This Is Not a Love Letter

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Jan 2018

Member Reviews

If you love books that will make you cry,but also have a cast of amazing characters,well crafted story with a pinch of mistery and a book that deals with serious subjects - then this is the book for you. It will stay with you forever and I'm sure this is the book you will return to.
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I did not enjoy this book. No matter how hard I tried to get into it, I just couldn't get past the first chapter. It felt way too cliche and I don't think the issue was being dealt with accurately.
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This book was written in a different way. Kind of like a running letter. The mystery and suspense kept me wanting more. It talked about a real subject drawing out emotion, keeping you reading along. Definitely interested to read more by her!
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In Kim Purcell's book This is Not a Love Letter, she explores the themes of friendship, love, and mental illness through the lens of a series of love letters from Jessie to her missing boyfriend Chris. This is a well-written book that explores difficult themes.
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The strong points of and problems with This Is Not a Love Letter are easy to outline. Lord, this could have been great! For a while, it was great. Then it wasn't once I finished reading.

Purcell absolutely nailed Jessie's narrative voice. Just reading the book on my Kindle made me tear up because little quirks in her speech and the palpable desperation of her letters to her missing boyfriend Chris made it all so clear and real. Had I been listening to the audiobook, I would have been bawling at the end. Only a legendarily bad narrator could possibly dampen such raw emotion. Jessie herself is a well-drawn character who is clearly in love with Chris and hesitant to take the leap with him that he wanted before his disappearance.

At the same time, some of this writing was awful. Really awful, like the oft-cited "my eyes were slippery puddles" line and the baffling decision to mention that she counts how long pees for (32 seconds at the time she wrote it, record time of 107 seconds). That's extremely TMI as well as worrying for both Jessie and her bladder. Counting how long you let loose a stream of pee? Weird. Peeing continuously for 1 minute and 47 seconds? Please see a doctor because holding your pee in long enough for that to happen probably caused damage to your bladder.

But Jessie's complex characterization and lifelike narrative voice can't save This Is Not a Love Letter from the fact that it's a book about how a white girl's life is changed by the disappearance of her mentally ill black boyfriend.

Though the book is written in the form of letters to Chris and the events of the novel center on the entire town looking for him, the novel is never actually about Chris. It's all about Jessie all the time. Chris's mother even calls Jessie out for being so self-centered amid the events of the novel, but that doesn't erase or even make okay the fact that this book is solely about how Chris's existence changed Jessie's life. Because of him, she applied for a passport, actually considered life beyond being white trash from the Pacific Northwest, and generally learned to live.

This is not how you write black characters, especially so if they have depression like Chris. Such characters should not exist as devices through which white people learn to really live life, but that's exactly what he is. Chris exists to be Jessie's Magical Negro. Absolutely infuriating.

The only possible reason I'd recommend this novel is to simultaneously give a writer an education on voice and on how not to write marginalized characters. We could have had it all! But no. Brilliant writing dampened by offensive narrative choices.
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Jessie and Chris are on the brink of momentous change: graduation from high school. What awaits them in the adult world is simultaneously fascinating and frightening. The two are unable to agree on the fate of their future, and Jessie proposes a break, for a week, to gain perspective and discover what they truly want from both their lives and each other. But then, Chris disappears, and the ugly truth about how the last few years of school have gone for him-relentlessly bullied and tormented-comes to light and while everyone around her insists Chris has simply run off, Jessie knows the heart breaking reality. Her love letter to Chris explores the depth of despair modern teenagers must face.
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If you are looking for a love letter keep searching! Kim did an amazing job on this book and I was pleasantly surprised!

This is a first by Kim that I have read and it was such a breathe of fresh air compared to the thriller/suspense/true crime binge I was on when I read this!
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THIS IS NOT A LOVE LETTER by Kim Purcell tells the heart-wrenching story of a teen dealing with the disappearance of her boyfriend.

