By: Janet Gurtler
About the Book:
IF ONLY...If only I hadn't gone to that party, I never would have seen what I did. Jackson wouldn't have driven me home. I wouldn't have started to fall for a guy just out of reform school. I could go back to pretending everything was normal. I wouldn't be keeping a secret from my mom that could blow our family apart...
Review by Kelsey G.
What's your pleasure? Racism? Infidelity? Substance Abuse? Alcoholism? If I Tell is a coming of age novel that covers nearly every issue an adolescent can possibly face. Jasmine is a biracial teen being raised by her grandmother. Her mom is still around, just busy starting a new family of her own with Jaz's almost stepdad Simon. When Jaz uncovers a secret she simply cannot bring herself to share with her mother, their already strained family equilibrium is in danger of erupting into full-blown chaos.
This is a study in dysfunction, and was a smidge daytime TV for my taste. The themes though, are admittedly very current, and many teenagers today are living the circumstances around which this story revolves. The pain of ostracism, the grief of losing a loved one, it's all here, and told with a light storytelling style that moves quickly from scene to scene.
I did enjoy the side characters, Jackson, I found particularly interesting, as Jaz's rumored drug-dealing love interest. Jaz's grandmother was also a force to be reckoned with. By the story's end, Jaz comes to terms with her family situation, even as she continues to handle situations way above her maturity level. I enjoyed this story as a brief afternoon read. Not much in the way of deep, intellectual fare but an entertaining tale nonetheless.