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Who I Kissed

Who I Kissed - Janet Gurtler 3.5 stars.

My full review, including quotes and stuffs, can be found on the Fictionators.

The description of this book is pretty spot on with what happens. Swimming star Sam kisses a boy that she just met at a party and he dies--right then.

Need a little more? Sam has been flirting around with her friend, Zee, when his former flame comes up to them at a party. When Zee starts making out with his old girlfriend, Sam turns her attention to Alex. It's really sweet:
Alex's hand slips around my waist, pulling me tighter. This boy knows what he's doing. His kiss is soft and sweet, with a hint of more just beneath.

Literally moments later, Alex bends at the waist grasping for breath. He doesn't have his inhaler or an epi-pen with him, and an ambulance is called. Alex doesn't make it, and all eyes turn to Sam. Turns out, Alex has a severe peanut allergy and Sam ate a peanut butter sandwich a few hours before attending the party.

The author admits in the end notes that she isn't sure if this scenario could actually take place. I looked it up a little bit and found an article that said it is possible. Overlooking the possible improbability of the story, and I can tell you that there is so much more to Sam than just the girl who killed a boy with a kiss. The fallout that she deals with from her friends, her father, and the community is pretty spectacular.

I have to say right of the bat that I haven't read anything like this book before. There are things that I totally loved and there are some things that didn't make me happy, too. Janet Gurtler totally nailed the way a girl would feel if she had found herself in this awful situation. I really love that about her writing--it's so real. Sam feels that even though Alex's death was an accident, she doesn't deserve to live the life she envisioned for herself. She doesn't deserve to keep swimming, she doesn't deserve any of her friends to support her, and she doesn't deserve to be happy. Pretty emo, right? It truly is, but the writing is excellent and everything this character thinks and feels totally makes sense.

So, what didn't I love? It's hard for me to tell you here without spoiling too much, but I felt like the end was wrapped in too neat of a little bow. There were other issues in Sam's life than just what happened to Alex. She never felt like she really fit in before. Her father was pretty anti-social after losing her mother several years ago in a car accident. And her aunt wasn't around as much as she would have liked. In the end, too many things got resolved, including something really big that I felt took away from what I considered to be the overall message of the book. I think the end felt a little Public Service Announcement-esque to me. There were also a couple of things that were left with hardly any resolution that I thought absolutely should have been addressed more than they were. I know, it's hard to make me happy.

Overall, I liked this book and I pretty much loved Sam's character. And Zee? Totally swoony.