Review: How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler

How I Lost You
Janet Gurtler
Series: None
Release Date: April 23rd, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Rating: 3.5 stars
Word Rating: Best friends... forever?
Reviewed by: Mel

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There are a few things Grace Anderson knows for sure. One is that nothing will ever come between her and her best friend, Kya Kessler. They have a pact. Buds Before Studs. Sisters Before Misters. But in the summer before senior year, life throws out challenges they never expected. And suddenly the person who's always been there starts to need the favor returned. Grace and Kya are forced to question how much a best friend can forgive. And the answer is not what they expected.

How I Lost You is the first book I've read by Janet Gurtler. It will not be my last. Without reading the synopsis- I easily mistook this for a romance based story with all the crazy drama and cheesiness. This is not a love story. This is a novel about finding yourself. About letting go, about independence and about friendship. No matter how strong it seems, how closely it's knitted, there's always a loose strand. It's up to that strand to either stay or fall out.

Grace Anderson and Kyla Kessler are like sisters. Buds before studs. Sisters before misters. They are inseparable. They are utterly different and nothing alike. But they are best friends. Through all the hardships, they endeavour, they forgive and they stick like glue. However, during the summer before senior year, their friendship is tested and torn apart as a series of tragic events unfold, drifting Grace and Kyla further away. Like icebergs in the heat of an argument. What made How I Lost You stand out more than other contemporaries was the sport addition. Let me rephrase: an unusual sport addition. Grace's father owns a Paintball arena where Splatterfests are held as a sporting competition. In a way, Grace and Kyla revealed a kick-ass side to them which also was fun to read about.

Janet Gurtler's characters being called a contrasting set would be an extreme understatement. While Grace is reserved, loyal and petite, Kyla is loud, rebellious and slightly clichéd. Grace wanted me to hug her whereas Kyla wanted me to snatch her out of the book and rip her hair out. Nonetheless, the effect was magnificent as a result. The friendship dynamics where full of alternating ego and atmosphere. YA genre, I introduce you to present parents! And a bonus- LOVABLE ONES! Grace's parents were the cutest people I've ever encountered. Sarcasm and humor were embedded craftily into the easy dialogue- which also helped making this a fast, summery read.

How I Lost You could have been the perfect read if it were not for the predictable plot line. I could see exactly where the novel was heading. Per contra, this still produced a positive outcome as the main message being addressed is a bit of coming-of-age as well as friendships, meaning that an intricate plot line was not essentially necessary. Furthermore, romance takes a few steps away in How I Lost You. The romance is not at all dominating- at a comfortable muted level.

This is the story of Grace and Kyla's friendship. Whether it lasts or not- that is for you to find out and for you to see how it gets there. A fabulous read, filled with witty dialogue and depth, How I Lost You will appeal to Sarah Dessen lovers.


  1. I love a story based around a friendship and all. Romance isn't something I love easily compared to friendships. Grace sounds fantastic but Kyla has me a little worried. I hope that there's a reason behind of annoying personality! Fantastic review, Mel!

  2. WHOO! Parents that are actaully likeable is quite the bonus- I am so sick of them being absent or dead- sometimes it can show how lazy some authors are. I haven't seen this one around much but I think I passed by it on some other blog a few months back. Grace sounds like a darling.

    Brilliant review hon :)

  3. Sounds like the characters make this a pleasant read. I can deal with some predictability in these chick lit type books, especially if you're comparing this author to Sarah Dessen.

    Have you read Liane Moriarty, Mel? She's an adult Aussie author whose books I just discovered and really like!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  4. Yay! This sounds wonderful. I love the focus on friendship and while you said the plot line was predictable, it was still enjoyable and I love that there's a unique sports addition. Who writes about paintball? Love! AND PRESENT PARENTS! Cute, lovable parents. Love the review! Thanks for expanding my TBR list ;)

    Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf


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