When her boyfriend disappears, Jessie immediately suspects foul play. As the story unfolds, readers explore issues from their interracial relationship to mental illness and addiction. Told as a letter to her missing boyfriend, readers become immersed in the local community and are challenged to look beyond racism for answers.

Librarians will find this interracial love story to be popular with a youth who enjoy contemporary, realistic fiction. The compelling mystery and authentic characters make this an engaging young adult thriller.

Published by Disney-Hyperion on January 30, 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.
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Jessie's boyfriend, Chris, writes her a love letter every Friday. When he goes missing she gets the idea to write letters to him to give him when he comes back. She explains all of the things that have happened since he has been gone.

This book was heartbreaking. Mental health and harassment are covered. I found this book to be an important read, but I would tread carefully and have the tissues ready.
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Very boring to say the least. I couldn't engage with the writing style.
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I was prepared to sigh at this one. I expected gushy teen romance, maybe with a touch of snark. But that's not what this is. Its more relationship forensics. Far more emotionally complex. And I was a fan of the path that the investigation takes.
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Starts as a typical people in a relationship/one disappears/the story is told from the person who is left behind/flashbacks to important parts of their relationship. It ends, however, as more of a meditation on mental illness and the grieving process. Not a bad turn, as stories go, but this story is lacking a lot of depth to really give it any meaning. Besides the lead, none of the supporting characters have any depth, and the detective and the “villain” are so cliqued, it’s eye-roll worthy. The lead’s story is compelling, and there are some interesting ideas on small town mentalities and racism and depression, but not enough to really buoy the story. The ending also wraps up way too neatly, with not a lot of depth. Not a bad story, just light.
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From the beginning of the book, my attention was caught. I love books that start with a letter, I don't know why. But right away, I wanted to know what happened to her boyfriend. The author had a great writing style (although at times seemed to be trying a little too much to make it flowery). Otherwise, the characters were likable, the story was good, and I would recommend it.
A solid 3.5
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A great look at a tragic, realistic situation of loss, romance, and regrets.  Mental illness and depression can be very hard on relationships, and the possibility of suicide leaves a wake of guilt in a community.  Jessie's frantic search rings very true in the heart of a reader.
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Generally, books written from first point of view are not on my favourites shelf. Maybe it’s a prejudice or maybe I just find third-person narrative more appealing, but «This is not a love letter» made me forget about all of that and shattered my heart multiple times for Jessie, for Chris and for what could have been. 

Synopsis is very clear when it comes to the settings of the book - we read a letter from Jessie to Chris relating everything that is happening once he goes missing. All emotions, all possibilities and a lot of suspense. 

The four stars that I gave to this book were purely based on emotions that I felt as the story progressed further and further:

That is to say that there were quite a lot of flaws, but if you are able to see pass them and just enjoy the story, let yourself get overwhelmed by emotions, after a certain point you will stop noticing them. However, I feel that it is my duty to leave you with these warnings:

- the choice of words and sentence construction sometimes felt a little bit too simple, and even vulgar. I know we were reading what Jessie would have wrote or said but I believe that this could have been done better;
- yes, the ending and the whole storyline was predictable, but it didn’t steal from overall enjoyment and, as I said previously, this was all about emotions anyway;
- Jessie and Chris were the only characters we really got to know, as Jessie was the one telling the story and Chris was the main topic, and I wish we would have gotten a little bit more information and personalities from the side characters as well. 

Before writing this review, I actually did something that I don’t normally allow myself, is to check reviews from other readers on GoodReads, and there were many mixed opinions. 

I’d say, if you are in the mood for an emotional YA love story with hints of mystery, you should definitely pick this up.
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When a teen goes missing, his girlfriend refuses to believe he’s run away. Instead she focuses on the positive and begins documenting the search for him, hoping to share it with him when he returns. Author Kim Purcell recounts this tale for teens by using the unusual choice of second person point of view that ultimately weakens her novel This Is Not A Love Letter.

