This Is Not a Love Letter

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Jan 2018

Member Reviews

Thank you to netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review. 
This book was not what I expected,  but it drew me in and I was hooked.  I loved the writing style,  I could actually feel the emotions of the main character.  I felt the heartpounding suspense, the fear, the nervousness, etc.  I won't spoil anything, but this was such a good book, heartbreaking and moving,  sad and hopeful all at once. It brought me to tears.
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"There's nothing. No sign of him anywhere."

Jessie's boyfriend Chris disappears one night while on a run, just after Jessie suggested they take a break from each other.  Everyone thinks he is just another teenage runaway, but Jessie knows differently - and she's out to prove it and find him.

It has been a while since I have read a book that kept me so on-edge.  Kim Purcell's This is Not a Love Letter is one of those books that I just couldn't put down. The suspense kept me hooked right from the beginning, and touched upon a lot of social issues that are very relevant in our society today. This book definitely will bring out a lot of emotion in readers, and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary mystery or suspense books.
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This Is Not A Love Letter is a mystery by Kim Purcell that is, in fact, written as a letter by the girlfriend a a missing teenage boy named Chris. Jessie takes readers on a wild ride as she tries to find Chris, and along the way she introduces readers to many possible suspects.  This book was a quick read, and I enjoyed trying to figure out what happened to Chris. The characters were well developed and realistic, and the writing was engaging. Overall, I really enjoyed This is Not a Love Letter.
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I almost didn't finish this book. I really wanted to put it down because I hated the point of view and the way it was done. But, I stuck with it, and the story kept me going. It's all about a girl named Jessie who tells her boyfriend, Chris, that they should take a break for a week, because he was getting too serious too fast. Then he disappears. Jessie and her friends look for him and eventually his mother calls the cops. Jessie is afraid that it was a hate crime. She thinks some guys that jumped him before might have done it again. Through out the book, she's talking to her boyfriend, telling him what he's missing and how much everyone is worried, how much she is worried. It's a mystery, going through this book, looking for Chris. Like I said, I almost didn't finish it, but the mystery kept me there.

This book deals with a lot of issues, racism, and bullying being the main topics. It also touches on mental illness, anxiety, depression, suicide. Jessie's mom is a hoarder. She's ashamed to let anyone into her house, and Jessie is the adult in the household. Her mom is usually passed out on sleep pills, leaving Jessie to pay the bills and do the shopping.  Jessie is looked down upon for her looks and where she lives, so she seems like a very real, relatable character for me. I can remember specific incidents growing up where I was bullied because of where I lived. (Not that I lived anywhere awful. An old white house on a back road in Southern Kentucky.) It's real. Jessie is a great character and I really enjoyed reading about her and her struggles. She's the kind of person, I would be friends with. 

If you want me to tell you if they ever found Chris… well, I'm not going to. Because you should read this book for yourself. And because maybe the mystery will be the only thing pulling you through the book? In the end, I'm glad I read it. While the beginning of the book nearly lost me, the last half of the book was very fast paced and I flew through it.

This is Not a Love Letter comes out in 2018 (Thanks NetGalley for an early review e-copy!)
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This young adult book addresses many sensitive and timely topics.   Written from the perspective of Jessie speaking to her missing boyfriend Chris, hence the title.   When Chris goes missing many think he may have killed himself but Jessie is convinced that he's a victim of foul play.  An emotional read but definitely one to read.
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This Is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell is YA novel that grips you from the beginning and breaks your heart along the way. Jessie wakes up to the news that her boyfriend is missing. Convinced he did not run away, she endeavors to find him. Written in the form of a letter to her boyfriend, Chris, she details her efforts to find him along with her unspoken feelings, regrets, and memories.

Jessie was a character that the reader could relate to. She had her flaws but strengths as well. Her character is so well written, her hope becomes yours. The mystery behind Chris’ disappearance is also well done. I began to have my suspicions of the outcome because of well-placed clues, but they are not overt.

There were aspects of the plot that seemed overdone. The fact that Chris was an African American in a predominantly white town seemed to be an issue for Jessie only. The racial struggles that the book’s summary talk about are more forced into the story line.

The biggest downside to this novel is the language and the sexual references. The book has a wealth of wonderful messages, but to discuss these would be to give away the plot. My recommendation would be, if you are considering letting your teen read this novel, to read it before and discuss with them along the way.
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I wasn't sure at first how I felt about this. The beginning started a bit slow, but once I got into it...wow. It was so intriguing but so heartbreaking all at the same time. Jessie was a good narrator, because her views of Chris and her own desire to change the possibilities of what might have happened to him clouded the reality of what was going on. I really liked that, and I liked that her own selfish teenage wants and needs shone through a lot, which rooted the story very much in the real world. 

The ending was sad, but not unexpected to the reader. Jessie was the one in denial, but the hints and clues provided for the reader gave us a sense of what had really happened despite her insistence. With books like 13 Reasons Why being made into television shows and with the topic of suicide becoming even more mainstream, these sort of books are so important. The author did a great job of showing how people can hide their pain behind a smile, even managing to keep it hidden from those that know them best. People have secrets, we can never truly know who a person REALLY is at their core, and that was beautifully shown here. A really lovely effort, that I think will resonate with readers of varying ages!
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This Is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell is a riveting story about the disappearance of Chris, a star high school athlete and its effect on his family, friends, and the whole community. It  is told through his girlfriend's thoughts and words. During the search, his friends learn about his being bullied by fellow students as well as the hidden racial prejudice  in the community.  The days go by and his girlfriend becomes increasingly desperate and guilt ridden because she believes she caused him to run away. Her desperation makes this tragic story even more compelling and hard to put down..
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This is Not a Love Letter is a heartbreaking read, and the tone of the whole novel is dark, even the flashback scenes to happier times. Know this going in - maybe not a beach summer read. 

I loved Jessie's voice and found her to be full of nuance. The second person point of view was an interesting choice. I think it worked - it kept me guessing what would happen at the end. Because she was writing to Chris, I hoped he would be okay. Because of this, the ending was particularly heartbreaking.

With 13 Reasons Why in the news lately, conversations about suicide are more important than ever. This book will certainly add to that effort.
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