Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Guest Post with Janet Gurtler

Photo Content from Janet Gurtler

A Rita Award Finalist and Crystal Kite Award Finalist, Janet Gurtler's young adult books have been chosen for the JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION and as BEST BOOKS FOR TEENS from the Canadian Children’s Book Center. Janet lives in Okotoks Alberta, Canada with her husband, son, and a chubby black Chihuahua named Bruce.


To me, I’M NOT HER, is a story about self-discovery and learning to embrace who you really are. The story came to me with the image of two sisters at a party, one sister, pretty, confident and popular, dancing to music while the other sister sits alone watching and envying her. I was thinking about how things aren’t always as they seem, and what if the perfect sister had her perfection ripped out from her. How would it change both sisters’ lives?

I was motivated by showing how our perceptions of people are often different from how they see themselves. In I’M NOT HER, the change for the sister who gets cancer is perhaps more abrupt but both sisters are forced to deal with it.

Internal struggle resonates with me in what I write and what I read. Personal growth is important to me as a reader and author. I’m also fascinated by roles we are assigned in families and how these roles stick to us even though they’re often not a true reflection of who we are outside our family circles.

It’s funny that we continue to fall into these roles around our families, even in adult years. Personally, I was kind of shy around my sister Tracey when we were teens. She was three years older than me and so much more sophisticated back then. Tracey was taller and thinner (still is) and I envied her.

I did use some of our dynamics in the book sister relationship, but those characters are more forced into growing intimacy while Tracey and I developed ours more naturally. With I’M NOT HER, I wanted to rip away the assigned family roles. The sisters have to find new roles especially as their parents collapse in the face of diversity. The sisters find out how much they can rely on each other.

Also, I firmly believe in ending my YA fiction with hope. In I’M NOT HER each sister has hope for her future, even if the future isn’t what she thought it might be. 

“For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel envy…” 

Tess is the exact opposite of her beautiful, athletic sister. And that’s okay. Kristina is the sporty one, Tess is the smart one, and they each have their place. Until Kristina is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly Tess is the center of the popular crowd, everyone eager for updates. There are senior boys flirting with her. Yet the smiles of her picture-perfect family are cracking and her sister could be dying. Now Tess has to fill a new role: the strong one. Because if she doesn’t hold it together, who will?
You can purchase I'm Not Her at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways
Thank you JANET GURTLER for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler.


  1. Well, this book definitely looks good
    GREAT review
    Your reader,

  2. The books sounds great. I can't wait to read it. Thanks!