Review: Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
She never thought a kiss could kill...

Samantha didn't mean to hurt anyone. She was just trying to fit in...And she wanted to make Zee a little jealous after he completely ditched her for a prettier girl. So she kissed Alex. And then he died—right in her arms.

Sam is now the school pariah and a media sensation. Consumed with guilt, she'll have to find strength that goes way deeper than the fastest time in the 200–meter butterfly. Because if she can't figure out how to forgive herself, no one else will either.

Last year, I really enjoyed Janet Gurtler's If I Tell.Therefore, when the chance came up to read Who I Kissed I jumped at the chance. It sounded like another great one, and the premise sounded completely original. Thankfully, it was everything I had hopped it would be and much, much more, because to tell the truth, Who I Kissed simply blew me away!

Ever since Samantha and her father moved to a new town, everything has been going pretty smoothly. She's finally gotten away from all the jeers and taunt of her old schoolmates. She's won herself a coveted spot on the her school's swim team, and she's even caught the eye of the swoon worthy Zee. However, everything spins out of control one night when she kisses Alex, a boy she barely knows, and he ends up dying right in front of her. Blamed for his death, as he had a peanut allergy and she ate a peanut butter right before kissing him, Samantha once again becomes one of the most hated kids at school. However, there is one bright spot to this all: Casper, a mysterious boy from school, suddenly takes an interest in her. But is Casper everything he seems? More importantly, will anything ever return back to normal? Only more pages will tell in this fast paced and addicting read!

Who I Kissed had a lot of great things going for it, and one of those things was the characters. Samantha was someone I liked from the start. She was sweet, and determined, and even after facing so many hurtful things in her past as well as in the current times, she still remained dauntless. What I enjoyed most about having her as the lead, though, was the various layers Gurtler gave her. From her being a swimmer to the effects of loosing her mom at a young to the effects of her current situation a lot was put into her character, and it made the book come off all the stronger because of it. I also really enjoyed the addition of Zee. He was swoon worthy, and while I hated him for causing Sam a lot of pain, I could understand why he was so messed up. Plus it made what happened in the end all the sweeter for them. I also loved the addition of Sam's dad and aunt, whose banter was always HILARIOUS, as well as Capser, who I always had a love/hate relationship with.

The plot in this was also very interesting! I don't think I've ever read a book featuring a peanut allergy death before so it was interesting to see how played out for Sam as well as for Alex's parents and sister as well as the overall community. Janet really addresses a tough issue in this one, one that has many, may sides, and I really thought she did a great job. She got the emotions down beautifully, as I could really feel them jump off the page and  come to life. I also enjoyed the addition of Casper relationship as well as the mystery behind Sam's mom's death as both always kept me guessing.

In all, Who I Kissed is an emotionally charged and enjoyable read that I highly suggest to all YA fans! Word of warning, though: don't start this one expecting to read only a chapter or two. I did, and I ended up staying up half the night until I finished!

Grade: A+

Who I Kissed (Amazon/ Barnes and Noble/ Goodreads) is now out!

Source: Publisher via Netgalley

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