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I'm Not Her [Kindle Edition]

Janet Gurtler
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"For the first time in my life, I didn't feel envy..."

Tess is the exact opposite of her beautiful, athletic sister. And that's okay. Kristina is the sporty one, Tess is the smart one, and they each have their place. Until Kristina is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly Tess is the center of the popular crowd, everyone eager for updates. There are senior boys flirting with her. But, the smiles of her picture perfect family are cracking and her sister could be dying. Now Tess has to fill a new role: the strong one. Because if she doesn't hold it together, who will?

Janet Gurtler tests the bonds of sisterhood in this moving debut that readers of Jodi Picoult and Sarah Dessen will savor.

Editorial Reviews


"I devoured it...this story isn't about the girl in the spotlight. It's about the girl in the shadows, the one who's forced to find her way into the light to keep her family from totally self-desctructing. As much as it brought me to tears, I loved watching Tess struggle with her own questions, doubt, frustrations with her parents and their inability to accept and deal with this tragedy, the equal parts love/resentment/fear she feels toward her sister, and her tenuous but unwanted place in the spotlight at school. I'M NOT HER is, quite simply, a downright real story." - The Contemps

"This book was beautiful - almost poetic in a way. I would definitely recommend it - especially to fans of Sarah Ockler and Gail Forman." - I Like These Books

"The strength of sisterhood speaks volumes in I'm Not Her; Janet Gurtler has written a fantastic story about the bond between sisters... 'm Not Her is a great story about love, loss and the lengths one will go to when facing death." - The Page Turners

"I'd also recommend this book to fans of Deb Caletti, Sarah Okler and Gayle Friessen (If I Stay). Tess is a strong, funny character who teens will related to and cheer for, just like the heroines in these other books. And voice? It's spades." - Just Deb

"Tackling difficult material like cancer, the bonds of sisterhood and family and testing the waters of coming-of-age, it's written to push the envelope past normal into something more meaningful... I'd recommend it to fans of YA who especially enjoy contemporary fiction." - i swim for oceans

"Rich in characterization, Gurtler's novel wrestles with some serious issues and explores different means of coping (or escaping) yet manages not to be overwhelming or bleak. Just right for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jodi Picoult, this is a strong debut that attempts to answer the question, What does it really mean to live?" - Booklist

"Cute and quirky, with sentimentality reminiscent of Judy Blume, this is a book for the keeper shelf - one that readers will devour again and again!" - RT Book Reviews

"...a story that is nothing but completely real, giving you an honest look at the life of a teenage girl... [you] will find yourself inspired." - Girl's Life

"...a powerful, emotional story...a book everyone can relate to, regardless of whether they've had similar experiences." - My Words Ate Me

"Whew... so heartbreaking, but realistic. It was a beautifully written story... I felt so many emotions while reading, it was hard to keep track. One moment I was devastated for Kristina, the next moment I was in shock for Tess... then excited for Tess. Great characterization and just a great story." - The Story Siren

"This is quite an emotionally riveting debut novel and I have no doubt it will resonate deeply with readers.... Cancer is at the heart of this novel, it is the catalyst around which everything revolves, but it is not a book about cancer. It is a book about surviving. It is a book about family. It is a book about life and death, faith and hope. This is a wonderful book that readers of all ages will take to heart." - Bookfinds

"Great story about family, survival, will power, courage... The characters are unique with their own voices and personalities and especially growth." - Book Addict

"This book was more real and honest than most books I've ever read - and I don't just mean that there is a distinct lack of vampires. Janet Gurtler doesn't shy away from the truth; with such a heavy subject matter which most people would rather ignore, she remains honest and doesn't try and belittle her readers... Gurtler has written a beautiful, honest and unique book which more people need to hear about and read." - That Book Blog

"This is a really hard book to read... I thought that it was a very realistic portrayal. In the end, some families will deal with it better and some worse, but this was an excellent story." - Absolute Forrest of Words

"This is an excellent and realistic debut novel...Suffice it to say that Janet Gurtler has a talent for emotional, realistic fiction and I can't wait to read more." - Christi the Teen Librarian

"I'm Not Her is Janet Gurtler's debut young adult book and she does many, many great things with this story...I cannot wait to read more from Janet Gurtler." - YA Librarian Tales

"...this book was very, very good. I think the Picoult comparision is apt in some respects, but I'm Not Her was definitely a better read." - CSI Librarian

"Brilliant. Best. Amazing... Gurtler weaves her own style into that of the lyrical paced story so that it's almost unnoticeable, but there. The writing was flawless, and the style was unique... HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! YOU MUST READ IT!"" - pages

"There were several heart wrenching scenes and some that made me laugh. A good book will make you feel and this book certainly did that... an engaging read." - Once Upon A Chapter

