Review * Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler

March 28, 2013 Reviews 5 ★★★

Review * Who I Kissed by Janet GurtlerWho I Kissed by Janet Gurtler
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on October 12, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Add to: Goodreads
She Never Thought A Kiss Could Kill. . .

Samantha is new at school and just recently joined the swim team. She’s been flirting with one of her teammates, Zee, who invites her to a party and just as quickly dumps her for another girl. Hurt, but pretending not to care, she turns to his best friend, Alex, and gives him a kiss. And he dies—right in her arms. Alex was allergic to peanuts, and Samantha had eaten a peanut butter sandwich right before the party. She didn’t know. Overnight, Samantha 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 will have to find the inner-strength to forgive herself for the tragedy.

What I Thought…

Contemporary is my genre of choice, I prefer light and fun contemporary over serious contemporary, but I did enjoy it. There were a few tears and a lot of feelings. Who I Kissed is very character driven. It’s all about how Samantha deals with what happens, how she changes and how others change around her.


I found it really hard to like Samantha. I didn’t dislike her, but it was really hard to be inside her head. Obviously the fact that she is responsible for Alex’s death changes her. Samantha completely withdraws into herself. She quits swimming, barely wants to go to school and doesn’t want to talk to her friends. I totally understand her having these feelings (to be honest if she didn’t have those feelings I would be concerned) but it’s hard being in someone’s head with these unhappy thoughts. Most of the time I felt sorry for her, but by the very end of the book I could say I liked her, at least a little. Eventually Samantha goes back to school and starts to reclaim parts of her life back, though she still won’t swim.


The only friend who truly abandons her is Zee, her crush from the swim team. As Alex’s friend he was taking the situation pretty hard and doesn’t want anything to do with Samantha at all. This was especially frustrating at first but there are some other things that were involved in the situation that have affected Zee’s feelings.


Who I Kissed has parents! Ok, one parent, Samantha’s dad and Aunt Allie, but it’s close enough to count for me. I liked them both in different ways. Samantha’s dad just wanted his littler girl back, but didn’t know how to go about doing it. He’s a bit overly cautious with her and he pressures her a lot to join the swim team again. Aunt Allie is a bit out there, but she pretty much rocked. She stood up to Samantha’s dad when necessary and was the rock that Samantha needed.


I had a bit of problem with the concept (Samantha ate the peanut butter, kissed Alex later, Alex dies) but the ending made it all make sense for me. I think if the what happened at the end hadn’t happened this would only be a 3 star book for me.

Notable Quotes

“What she doesn’t know is that I don’t want to feel better. I don’t want to go on with my life as if nothing happened. Something did happen. Something big.”


“I lie in my bed and think about poking something sharp into my skin. To see if it will hurt, to see if I’ll bleed, to test whether I’m still alive. I don’t though. For one, because moving means effort. Two, because I’m afraid if I start bleeding that I won’t stop myself from draining all life from my body. Or worse, that I will.”


5 Responses to “Review * Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler”

  1. ....Petty Witter

    Oh dear, a character driven novel in which you didn’t really like the main character – this doesn’t sound good to me though 4 stars is a pretty good score.

  2. Christina

    Hmmmm, even though I’ve seen pretty good reviews for this one, I really don’t think I can. The premise (peanut allergy death from one kiss) and the duck-face cover and a sort of hard to like character = me seriously skeptical. I’m pretty sure I would laugh when the kid died, and that is NOT the right reaction. I will feel like a jerkface.

  3. fakesteph

    Ummmmmmm…I love contemp, but this one sounds so far out there. I don’t even know… I’m glad you liked it though. I wish the girl on the cover had peanut butter on her lips. ALSO ALSO ALSO… I feel like if you were THAT allergic to peanuts, it would be like the FIRST thing you say to any hot girl you meet. Don’t eat peanut butter if you want to make out. Making out is less sexy if I’m dead.