“For the first time in my life, I didn't feel envy…” Tess is the exact opposite of her beautiful, athletic sister. And that's okay. Kristina is the sporty one, Tess is the smart one, and they each have their place. Until Kristina is diagnosed with cancer.
Suddenly Tess is the center of the popular crowd, everyone eager for updates. There are senior boys flirting with her. But, the smiles of her picture perfect family are cracking and her sister could be dying. Now Tess has to fill a new role: the strong one. Because if she doesn't hold it together, who will?
And here is Turophile's review:
I'm Not Her is a coming-of-age tale reminiscent of Jodi Picoult novels. The heroine, Tess, and her entire family mature and develop a deeper appreciation for each other as they deal with the cancer diagnosis and treatment of Tess’s older sister Christina. It’s not a romance, but it has elements of a developing young romance that slowly build throughout the book.
The strongest aspects of the book are the relationship between the two sisters and the emotional growth of the older sister Christina. As the book begins, we learn that Christina is beautiful, popular, and athletic while Tess is introverted and brainy. Their family and friends have placed them in those boxes and their actions and reactions reflect those roles. The most telling line is when Christina asks Tess whether Tess knows Christina is smart. This sister dynamic felt very real, almost painfully so.
Although Christina emerges from the cancer a more emotionally mature young woman, the author did not make her a character perfect or a martyr. Christina acknowledged that she enjoyed being the “pretty” one and reacts strongly as her beauty and body parts disappear.
Tess’s character was more problematic for me. It’s not readily apparent to me why she has so few friends and her character does not seem to develop as much as Christina does.
I enjoyed the book but thought the author may have been trying to accomplish too much in a short space. The characters were appealing but they went through so many changes I did not feel like I knew them, particularly the heroine Tess despite the first person narration. I would rather have seen fewer characters (and emotional themes) that were each better developed, or a longer novel. For a first novel, however, I’m thoroughly impressed and would recommend it to friends.