November 2, 2012

Who I Kissed - Janet Gurtler

Young Adult
Pages: 320
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: October 1, 2012

She Never Thought A Kiss Could Kill. . .

Samantha is new at school and just recently joined the swim team. She’s been flirting with one of her teammates, Zee, who invites her to a party and just as quickly dumps her for another girl. Hurt, but pretending not to care, she turns to his best friend, Alex, and gives him a kiss. And he dies—right in her arms. Alex was allergic to peanuts, and Samantha had eaten a peanut butter sandwich right before the party. She didn’t know. Overnight, Samantha turns into the school pariah and a media sensation explodes. Consumed with guilt, abandoned by her friends, and in jeopardy of losing her swimming scholarship, she will have to find the inner-strength to forgive herself for the tragedy.

This was a big surprise for me. I had never picked up anything by Janet Gurtler before, and now I'm very intrigued by her other books. She chose an unexplored topic, and one that had me interested right away. Can you imagine how you'd feel if you accidentally killed someone by kissing them? It was so thought-provoking, being on Samantha's mind. I really felt her pain and I really enjoyed the theme of the book.

That said, I did feel that the grief felt too heavy at times, and I'm not saying it should have been lightened, but rather that we should have connected a bit more with Samantha before the accident happened. Alex was a mystery from page one and I feel the kiss scene could have been enhanced and maximized instead of so confusing and flat. But either way, the book really took off from there. I was already invested and needed to know how Samantha and Zee would overcome this.

It's one of those few contemporary books that has a strong subject and you feel like the subject was thoroughly explored and never dumb-ed down. It's also a story that will arise awareness of these types of allergies, and how it must feel to live, or have a loved one live, with such a deadly hazard constantly. The characters were well developed and the plot was thorough and gripping.

Yet another great contemporary book that I highly recommend, espacially of you enjoy reading premises that are out of the ordinary. The originality and intensity are what make this novel stand out. I am really looking forward to reading Gurtler's other books.


  1. Oh yay!! I'm always looking for good contemporaries.

  2. I have this one but haven't picked it up yet. I need to get to it since you liked it so much.

  3. This literally nearly happened to a friend of mine at a party. Luckily we lived right across the street from a hospital. They juiced her up with steroids and she came back to the party. But avoided the peanut boy after that.


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