This review was written by Lindlee. I'm including it as Lindlee compared I'm Not Her to this earlier book, which deals with similar themes. Since her review was compelling, I wanted to share it with you.
This book was published in 1994, and obviously is not nominated for a 2011 RITA.
Here's the summary of the book:
It's a good thing Andi and I are best friends. I mean, if she's not making us late to school, then she's making me put up with her stupid guinea pig. And somehow, I always have to figure out ways to get her out of trouble because of all the dumb stunts she's forever pulling. This business with Bradley is just the latest. Oh, sure. Everyone loves Andi. But not everyone would put up with all those things. Only a best friend would. Only me.
Now . . . I can't. And I don't know what I should be doing instead. I can't figure out how to go about even the simplest things . . . Now That Andi's Gone.
And here is Lindlee's review:
I bought this book in 7th grade (about 17-18 years ago). I loved it then, and I love it now. So this review is pretty much going to be a love fest.
Now to properly review this book, I have to spoil one major plot point. So if you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading now.
SPOILERS Andi dies. Now that may have seemed obvious to some of you, but when I first read this book, I thought Andi was just going to move away. The back blurb does an excellent job of being informative and vague at the same time.
Now That Andi’s Gone is told from Kimmie’s point of view. She and Andi are best friends and do everything together. Kimmie’s quiet and tends to stay in the background, while Andi is fun and outgoing. Andi is popular and friends with everyone. The beginning of the book you get to know Kimmie and Andi and see how their friendship is changing now that the two of them are growing older. Then suddenly Andi is killed in a drunk driving accident.
The rest of the book takes you through the grieving process with Kimmie. She experiences guilt, anger, and denial. She’s going through the stages of grief but it never feels like the author is going through a checklist. It all flows and feels natural.
Kimmie’s also struggling with her identity. Before Andi’s death, a major portion of Kimmie’s time and energy went into their friendship. I think this is common with teens. Most teenagers tend to define themselves through activities, significant others or important relationships. After Andi’s death, Kimmie can no longer identity herself as “Andi’s best friend.” She also finds herself the center of attention, which is a position that makes her uncomfortable. Kimmie has to discover who she is without Andi. Some of my favorite parts of the book are when Kimmie learns something new about herself or steps out of her comfort zone.
There’s even a little romance that develops. It’s light but very sweet. I’ve read this many times over the years, and it can still make me cry. So make sure you have Kleenex on hand.