I'm not a fan of cheating as a general rule, but today, I'm cheating for Spotlight Wednesday. I mean, just a little bit. Because I'm super excited for this new contemp book (yay!), but it won't hit the shelves until May (boo!), but you can totally add it to your Goodreads list right now (yay!), so I did the math and decided that two yays make a right.
Or something like that.
Anyway, let's talk about the book!
I'M NOT HER, by Janet Gurtler
“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. Yet 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.
I had an opportunity to read this last month, and I devoured it. Tess' story unfolds beautifully as she transforms from the quiet, artistic underdog of the family to the strong one, the responsible one, the one who has to become both the parent and the "big sister" while still figuring out exactly how to be herself. The family dynamic is so painful at times -- it's heartbreaking to watch them collapse under the weight of Kristina's diagnosis and flounder as their once gregarious, beautiful volleyball champ retreats into solitude and hopelessness.
But this story isn't about the girl in the spotlight. It's about the girl in the shadows, the one who's forced to find her way into the light to keep her family from totally self-destructing. As much as it brought me to tears, I loved watching Tess struggle with her own questions, doubt, frustrations with her parents and their inability to accept and deal with this tragedy, the equal parts love/resentment/fear she feels toward her sister, and her tenuous but unwanted place in the spotlight at school. All of these emotional challenges and roller coaster rides help Tess discover her own inner strength -- a strength she had all along, just waiting for the perfect moment to bloom.
I'M NOT HER is, quite simply, a downright real story. And here at The Contemps, that's what we're all about, right? :-) So I know you'll forgive me for cheating today with this quick little teaser! Still over a month before it hits the shelves officially, but in the mean time, you can:
Add I'M NOT HER to your Goodreads list
Visit Janet online