Turning the Pages: ‘This Is Not A Love Letter’

Title: This Is Not A Love Letter
Author: Kim Purcell
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: This Is Not A Love Letter drew us in from the very first page and hasn’t let go of us weeks later. We doubt it ever will.

Confession time. I like to read the final chapter of a book before I read the first chapter. I know that’s weird, but I like to know what I am working towards. I like to know what kind of hurt or pain I am in for.

The only trouble is that the final chapter doesn’t tell you what you are in for when you don’t know the story that gets you there. This Is Not A Love Letter‘s final chapter didn’t give me anything until I got there from the beginning and when I did, it was a beautifully painful collection of words that made me ugly cry like I was a two year old whose candy was stolen.

This Is Not A Love Letter is not a romance. It’s a book that will make you reexamine the life you live, the things you say, and the love that you give.

SYNOPSIS: 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.

The book was heavy, like really wearing on the heart. I admit that I wasn’t prepared walking into it, but hours later I found myself reflecting on the beautiful heartbreak of the book and thinking, wow this author knew what she was doing. 

Why do I say that?

Because I believe that a good book gets your thinking. It makes you fall apart and it either makes you put yourself back together or it makes your reexamine your life. This Is Not A Love Letter made me think about every bit of my life, but I must say that it triggered me in a way that I didn’t expect.

And I cried.

I cried and shook, and I screamed. Kim Purcell made me fall apart, but in the best way possible. She took a love story and made me think about tolerance, acceptance, and pain. She drew me in from the first page and hasn’t let go of me weeks later.

And I don’t think it ever will.

Kim Purcell crafted a story that addresses the issues. I want to say so much, but the truth is that it’s hard, because if I give away that twist… you’ll be mad later.

Just trust – pick up the book. You won’t regret it. It’s available today.

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