Review Detail

4.7 4
Young Adult Fiction 5387
Betrayal and Acceptance
(Updated: October 09, 2011)
Overall rating
Writing Style
I couldn't wait to get a copy of Janet Gurtler's latest book. Just like her first book I'M NOT HER, Gurtler tackles real issues with honestly without being bleak and hopeless. Her multi-layered characters show both weaknesses and strengths and you can't help but cheer them on.

Jaz is a biracial teen who accidently sees Simon, her mother's boyfriend, making out with Lacey, her best friend. Jaz struggles with whether she should tell her mother or not. Her feelings of betrayal and anger are very real. She's hurt by Lacey's betrayal but also Simon, who she felt a real connection to. What would you do if someone close to you, betrayed someone you loved?

One part of this story that resonated with me had to be Jaz's struggle to find out which world she belonged in. Is she black? Or is she white? Her struggle to find out exactly which of these worlds she fits best in is shown with raw honesty. I've known people that have dealt with similar issues. Gurtler shows examples of the small town's racism which at times is subtle and other times painful like the scene where Jaz's fourth grade classmates ridicule her for 'dirtying' the pool with her skin. The beauty of this story is Gurtler doesn't dwell on just on the negative but shows others who try to reach out and accept Jaz, even when she pushes them away.

Told with raw honesty and hope, this really is more a coming of age story where Jaz goes on the path to discovering and accepting who she is.
Gurtler is fast becoming one of my favorite contemporary YA authors. Her writing will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen and Jodi Picoult. A total must read for fans of contemporary YA.
Good Points
Jaz is likeable and very realistic in her struggles with who she is.
Realistic portrayal of a biracial teen who doesn't know where she exactly fits
Current issues such as racism and depression handled in believable way
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