Book Review: If I Tell by Janet Gurtler

Jasmine Evans knows one thing for sure... people make mistakes. After all, she is one. Jaz is the result of a one-night 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?

Release Date: October 1, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: NetGalley

This was a really unique read.  It focuses very heavily on race: with Jasmine being of mixed race in a small town, she feels like she doesn't fit in anywhere.  Her mother is white and her father is black, and Jasmine was raised by her grandmother since her mother was just a teen when Jasmine was born.  Jasmine is doing okay until she sees her mother's black boyfriend kissing one of her 20-something friends.  Jasmine decides to tell her mother the truth, but finds out her mother is pregnant the very next day.  The joy of becoming a big sister is overshadowed by the burden Jasmine carries.

If I Tell centers on Jasmine's dilemma---should she tell her mom the truth or let her stay blissfully ignorant?  Jasmine goes back and forth on this issue throughout the story.  Which made me think: What would I do?  What's the right thing to do in this situation?  Is there even a right answer?  I tend to think not.  And then there are some other issues: Jasmine's attraction to a new guy in town who has a history of drug dealing, an attempted date rape, and severe postpartum depression/psychosis.  This is a lot to fit into one book, especially a YA book, and it felt a little overwhelming at times.  

I enjoyed the writing, especially the way Jasmine grows up throughout the story.  I thought the attention to detail was great, as well as the resolution of the main issue.  I just thought there were a few too many issues which distracted from the main event of Jasmine becoming a young adult.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a great read. What an interesting concept! Thanks for the review.



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