Second Chance Sunday – I’m Not Her by Janet Gurtler

Posted October 13, 2013 by Andi in Books, Review, Second Chance Sunday / 0 Comments

Second Chance Sunday – I’m Not Her by Janet GurtlerI'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler
Published by Sourcebooks, Inc.
Published: 2011
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"For the first time in my life, I didn't feel envy..." Tess is the exact opposite of her beautiful, athletic sister. And that's okay. Kristina is the sporty one, Tess is the smart one, and they each have their place. Until Kristina is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly Tess is the center of the popular crowd, everyone eager for updates. There are senior boys flirting with her. But, the smiles of her picture perfect family are cracking and her sister could be dying. Now Tess has to fill a new role: the strong one. Because if she doesn't hold it together, who will? Janet Gurtler tests the bonds of sisterhood in this moving debut that readers of Jodi Picoult and Sarah Dessen will savor.

Okay, I’m going to admit to the thing you should never admit to. I waited to read this book because of the cover. I know right? I did the cliche thing and judged a book by its cover. Well shame on me because I’m Not Her was a story that should be read immediately and should be read often. The cover says nothing about the amazingness in the pages and the heartbreaking story of a family having to deal with something no family should have to be put through. This book made me smile and cry and smile again.

I’m Not Her is about Tess, an invisible freshman to her uber popular big sister Kristina. Kristina is everything Tess isn’t. She’s popular, she’s the start of the volleyball team, she’s lusted after by boys. She is the all around package. Tess on the other hand is an artist, has one friend, and wants to be in the National Honor Society. Kristina seems to have it all and then the unthinkable happens; she is diagnosed with cancer and Tess’s world does a complete 180. All of a sudden she is no longer invisible. The popular kids want to be around her. She is invited to parties. She has “friends”. And while things look to looking up at school, everything Tess knows is falling apart. Her family is hanging on by a thread, her sister is deteriorating right in front of her eyes and all of Tess’s dreams are vanishing with every trip to the hospital. All Tess wants is for her sister to get well and things to go back to normal. She wants people to realize she isn’t her sister and has her own dreams.

Can I just tell you Tess really got to me! She was by far the strongest person in this book. She was the only one that was holding her family together. I mean I can’t imagine what a parent would feel if they found out their seemingly perfectly healthy daughter had cancer, but Tess and Kristina’s parents just completely checked out. They didn’t check out on Kristina per say. They took her to her appointments and were by her side, but they weren’t really there. They ignored Tess except when they needed her and never listened to anything Tess, Kristina or even the doctors were saying. Tess was the only one that was emotionally supportive to her sister and it wasn’t in a way that was in your face. Actually it seemed to Tess that she couldn’t do anything right where Kristina was concerned, but I got the complete opposite out of it because Tess was the one that Kristina trusted. She was the one that she leaned on and unleashed her anger. She relied on her sister and Tess was there every step of the way, her dream be damned.

This book was really a powerful and moving story about family relationships and what happens when the unthinkable is brought in. It’s a story of loss and strength and survival. It isn’t a story about cancer, but a story about dealing with cancer and how it effects the lives of the people that don’t have it. It is a book that I’m glad I read and won’t soon forget.

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