July 4, 2013

Guilt and forgiveness

Who I Kissed
by Janet Gurtler

Who I Kissed sounds like another fluffy read, but it has surprising depth. Seventeen-year-old Samantha kissed a boy and then he died. He was allergic to peanuts, and she'd eaten a peanut butter sandwich shortly before she kissed him. Consumed by guilt, she does everything she can to punish herself, from quitting the swim team to having sex with a boy she doesn't love.

The story has everything reminiscent of a soap opera, with many misunderstandings, tender moments, petty jealousies, and an attention-stealing chihuahua. But through it all, Samantha's feelings and emotions are real and palpable, as are those of her friends and relatives. How they each deal with grief and forgiveness form the core of what turns out to be a finely nuanced and sensitive novel.

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