Written by: Kim Purcell
Published: January 30, 2018 by Disney Hyperion
Synopsis: One week. That's all Jessie said. A one-week break to get some perspective before graduation, before she and her boyfriend, Chris, would have to make all the big, scary decisions about their future--decisions they had been fighting about for weeks.
Then, Chris vanishes. The police think he's run away, but Jessie doesn't believe it. Chris is popular and good-looking, about to head off to college on a full-ride baseball scholarship. And he disappeared while going for a run along the river--the same place where some boys from the rival high school beat him up just three weeks ago. Chris is one of the only black kids in a depressed paper mill town, and Jessie is terrified of what might have happened.
As the police are spurred to reluctant action, Jessie speaks up about the harassment Chris kept quiet about and the danger he could be in. But there are people in Jessie's town who don't like the story she tells, who are infuriated by the idea that a boy like Chris would be a target of violence. They smear Chris’s character and Jessie begins receiving frightening threats.
Every Friday since they started dating, Chris has written Jessie a love letter. Now Jessie is writing Chris a letter of her own to tell him everything that’s happening while he’s gone. As Jessie searches for answers, she must face her fears, her guilt, and a past more complicated than she would like to admit.
Every once and awhile I like to shake things up, take a break from the genre fiction, and read a contemporary. I decided to do just that and read this book in January. And while it was an interesting book, it wasn’t my kind of read.
Typically when I read a contemporary they are more lighthearted. They don’t have to be fun and fluffy books, but I prefer when they balance the more intense moments with more lighthearted ones. This book did not do that. It was a much more serious kind of read than I usually read. It’s not that this was was an issue book, or a really complex and deep book, it just didn’t have that balance for my tastes. It addressed some really serious issues about humanity, which would have been fine, but I also feel like it didn’t give that its due. I think I maybe would have enjoyed it more, or been able to DNF it if I had known that earlier. It just kind of had a serious and complex issue as part of it’s plot.
Speaking of the plot, there was a lot to the plot of this book. I think maybe this is one of those books where it bit off more than it could chew. Was it an issue book? Was it a coming of age story? Or was it a mystery? Was it all these things or none of them? To be honest, I’m not sure I can answer that question. I think that it was just trying to be all of these things and in that attempt it ended up being none of them. Personally, I wish it had been more of a mystery. There were some really interesting mystery elements that had me curious and questioning, and even some twists I was able to predict which was cool. Just on the whole it never crossed the finish line to being one specific thing and I think that was to its detriment.
The one thing I did like however was the characters. This is a book that had complex and likable characters. The main character of Jessie is someone that it doesn’t take much to connect with. Things are definitely not easy for Jessie but the book does a great job in making her relatable. You want to see her succeed. She was committed to finding out what happened to Chris and making things right with him. You felt her pain, her frustrations, and her worries. Being in her head was an interesting layer to the story that added a lot of interest.
On the whole, I just think this book wasn’t for me. I prefer my contemporaries to go full mystery or have more lighthearted moments to balance out the serious. This was just a full-on serious book. That's not what I typically enjoy and unfortunately this book didn't break me of that.
I give This Is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell 7.5 out of 10 stars
Have you read This Is Not a Love Letter? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!