"It's not an easy read at times but it's written very beautifully. I'm so glad that Gurtler's next book is in my TBR pile because after discovering her, I want to read more. HIGHLY recommended." - Books, Movies and Chinese Food

"This book . . . is an extremely well-executed glimpse into the effects of terminal illness in an adolescent life. There is romance, tragedy, and personal growth, and I thoroughly enjoyed it all." - Between the Pages

"Gurtler certainly has a way with words and plot that makes readers care about the main characters...If you're looking for a great, contemporary YA novel, then seriously consider picking up I'm Not Her." - YA Bookshelf

"... well written, insightful and inspiring." - Deb's Book Bag

"...the first YA Contemp that really tugged at my heart in a very emotional and distinct way...breath-taking, inspiring and amazingly beautiful and heart-breaking and sad all at the same time....Gurtler's way of writing is distinct from other YA Contemps writer, I can't exactly describe it but hers felt more personal and so deep than the others..." - Girl About Books

"...Gurtler has converted me into a contemporary reader. (I've just finished her second book, which I'll share with you shortly.) Any teen or adult who's dealt with illness of any kind will appreciate this book. Any teen or adult, who's had to grow up in a not-so-perfect world with a seemingly perfect sibling, relative, or friend shadowing their light, will enjoy this read." - Writers' Ally

"This is the kind of female heroine that young readers should connect to - one who is genuine in thought and action. She is a girl who is flawed but recognizes those flaws, who stumbles through her trials and faces setbacks, realizing in the end she has to keep going... The author does not force pulling on the readers' heartstrings, but simply lets the story unfurl itself and allows us to understand the pain and emotions of the characters." - Gainseville Times

"Stories about teenage illness can easily slip into maudlin tear-jerkers. This one rises above that level because it focuses on Tess' ambivalence and strengths. Readers will be unable to look away from the unflinching descriptions of the chemotherapy and the surgery that Kristina endures, but Tess's struggles to connect with boys will lighten the tension and keep readers interested. The dialogue is up-to-date and so true to both teen awkwardness and rapier wit. Told in the first person, I'm Not Her moves along smartly and will easily hold the attention of the intended reader. Recommeded." - Canada Magazine

"An undeniably awesome debut... The characters were fabulously brought to life and what a captivating storyline. The voice. LOVE the voice! Love the humor. I couldn't get enough. It reminded me of a witty Jodi Picoult. Beautiful writing. Awesome voice = a must read." - Martha Ramirez Book Reviews

"This book was amazing and I felt like I was in the book, living the story. This book was indescribable. It was so good! ...I would defiantly read this book again and again. :)" - Love Romance Passion

About the Author

Janet Gurtler's work has appeared in magazines such as Today's Parent and Luxury Living Lifestyles. She now spends her time reading and writing edgy, meaningful books for and about teens. In 2007, she finished her first triathlon. She lives beside the Rocky Mountains with her son and husband in Calgary, Canada.

Product Details

  • File Size: 455 KB
  • Print Length: 295 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1402256361
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (May 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004TTS2UI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,157 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Execution of a Heartbreaking Story January 29, 2012
By Leila
There is no denying that this book is heartbreaking; Tessa, an artistic introvert, is thrust in the middle of her familial crisis as her older, and extremely popular, sister is diagnosed with cancer. This isn't the tale or recount of a girl struggling with a fight to survive; it is Tessa's story about struggling to watch someone she loves suffer as her life changes beyond anything she recognizes.

I wanted to like this book, I wanted to love it but I was exasperated with what I found when I finally got the chance to read it. This book expressed some of the most real and hard situations with cheesy delivery and disappointing execution.

It wasn't that I couldn't get behind the character of Tess, I felt so strongly for her and what she must be going through as she watches her life 360 in mere days. The way that she was handling situations was incredibly accurate to the ego-centrism teenagers can sometime experience; but I feel that it was still unreal that her parents were so numb to their daughter. For her mother to harbor the negativity she did, the lack of belief in Tess, she allowed Tess to get away with saying, and behaving, in some outlandish ways.

A particularly traumatizing situation in the middle of the book, which I will refrain from spoiling, is handled haphazardly. The delivery of knowledge to the character, and in turn the reader, is above and beyond cheesy. That attitude and execution of the event diminishes the effect the event had on me as a reader. Not only was it forecasted but it lost all authenticity by the way in which the author wrote of it.

Towards the end of the book, there were some random and completely pointless subjects mentioned.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For anyone dealing with family trauma August 10, 2011
This is a book I will gladly recommend to both my high school and adult friends. I loved the authenticity of the voice and the honest, raw emotions depicted so accurately by Gurtler. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the subject matter because I was just Tess's age when my Mom was diagnosed with cancer. It was many years ago (and she triumphed over "the Big C") but those feelings and reactions never leave you - and I'd have to say the author nailed it. She took me back to those days with a competence and empathy that put me at ease from the first chapter.

