AUTHOR Janet Gurtler
PUBLICATION October 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks Fire
READ September 15 - 16, 2012
She never thought a kiss could kill…After the Edmonton Book Blogger love fest that took place last week at the Smart Chicks Kick it book tour I was excited to get into a conversation with author Janet Gurtler on Twitter and find out that she is from Alberta! How cool to find so many bookish people near me. What was weird about it, was that I went to my shelf and grabbed Who I Kissed to start reading it and checked my phone and there was a tweet from her. It was quite the cowinkidink. So anywho, I read it, and I really enjoyed it. It's a quick read that I easily finished in two sittings and at no point did I ever feel bored or that the story was in any way lagging. Sam is an avid swimmer and after relocating to a new school she joins the swim team and quickly has eyes for senior swimmer Zee. She gets invited to a party at her friend Taylor's house and is overjoyed when Zee seems to be coming onto her and takes her outside. Well, things don't go quite as planned and one of Zee's old fling steps right between them and snatches his attention away. Out of the dark comes a boy who had been checking Sam out a lot lately, Alex. She decides in the moment to kiss Alex to make Zee a little jealous. She didn't think anything about the peanut butter sandwich that she had eaten as a snack prior to the party.... and Alex drops dead. Mid-kiss.
Samantha didn’t mean to hurt anyone. She was just trying to fit in...and she wanted to make Zee a little jealous after he completely ditched her for a prettier girl. So she kissed Alex. And then he died—right in her arms.
Was she really the only person in the entire school who didn’t know about his peanut allergy? Or that eating a peanut butter sandwich and then kissing him would be deadly? Overnight Sam turns into the school pariah and a media sensation explodes. Consumed with guilt, abandoned by her friends, and in jeopardy of losing her swimming scholarship, she’ll have to find a way to forgive herself before anyone else will.
I had expected Who I Kissed to be a bit more funny than it was. Weird I know. To think that a book about a boy dying mid-kiss due to an anaphylactic peanut allergy would be funny, but I did. I hadn't expected to connect with the characters as much as I did. I felt so bad for Sam, she was the new girl at school and had no idea. Alex was pretty popular and everyone but her knew about his allergy. She goes into a depression and stops doing the one thing that she loves because she knows that Alex will never be able to fulfill his dreams so she feels as if she shouldn't be able to either. It was crushing to see how ruined she was after the incident, knowing that it was in no way her fault, and there was no way she could have known. I was pretty mad at Zee for holding it against her even though I could see what would make him do that. Sure it was her kiss that did the deed, but she had no idea about the allergy and it was an honest mistake. I have to say that my favourite character was Sam's aunt Allie. Her free spirited way of life and her patience and understanding for those around her was really admirable. She was the perfect cooky aunt!
While this book definitely goes to an extreme with the issue, I have noticed the peanut issue becoming rather important. I remember being in school and you could eat what you wanted, when you wanted. Your mom could make cupcakes for you to take to school on your birthday and hand out to the other kids in celebration. But now that my daughter is in school there are strict regulations, it is a peanut free zone and we can't even bake cupcakes or cake for them to take in. It has to come pre packaged with the Peanut Free symbol on it. This story tackles that issue through the plot of course but also through the news stories that Sam watches. It's shocking how serious a nut allergy can be, and I'll admit, I hadn't realized it myself.
I was so happy to have enjoyed this book as much as I did and I will definitely be looking out for more books by Janet and supporting my fellow Albertan!
A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.