Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Review: How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Released: April 23rd, 2013
"I always thought we'd be friends to the end."
Grace and Kya always do everything together, and nothing can get in the way of their friendship. They have a pact: Sisters Before Misters. Buds Before Studs. Only Grace knows what Kya's been through, or how much she needs someone to stick by her. No matter what. Besides, Kya keeps life exciting—pulling Grace into things she'd never dare to do on her own. But inch by inch, daring is starting to turn dangerous. And Grace will have to decide how far she can go to save her friendship with Kya...before she ends up losing everything else.
How I Lost You was a real surprise find for me and I certainly wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was. I liked the sound of the intense friendship between Grace and Kya, and how that can take over your life, much like a romantic relationship can and does. It's an interesting dynamic to explore, though I tend to find that most YA books focus more on romance and the friendships get pushed to the wayside. Janet Gurtler has written an intelligent book about what happens when a friendship becomes more bad than good, and she effortlessly shows just how hard it is to recognise that.
Besides the very realistic portrayal of friendship, How I Lost You also features a romantic interest in the form of new boy Levi, who Grace ends up friends with when he moves to town. They hit it off instantly and slowly start spending more time with each other, there's no insta-love and it's all very gradual. Just how I like it. Levi is Grace's support throughout her problems with Kya, which unfold at a much faster pace and take centre stage as it becomes clearer that Kya may not be all she seems.
Even though I enjoyed the friendship and romance, my favourite part of How I Lost You is the inclusion of paintballing as a sport. I've never come across that in anything before; in fact, the closest I've seen is roller derby. I had no idea that paintballing is a college team sport, or that there are professional players. I always thought it was a recreational fun game - how wrong I was! Both Grace and Kya play on a league team in this book, they go to practices and compete in tournaments. I loved learning about the different tactics and equipment used, and giving the characters something to strive towards made them that much more lifelike.
How I Lost You is about friendship, a friendship so intense that it takes over your life. When that friendship turns into something you didn't expect, what do you do? How do you deal with it? Janet Gurtler has explored that here, and in doing so has written a true to life account of what it's like to be a seventeen-year-old girl just starting out in the world. I was pleasantly surprised by this book and how much I enjoyed it - a great find, indeed!