It's easy to identify with the two sisters in the book, both in their insecurities in their roles among their friends and in their struggles to find footing in a changing family landscape that is new and terrifying. It's a book for readers of all types, but those who are dealing with family traumas will find parallels that are truthful and real.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NightlyReading Review June 9, 2011
I love the cover for this book. It reminds me of summer. Also with the flowers, it reminds me of "he loves me, he loves me not." LOL... I just really like the simplicity of it.

This is an honest to goodness great read for a teen. There are no sexual encounters, but just a sweet first kiss. Basically, the book is about 2 teenage girls actually having to figure out whom they are as individuals. Not what everyone around them sees, but the real person inside the body.

Tess and Kristina are sisters. Kristina is the beautiful athletic type that all the boys fall all over. Tess....she is a brainiac whom gets ignored by mostly everyone and she has one friend. The book starts when Kristina convinces Tess to come to a party. Although, Tess feels awkward and ignored, she stays for a while and later makes an exit. She did meet a few people at the party, but figures that they only talked to her because of her sister.

Things take a turn for the worst when the family finds out that Kristina has cancer. The whole family takes a toll and it seems the only one that can deal with any of it is Tess.

Throughout the book, Tess goes through many changes and starts realizing that things are not always what they look like from the outside. She learns a lot about her sister, her best friend, boys and even herself.

Now, although the book did not exactly end the way that I would have wanted it to. (I wanted a certain boy to still be in the picture) I still thought it was a great read and it is definitely a book that I would give to my thirteen year old to check out. Another book by Ms. Gurtler that I am interested to check out is If I Tell, coming out in October 2011
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Recycled plot May 24, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
2.5 of 5 stars

Even though the book's blurb seemed familiar, I decided the free kindle book was worth a read. I don't feel like I wasted my time, but I can't quite recommend this novel with enthusiasm.

When introverted freshman Tess Smith's beautiful, popular older sister Kristina is diagnosed with cancer, she drives to her ex's to lose her virginity, while Tess waits in the car. Their mother uses parties and shopping to fuel her denial. Their father expects Tess to be "the strong one".

The pros: Tess, the narrator is likable. The writing is, at times, subtly humorous and in a few instances unique (losing virginity as a response to a cancer diagnosis).

The cons: the characters are mostly stereotypical. The writing is filled with stale cliches. The cancer plot has been done many times before, and often better. Even the plot twists are borrowed from other novels. I felt a bit manipulated by the end of the book. Also, I'm a cancer survivor and I resent poorly researched books. For example, at one point the oncologist says stage 2b means the cancer is particularly aggressive. 2b I'd actually the stage of the cancer, the size of the tumor. Grace indicates the aggressiveness of the cancer.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent read
I did enjoy the book. Slightly reminded me of a Lurlene McDaniel book, with a slightly tougher edge. (Not by much, though. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Karisa Nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book!
Published 3 months ago by AERIN N MURRAY
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best!!!!
This story pulled me in right from the beginning. I can not say enough about it. loved it from the beginning to the end. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Cerenity
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
Book was a little slow but good.
Published 4 months ago by Joyce Connolly
4.0 out of 5 stars Seemed like a realistic portrayal of how cancer can effect not only...
I’m Not Her is a touching, emotional story that I enjoyed. It seemed like a realistic portrayal of how cancer can effect not only the person who has it but their family and... Read more
Published 6 months ago by toobusyreading
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This book makes you think about how we relate to one another as family, friends, and strangers. Loved it. It's an easy read, but thought provoking.
Published 8 months ago by Kisha L Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful
Loved this book. Made me cry in sadness and joy at the same time. We are having some issues with cancer in our own family, and this book gave me hope.
Published 8 months ago by shazaam
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, honest, worthwhile way to spend a few hours.
It is easy to relate to BOTH sisters. I am the youngest of five kids. My two older sisters and I, while similar in many ways, are also worlds apart in other ways. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Susan M. Mumford
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall it's a good read
this story is heart wrenching but at times I wanted to throw my kindle at the wall while reading it. one of the characters dies and it's not who you would think. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Lora Radford Brown
3.0 out of 5 stars Sweet
Was a nice read. Very heartwarming and heartfelt. I would recommend it to preteens. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story of survival.
Published 11 months ago by Kimberly Trivette
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More About the Author

A Rita Award Finalist and Crystal Kite Award Finalist, Janet Gurtler's young adult books have been chosen for the JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION and as BEST BOOKS FOR TEENS from the Canadian Children's Book Center.

Janet lives in Okotoks Alberta, Canada with her husband, son, and a chubby black Chihuahua named Bruce. She is addicted to chocolate and the internet.

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