Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Review: Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler

Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: October 1st 2012
Source: NetGalley
My rating: 3.5 stars


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.

Who I Kissed is a book which brings to the forefront just how dangerous allergies can be. Alex in this book suffers from a nut allergy, not knowing this Sam kisses him after eating a peanut butter sandwich, consequently he has a anaphylactic reaction and dies, just that brief kiss, and what a kiss it was, was all Alex needed to have that reaction.

I have a family of allergy sufferers, my sister has a coeliac condition, so she can’t eat wheat, my cousin has a peanut allergy which I only recently found out about when my sister accidently gave him chocolate and hazelnut cookies and my aunt has a allergy to milk. More and more allergies are becoming widespread, by looking at someone you wouldn’t be able to tell they have a certain type of allergy. Like with my cousin he was lucky as there was only a miniscule amount of hazelnut in the cookie he ate, he quickly noticed a tingling in his throat whilst he was eating it and asked what was in it. Like Alex in Who I Kissed he wasn’t carrying his EpiPen with him otherwise who knows what could have happened.   

Unfortunately for Sam she just found herself in the wrong situation, and without Alex’s EpiPen around there was nothing anyone could do. Sam had to deal with the aftermath of being labelled a killer and had to deal with the constant peanut butter jokes, she got to the point where she felt she wasn’t entitled to live her own life because Alex wasn’t able to either, she quit swimming something she was really talented at and completely withdrew from social situations and her close friends. Sam didn’t deserve to be put in this situation and no one should be allowed to feel so persecuted. Like I said before by looking at my cousin, sister or aunt you wouldn’t know they suffered from an allergy unless they wore a badge announcing it. So I really disliked the way Sam was ridiculed and it actually got to the point where she felt she deserved all the blame. Luckily for Sam she had a strong social group who were constantly there for her, backing her the entire way, her dad and aunt who constantly encouraged her not to give up, and her best friend Taylor who didn’t drop her as soon as the news came out. Without this group I think that Sam would have crumpled. I think anyone would have.

Gurtler did a brilliant job with Who I Kissed; she was able to raise awareness of just how important it is to know if a person is suffering from an allergy and the necessary precautions that should be taken. Who I Kissed was a powerful poignant read, and with Gurtler adding her own personal experience to the story it was made even more realistic.

21 comments:

  1. wow you know a lot of people with allergies! as for me, i dont know ANY! I agree with you, its a great book, but it also helps raise awareness! Great review Jas!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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  2. I agree with Farah! I know some people with allergies but I don't have any. I haven't read a book that similar to this but for sure it sounds interesting. Maybe I'll give it a try one day! Great review Jasprit :)

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  3. I can't even imagine something like this happening Jasprit. What a heavy burden for poor Sam to bear! I can tell already I'm going to get very angry at the people around Sam for blaming her for Alex's death, as you said, it's not as though he was wearing a badge announcing his allergy to everyone around him. How could either of them have known? I'm going to have to work hard not to crumple the pages in frustration, but I still really want to read it!

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  4. This is such a sad thing to happen. Peanut allergies can be so bad, it's scary. I don't think I'd be able to read this book, a bit too heartbreaking. Great review Jaspirit, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  5. It's really scary to imagine how allergies can be that lethal. As far as I know, I'm not allergic to anything and I hope I really am. I love how this seems like it can happen to anybody so we can relate. And even though I haven't read this yet, I just want to hug Sam!

    Great review, Jasprit!

    Gellie@ A Discombobulated Balladry

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  6. When I saw this book, I thought it would be one of the cursed stories, but it turned out to be a simple peanut butter allergy. Who could have thought allergies could be dangerous? I, honestly, don't know anyone with allergies, but it's scary how a little thing caused such a hige effect in someones life. I really feel bad for the girl, she couldn't do anything, and it wasn't really her fault, but there is always the guilt which is hard to let go.
    Wonderful review :)

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  7. Amazing review, Jasprit! I love that your own life experiences really helped you connect with this book and it's definitely much deeper novel than I gave it credit for based on the cover alone. Thanks for putting this on my radar, dear!(:

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  8. Wow this one really seems DIFFERENT, and that's something that we don't get to see too often. While I don't have any experience with allergies in my family, like you do Jasprit, I definitely agree that allergies can be dangerous. It's so intriguing that this book details what happens after a bad allergic reaction, especially because I don't think I've ever read a book about that. However, it also seems to be a book about dealing with grief and guilt- something I always love reading about.

    Fabulous review Jasprit! I will definitely be looking out for a copy of this one.

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  9. Based on the cover, my first impression was that this book was a chick-lit romance sort of novel, and a light-hearted one at that. But looking at the premise, I was dead wrong - fatal allergies, severe guilt and social withdrawl are all serious themes, and I'm really glad this book explored it all in an in depth, poignant manner. Beautiful review, love. :)

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  10. I recently received Who I Kissed and am very excited to read it. I think the subject is important and has a very good angle. There's Alex's story, but also brings awareness to nut allergies.

    Lovely review, Jasprit!

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  11. I've heard of Who I Kissed but never actually read the summary yet so I wasn't sure what the story is about! It sounds really interesting though and glad to hear that it's a poignant read ;)

    Awesome review, Jasprit ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

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  12. I would feel so much sympathy towards poor Sam! I thought (after seeing the front cover) that this was going to be an easy, light chick-lit. But I guess I was off the mark there!

    Brilliant review as always, Jasprit. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Who I Kissed with us. I'm really intrigued :)

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  13. Gosh, I feel sorry for Sam just reading this review. So unfair the way the other kids treated her when what happened was an accident, although I can understand why she herself felt so bad. Something like that could affect her for the rest of her life, think I would end up shouting at the book as I read this!

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  14. Wow, that seems really horrible, I would feel such sympathy against Sam! This seems like a really book! I'm glad you enjoyed it Jasprit! Lovely Review!

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  15. I don't know anyone who's allergic to anything, but I imagine it must be quite hard to live with. I've seen this book several times, though I don't think it's one for me. I'm glad you felt this book had a lot of impact, though, particularly in its messages; that's really important for something that deals with such a massive issue. Beautiful review as always, Jasprit! :)

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  16. I know this peanut allergy thing is very scary. I think a lot of times in schools they won't allow peanut butter sandwiches anymore because of this. What a horrible thing to happen to someone. I saw this book around but I had no idea what it was about, now I am very curious. Thanks for sharing, Jasprit!

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  17. I like that the book helps us think about what to do to care about the many people that we interact with in our lives. Like you shared, people don't carry a label explicitly stating whether they have allergies or not when we see them. So, what do we do when we learn that we have caused others pain, hurt, inconvenience or ... death? There is no simple answer but I like that the book helps to raise our awareness. Wonderful review, Jasprit :)

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  18. Oh that poor girl, I can imagine how awful people would have been to her, for something she had no idea about. How horrible would it be to live with that guilt?

    I knew I had to read this and your review has confirmed that for me!

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  19. I have a feeling this would be too difficult for me to read, you know how I am. (*cough* a wuss *cough*) But I AM allergic to onion and garlic, which also makes me allergic to penicilin and makes my life extremely difficult. I'm glad that the author took on such a wide-spread problem and turned it into a wonderful book.
    Great review, Jasprit!

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  20. This sounds great and powerful. I can't wait to read it.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  21. I have this book, but still have to read it. It sounds like a great story, and I'm glad you enjoyed it :) I'll be reading it soon for sure, great review!

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