Jessie Doone loves her boyfriend, baseball star Chris Kirk, but lately Chris has gotten clingy. He wants to get married before they both graduate from high school, and while Jessie can’t imagine her life without Chris she also wants a chance at pursuing her own dreams outside their small town. She wants to leave it all behind: her mother who struggles with hoarding and the prejudiced residents of Pendling, Washington, who look at her and Chris and see only a biracial couple.

Chris supports her goals of studying the environment in college, but he’s begun pressuring Jessie for a decision on getting married. Jessie finally hits her limit and asks Chris for a break. Just a week, she says, of no contact, to give them both time to think about their futures. Surely, she reasons, a week apart can only yield good results.

Then Jessie gets the news: Chris has gone missing. Unlike other times when Chris would take some time for himself, he has left no note. No one knows where he’s gone.

The police think Chris has run away. Jessie thinks something more sinister is possible. Just weeks earlier, several other baseball players beat up Chris because he’s black. Chris believes deeply in nonviolent forms of protest and didn’t fight back. Now Jessie wishes he had.

Jessie decides to keep a record of the search for him. In her journal entries, she talks directly to Chris in the hopes that sending out her love in strong waves will bring him home. The longer he’s gone, however, the less positive the people around Jessie remain that Chris will come back safe and sound.

Author Kim Purcell presents her story with an unusual choice of point of view: she tells the story in second person, which means the main character addresses the reader as “you” in telling the story. In the case of This Is Not A Love Letter, Jessie tells the story to Chris as she waits for some news of him. She tells him several times throughout the book how much she loves and misses him and wonders why he left. In some ways, the second person point of view might make sense. Unfortunately it doesn’t work.

Because Jessie spends the entire book “talking” to Chris, the majority of the conversation turns into how she feels about him and their relationship. Jessie also spends plenty of time detailing life in Pendling with a mother who can barely leave the house because of her issues with hoarding. What readers won’t get is much time with Chris or anyone else in the book, and because the story contains a mystery at its heart the essential elements for that mystery never get shared.

Chris and Jessie’s friends hint at issues Chris may have, but readers get only those hints. More astute members of the target readership will probably figure out early on what happened to Chris, but receiving confirmation of a correct guess comes with little satisfaction. At a key point in the story, one of the secondary characters reprimands Jessie. Not everything about Chris missing, the character says, is about Jessie. Yet the choice of point of view and the heavy doses of teenage melodrama give readers the distinct feeling that Chris going missing is about Jessie’s feelings.

The book tries to raise some serious issues teens face today, including racism and what it’s like to live with a hoarding family member, but it doesn’t do much justice to any of them. I recommend readers Bypass This Is Not A Love Letter.
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i wish i could have said I loved this book but it was just okay. nothing really stuck out and wowed me. i gave this 2 stars but i would still try out the authors other worked
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This book is incredibly devastating to read, and it really took a lot out of me, emotionally. The topics that it deals with are heartbreaking and heavy. The plot overall was interesting, but that is the only thing that make me keep reading. 

I personally was not a fan of the writing style at all. I found it distracting and confusing because the main character was writing letters to her missing boyfriend and continuously referred to him as "you." Also, I just could not relate to the main character, Jessie, at all. I found her a little bit annoying at times. 

Plus, the titles of the chapters were really confusing. I think that each title should have contained a date, not just the ones in present time. It would have created a better storyline for me personally. 

However, I did enjoy the story in terms of plot. I believe it could have been executed better, but overall it was an okay book.
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One night Chris, a popular high school athlete who is African American, goes out for a run, and doesn't come back. When Jessie, his white girlfriend, learns about it the next morning, she fears the worst. Could the rich white boys who had beaten Chris up attacked him again? Could her asking him for a one week break prompted him to go off on a trip and not tell anyone? Written as a letter to Chris by Jessie that describes what's happening while he's missing, the events leading up to it, and her deep feelings for him, this book is tense, engrossing, and surprising.
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