*May Contain Spoilers*
Janet Gurtler writes a novel brimming with intensity from the first word of I'm Not Her. Tess loves to hate her sister. She's everything a daughter should be, and everything Tess isn't. When Kristina finds out that she has a cancerous tumor growing in her leg and it may result in death or amputation, the world Tess is used to fitting into is destroyed.
Tess is an incredibly strong character in this novel. It's almost like the ending cycle of her evolution. She emerges from her shell with more bravery and courage than she could ever hope for. Readers will connect with her based on the openness in which she shares her emotions. They'll also relate to the bigger picture of the novel: she's faced with a life-altering situation and must adapt. I love the sarcastic nature of Tess along with her blunt honesty. It's refreshing to have a character that tells it how it is. Not to say she isn't awkward at times, or that I liked her at every point in the novel, but I did relate to her.
The plot of the novel follows Kristina's diagnosis with bone cancer up to what happens after treatment. Looking through the eyes of Tess, the book grows in emotional intensity as the plot climaxes and ends with a heartbreaking death, of a character you don't expect. I enjoyed reading this book. I really did. It was passionate, honest, and consuming. But it was also incredibly depressing. After every reading session my entire mood had changed. I felt like this was happening to me. Maybe it's because I become absorbed in what I'm reading, or the author is just that good at conveying emotion. Either way, though I recommend this novel, it isn't for everyone. Know your emotional limits and if this book is too much for them, then honor that.
Rating: 2.5/5 Cups