“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 Catherine's review:
I’m Not Her was nominated in the Young Adult Romance category. This is a YA novel with strong romantic elements; it’s not a romance by definition.
Tess is just beginning high school when her older (and more popular) sister Kristina is diagnosed with cancer. Although normally focused on art and academics, Tess suddenly becomes a fixture in her sister's friends' lives as the sole information source about Kristina's well being while simultaneously dealing with her own emotional fallout from the diagnosis.
Among her new friends are two boys: the older one who leaves Tess flustered and feeling the full effects of a crush, and a new friend who may want to be more than a friend. Both leave Tess with the realization that boys can smell like something other than sweat or a full can of Axe (oh, the memories …) and spending time around them can be kind of, well, nice.
I originally hoped to co-author this review with my younger sister, the more popular one (also a star volleyball player in high school), only to find she had stopped reading a few chapters in, citing similarities to My Sister’s Keeper (Jodi Picoult). It’s challenging to not compare the two books — the plot hook is the same, and the younger sisters embark on similar journeys at times — but they are ultimately two different stories told for two different audiences. Nonetheless, the early similarities might be too much for adult readers.
I'm Not Her offers a genuine look at the complexity of teenage sisterhood, from the bickering to the secrets to finding common ground in dealing with their parents. Janet Gurtler captures the awkwardness, angst, and loneliness of teenagehood in a way that will make readers want to scream, cry and rebel right along with Tess.