Jen's ReviewHow I Lost You
by Janet Gurtler
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: April 23, 2013
How I Lost You turned out to be a story about friendship, romance, and courage. What I liked about this one is that it's sole focus is the relationship between two friends, which isn't common among YA these days. You typically see romance-heavy issues in these types of contemporaries, but How I Lost You's outcome proved to be different. Even though I had some issues here and there, this one is an enjoyable read, with a good balance of sweet, adoring moments and serious, dark ones as well.
When I was first introduced to the main characters Grace and Kya, I immediately fell in love with Grace's character. I think the best way to describe her is loyal. Her obvious love for her best friend is clear and she didn't stop at anything to help Kya. However, my feelings for Kya were at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. To me, Kya felt like an absolutely shallow, meaningless girl. She's the character that has had a dark past and everything, and I understand that it's hard to deal with it all, but that's no excuse to treat everyone else differently just because you didn't have a good childhood. The entire time, I constantly asked myself, "Why, Grace, WHY are you still friends with this girl?" That's how utterly loyal Grace is-- she sticks with Kya, even through the worst. The characters in this book turned out to be a pro and a con; Grace made the story very touching and admirable, but Kya made it annoying and hair-pulling.
I definitely have to mention the romance, even though it played second to friendship in this story. It's a sweet, sweet romance, and I don't think I can describe it any other way. Levi, the love interest, was patient, kind, and shy. His hesitation and carefulness with Grace was just to die for. Aside from the romantic relationship itself, I really admired the fact that Gurtler did not over-exaggerate the romance, because, as mentioned, the main idea for this book was friendship. In other words, the romance didn't overshadow the friendship between Grace and Kya.
There were definitely times when I thought that the plot-pacing was very sporadic. The first half of the novel was fantastic. We were introduced to this colorful cast of characters, and Grace and Kya's summer had just begun. My instant reaction was: YES, A PERFECT SUMMER READ. However, towards the middle, I just got plain bored. Nothing was happening, and every description triggered a thought similar to this: Why the heck do I care that she went to the bathroom with her toiletries bag? I was definitely frustrated at this point, but luckily, the last quarter of this book was redeeming and my initial love for this book returned. The book ended on a good note that I was satisfied with, fortunately!
I think a main aspect that readers will enjoy in How I Lost You is the inclusion of paintballing. I've never read any books that involved a sport with paintballing. I think it added a nice little spark to it that kind of made it stand out. The integration was smooth and played a good role in the story.
How I Lost You had it's good times and not-so-good times, but overall, it's a read that I recommend. It has its useful life-lessons and friendship morals scattered about that everyone can learn from. I know for a fact that Janet Gurtler is an author that I look forward to reading more books from!
3.5 teacups for How I Lost You!
*Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for providing me with a copy to review!*
Interview with Janet Gurtler1. How similar or different are these character to you? Did you ever experience the issues that Grace and Kya go through?
2. Most contemporaries out there today are centered around romance. What made you want to center your novel around friendship?
I tend to write contemporaries that deal with relationships and/or change. Romance is always present in my books, but not necessarily at the forefront. Although, in this story, I think Levi, the romantic interest, is kind of the catalyst for the changing relationship with Grace and Kya. But I choose to write about friendship, because man, teen friendship is SO IMPORTANT. In my experience it’s the girlfriends I remember and cherish, way more than the boys I went out with or had crushes on. Girl friendships or platonic male/female friendships are just as important and often more important than romance. In my opinion. :) And the hurt of a best friend break up. Oh. That’s hurt.
3. Which character did you feel a closer connection with while writing HOW I LOST YOU? Why?
I felt a really strong kinship for Kya. I understood why she was doing the things she was doing. She didn’t mean to be selfish and horrible has is kind of driven by a dark secret in her past that damaged her. She hasn’t dealt with it yet, and until she does she is going to be unable to deal with people or things or herself in a respectful way. She is a wounded little bird, and I wanted to fix her, but she wasn’t ready to be fixed yet.
4. Do you have a some sort of message or moral that you were trying to reach out to readers through this book? If so, what is it?
My message in this book is that ultimately in life, sometimes you have to make hard decisions in order to look out for own best interests. Grace is the type of person who wants to fix Kya and help her and I think a lot of girls/women have this quality. But we also have to realize that sometimes relationships become toxic and we have to make a choice to put ourselves first sometimes. It’s a harder than for females to do. It’s the nurturing gene. I want girls to know it’s okay to be strong and also vulnerable, but also strong.
5. What can we expect from you in the future? (What are you currently working on?)
I have a book coming out in 2014 called Sixteen Things I Thought Were True. It’s about a girl who has a video of her dancing in her underwear to “I’m Sexy And I Know It’ go viral online. Ironically , she’s hiding out from the real world online, but when life throws curves at her, she ends up on a road trip with a strange girl and her mean boss and finds out things about herself and her life that she never knew.
Thanks so much for your time, Janet!