up Jaz. by Brandi Kosiner
If I Tell by Janet Gurtler is a story of stereotypes, of discrimination and stigma, of a secret and a lapse in judgement. It is a novel about Jasmine (Jaz) Evans, a "mistake" - a half-white, half-black mutt. She has a young mother, a father who does not want her, and she lives in a town so small and so ignorant that fitting in has not come easy. She sees herself as the stain her classmates have so eloquently told her she was. Yet, she sticks it out. She survives the taunts, the silent treatments, and life seems to be going okay with her mom's new boyfriend.
However, what happens when she sees her may-soon-to-be stepdad, Simon, locking lips with her best friend? Where does the trust go? How can she forgive them? Better question, is she capable of forgiving them?
If I Tell is a frustrating story to say the least. The characters, the plot, the setting is all so believable that it becomes irksome. There's something about If I Tell that makes me like it though. That makes me somewhat feel for the characters. I don't know what word to use to describe this feeling of teetering between liking it and not. I do like it, I really do, but it leaves me feeling a little...meh (cue meh hand gesture).
Well, I guess we could start off with the thing(s) I really liked. Jackson. I LOVE HIM. I emphasize the word love. He is now one of my fictional crushes. In my head, he is my definition of hot. HOT. All capitals. He does not sparkle (as far as I can tell), he is not moody and troubled (currently), but he is indeed a bad-boy type. Jackson is the bad boy most girls want - he's got a past, he's a little a-hole-y, but he's also soft and squishy inside. He's got this charm, and laid-back feel to him that I really love. He's also incredibly forgiving and open-minded. I was mirroring Jaz's reactions to him every time he popped up in the novel. I literally grinned like an idiot whenever he was mentioned. Like Jaz said, he's beautiful inside, where it counts.
Another thing I liked was how realistically the story was portrayed. The characters are authentic and heartfelt, and so that means they are also extremely frustrating. Jaz irritated me to no end. When her close friend Ashley (whom I love and need to find a twin of in real life) told her to snap out of it, I practically screamed out "YES! YOU TELL HER!" This does not mean I dislike Jaz, though. It only means she irritated me with her selfishness. However, I also like how she develops near the end - the small step she takes to growing up.
As for the writing, it's alright. I felt like there were many mistakes, but I could ignore them. I think I have the eARC so it makes sense. Another thing I don't like though, was how sometimes the book didn't hold my attention like I wanted it to. I was pulled in at some parts, and then let go off at others. This is pretty much the reason why this novel took me so long to read.
Another thing I particularly disliked was the ending. I am not a fan of how my copy ended because It seemed so cut off and unfinished. It gave me a bland, and hardly memorable impression. Everything before the ending was great, the resolution. It was going somewhere, but then it just ended abruptly. Maybe it was the words chosen, but I felt so unsatisfied with the ending. I think that's what gave me the "meh" feeling...the ending. But I guess, like any other book, If I Tell has its highs and lows. I may dislike certain descriptions/situations, but I enjoyed the easy flow of the dialogue. However much I may or may not like something about this novel, I'm glad it was a story that was put to paper. It just shows that there are still people who feel the effects of discrimination and stigma.
Janet Gurtler is no doubt a talented author. Although I may not have loved this novel, I am still interested in reading other books by her. I can't really say if this is a light and fluffy read or not because the topics dealt with are far from light. At the same time, the way the story is executed is not heavy enough to weigh down the average reader. I guess I would recommend this to anyone who likes a dose of reality in their diet, something a little angst-y but also incredibly cute.
Anyway, thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for the eBook! by Demijelunder review
Sweet, touching and tender
I was absolutely thrilled to be given the chance to review Jane Gurtler's young adult fiction 'If I Tell' (published October 2011) by the generous folks over at Sourcebooks and Net Galley. I have been waiting patiently to read this after falling in love with the cover's whimsical palate of aqua and greens, which promises only good things to come. Indeed, I read it across the span of a night and finished in the early hours of the morning.
In many ways, the central image of the girl staring into the distance is a fitting symbol for the alienated central protagonist of this touchingly realistic bildungsroman. Jasmine is the biracial product of her young mother's relationship with her jock teenage boyfriend. She is raised by her grandmother in a small, rather racially homogenous town, where she feels ostracized by her peers after an emotionally scarring incident as a child. She retreats into music and her friendship with Lacey, a promiscuous older girl, while also confiding in her pregnant mother's boyfriend, Simon, who understands only too well the difficulties of racial prejudice. However, when her two worlds collide and she sights Lacey and Simon kissing at a party, her loyalties are tested and she is forced to undertake a journey of self-discovery on the path to maturity. The delectable guitar-wielding Jackson aids this process, yet his own secrets have the potential to compromise their developing trust and friendship.
The unusual combination of a biracial protagonist and the central premise of a cheating father figure immediately draws the reader, who cannot help but sympathize with Jaz's struggles for acceptance. While Jaz could be overly insular, temperamental and self-involved at times, it is these very flaws that contribute to the novel's greatest quality; its realism. Teenagers, while fascinating, are not always calm, cool and collected, and Gurtler nails the emotional rollercoaster of adolescence. This also assisted by the use of first person, which allows for greatest insight into the understandably detached central character and her process of reasoning.
The dominant themes of racial prejudice, familial disconnection and isolation are balanced with the delightful first pangs of young love, as the gorgeous Jackson gradually encourages Jaz to lower her self-enforced armor and develop trust. Luckily for Jaz, her quirky cast of friends also has complete faith in her beauty and talent, and it is this support that guides her, despite her initial unwillingness to form bonds. The tenderness of her support network is quite touching, even if Jaz doesn't always appreciate it. I especially loved Jackson and Ashley, with all their quirks and idiosyncrasies and eternal, unwavering support.
Overall, a sweet read that explores some hard-hitting themes that are relevant to many youth today. by Kunder review