This is not a love letter. By Kim Purcell.
*This book deals with the subject of suicide*
Ages 14 and up
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.
Okay, let me start by saying this is not a beach read. It's an emotional punch in the gut, with a dark undercurrent running through it.
It's written from the perspective of Jessie, talking to Chris, which worked for me because I was better able to get inside Jessie's head and imagine how she was feeling.
Although I was pretty sure of the outcome from the get-go there were moments when I saw a glimmer of hope, I felt how I imagined Jessie felt, and honestly that feeling was powerful. I couldn't put the book down, I had to keep reading, and when I finished I felt entirely wrung out.
Enjoy is not the word to use here, this is, in my opinion, a well written book, it had me hooked and put my emotions through the wringer.
The subject is one that needs to be talked about, if your teen is going to read it you may want to read it first to consider whether your teen is in the right place, right now, to read about suicide, but also to enable you to facilitate a conversation with the book as a starting point.
I'm giving This is not a love letter five stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ because it moved me, it pulled me in with glimmers of hope, then punched me in the gut.
I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley, for review purposes but all thoughts and opinions are my own.