This Is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell | A Suspenseful love story with wide spectrum of important topics

this is not a love letter

«In your neat handwriting, you wrote that I reminded you of sunshine and sunflowers, which is kind of funny because sunflowers are so stinky that stink bugs love them. I didn’t keep that love letter, and I’m sorry. It wasn’t that they didn’t mean anything, but I’m not sentimental like that.»

Surprisingly, «This is not a Love Letter» by Kim Purcell didn’t show up very often on the social media. In fact, not a single bookstagram account that I follow featured this on their page at any point during January or beginning of February. Which I found rather starnge considering that (A) this book has a gorgeous cover, (B) it’s a YA contemporary that is incredibly popular and (C) it’s incredibly mysterious and emotional!  

34321919GoodReads Blurb:

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.

GoodReads  | Amazon |  Book Depository  | Author’s Website

Generally, books written from the first point of view are not my favorites. 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.

Throughout the whole 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:

«We will have crows as friends. We will have a chocolate Lab. And maybe kids one day. I love you. Please don’t be in the river. Tears drip down my face.»

That is to say that there were quite a lot of flaws, but if you are able to see past 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 written 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 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. Kim Purcell was able to incorporate different important issues, like interracial love, racism, mental illness, poverty, and others.

My rating:

Thank you NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion! Let me know in the comments down below if you’ve read this book or heard about it and maybe planning to pick it up?

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