Jasmine Evans knows one thing for sure... people make mistakes. After all, she is one. Jaz is the result of a onenight stand between a black football player and a blonde princess. Having a young mother who didn't raise her, a father who wants nothing to do with her and living in a small-minded town where she's never fit in hasn't been easy. But she's been surviving. Until she sees her mom's new boyfriend making out with her own best friend. When do you forgive people for being human or give up on them forever?
I am not the biggest fan of hard-hitting contemporary books, I like them as long as they aren't too whiny, as long as the ring true to me and as long as the voice is just right. In my opinion, contemporary books have to deal with real life issues, but in a way that makes me feel. This book was one of those rare contemporary books that made me ache inside and this book has driven me to put Gurtler beside Sarah Dessen on my favorite YA contemporary author list.
If I Tell deals with a lot of issues, from betrayal to prejudice, Jaz has a lot to deal with in her life. Being the only mixed race teen in her town, she is judged and shunned meaning that she can't really talk to anybody about her problems, she saw her best friend making out with her Mum's boyfriend so she can't talk to her. I was amazed with how well Gurtler wrote the feelings of alienation that Jaz felt and how delicately but also well based she dealt with the issues.
This book is really a tale of personal growth, How we see Jaz grow from this girl who is embarrased by her skin colour and pretty alone in the world to how she becomes a brave and strong girl who can speak out about her problems. I think the other characters could have been developed a lot better, especially Jackson who was one of my favorite characters but could have been written a little deeper than the cliche good boy with a bad boy past.
I honestly think what was fantastic about the book was the way it made me feel - I loved how I honestly felt bad for Jaz, how I hated Simon until Jaz forgave him, how I felt elateion when she stood up for herself. I was with Jaz from start to finish and that was amazing.
Overall, a great contemporary with fantastic writing. The issues were dealt with so well and I was so into the book - the characters could have been developed a little more but I really did enjoy it!
Overall rating: A-
Released October 1st 2011 by Sourcebooks
Received as an E-Galley for review through NetGalley