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Review: How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How I Lost You

Genre: YA Contemporary
Paperback: 309 Pages
Publication: April 23, 2013 by Sourcebooks Fire


There are a few things Grace Anderson knows for sure. One is that nothing will ever come between her and her best friend, Kya Kessler. They have a pact. Buds Before Studs. Sisters Before Misters. But in the summer before senior year, life throws out challenges they never expected. And suddenly the person who's always been there starts to need the favor returned. Grace and Kya are forced to question how much a best friend can forgive. And the answer is not what they expected.

◆ A copy was provided by Sourcebooks for review ◆

Every time I think that Janet Gurtler has wowed me, she does it again and better. What I love most about her writing is how she takes a relevant topic and makes it relatable to readers whether or not they've ever had to experience what the characters go through. More importantly, she writes about realistic teens that we can sympathize with. And this is what I look for in YA Contemporary.

I was especially excited to read How I Lost You because it's about two girl friends. While we all have them, oftentimes friendships fade into the background of the greater plot or romance of many YA books nowadays. This book, however, is all about Grace's relationship with Kya and how recent events cause her to rethink their friendship and its impact on her life. Romance gets put on hold in the meantime. I also love the paintball side to the book. It adds some nice action to the story and rounds out the girls' characters. Plus, it feels really good to see them kicking some boy butt in a male-dominated sport.

Kya is toxic. Guys can't help falling all over her, and even Grace is not immune to Kya's charms, albeit in a completely different manner. Though Kya keeps making Grace put her other life plans on hold in order to take care of her (something Grace has felt obligated to do ever since learning about what happened to Kya in the past), Grace can't help making excuses to her. It's similar to the kind of relationships where one partner keeps hurting the other and saying sorry, and the other party keeps forgiving the hurtful partner. The need to protect Kya keeps Grace blinded to Kya's faults. Grace is a nice girl with genuine concern for Kya's welfare, which makes it all the harder watching her invest so much time into covering up the stupid things that Kya does just to watch Kya do them all over again.

The events that unfold in this novel are necessary for Grace and Kya to grow up. It would be near impossible for Grace to get anywhere in life if she kept taking care of Kya over her own needs, and it's a difficult situation for her. She loves Kya, in the way you love that girl friend you've had forever, and so much that being Kya's BFF is a part of who she is. Now, she's learning that she never really knew that other part of her, and she doesn't know how to begin moving on. Kya has always been able to rely on Grace to forgive her fault. She isn't a bad girl at heart, but I think she can learn how not to make excuses for herself if she doesn't have Grace mothering her all the time. James, the third best friend in this trio, acts as a nice foil to Grace with his different outlook on life. I also really like Levi. He's sweet and supportive, and the romance between him and Grace is sweet and so, so cute to watch unfold.

How I Lost You is a story about friendship, forgiveness, and learning to let go. I recommend this to readers looking for a realistic YA Contemporary read.

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2 comments on "Review: How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler"
  1. This sounds great! I love contemporary books and it's nice to see some different issues being brought up. The best friend relationship is so complicated that there's so many ways to make it even more difficult.

    Great review!

    1. Yeah, there's so much you can do with the best friend relationship, and HOW I LOST YOU does a wonderful job portraying it :) Thanks for stopping by, Julie!


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