Sunday, November 13, 2011

If I Tell

If I Tell
Janet Gurtler
256 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Source: NetGalley

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

If I Tell is a book that tackles a lot of issues - race, family, young love.  Jaz was raised by her grandmother because her mother had her when she was only seventeen years old.  Jaz has a careful relationship with her mother and adores her boyfriend.  But when she sees her mother's boyfriend at a party kissing her best friend, Jaz doesn't know what to do - should she tell her mother or not?  Things get even more complicated when it's announced that her mother is pregnant.

This book struck me as very realistic.  The situations in the book weren't anything I grew up with, but they were situations I've heard about and can imagine happening in real life.  I admired Jaz's strength.  While she was harboring this secret, she was also struggling with her mixed-race background in a prominently white city and she was also struggling with boy issues.  But aside from missing a few shifts at work, she never dropped the ball and she seemed like a very strong person to me.

I also found the book relatable in part because it was a coming of age story, but also in part because growing up always involves decisions like the one Jaz had to make.  Sure my mother's boyfriend never made out with my best friend, but going up everyone has tough decisions of whether or not to tell a certain secret.  Whether it's that your best friends boyfriend is cheating on her, or you saw someone cheating on a test, these kinds of "If I Tell" decisions permeate youth.

So overall, I liked If I Tell.  If you're a fan of contemporary YA I think you'll like it, too.

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