Jaz's life is beyond complicated. She has a difficult relationship with her mother (who was just a teen when she had Jaz). She was raised by her grandparents and hasn't fully recovered from her grandfather's death. Her biological father has never had anything to do with her, but she can't ever forget him - he was black and the rest of her family is white. Jaz struggles with what it means to be biracial and connected to your heritage when you have no idea what it even is. But top everything off, she's just seen something truly awful: her mother's boyfriend hooked up with her best friend. If she tells, it could destroy her mother - who has just discovered she's pregnant for a second time.
As you can tell from my summary, there's a lot going on in this story. Jaz really is struggling with almost every aspect of her life. She's directionless and unsure of herself. She has to face her mother's pregnancy while holding on to a secret that could destroy everything. She knows what it's like to grow up without a father, and if she tells her mother what she saw, her brother-or-sister could also lose their father. I sometimes got frustrated with Jaz and wanted to tell her that she wasn't responsible for others' actions; she didn't always make smart decisions, but I was still rooting for her to get everything together. I really enjoyed Janet Gurtler's first novel, I'm Not Her, which is why this book shot right to the top of my 'To Read' pile. My favourite parts were Jaz's interactions with her friends (and her potential love interest, Jackson); she was unguarded and vulnerable, at least until her tough protective shell crept back up. I can't wait for even more from Janet Gurtler.
See more information at Janet Gurtler's website.
I read an advance review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Sourcebooks.
Find it at IndieBound.
Read it with:
I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler
Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
The Other Half of My Heart by Sundee Tucker Frazier