This Is Not A Love Letter by Kim Purcell

Actual Rating: 3

*Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for a free e-copy in exchange for an honest review!*

The cover of this book is honestly so beautiful. And fitting too. And just from reading the premise, I knew this book would be a heart-breaker. The story is written like a letter, from Jessie to Chris. A week before graduation, Jessie told Chris they should go on a break, to “get some perspective” on their future. But then, Chris disappears, and Jessie remembers the three boys from the rival high school that beat Chris up three weeks ago. She’s determined to prove that they had something to do with Chris’ disappearance. But Chris is one of the black kids where they live, and people refuse to believe that his skin color could be part of the story. And yet, Jessie is also missing pieces – and the truth is not too easy to process.

I love the plot. A lot. I liked the amount of diversity in social issues that were addressed: racism, mental illness, and class imbalance all played a part in this story, and I felt like the intersectionality of these different issues really reflected the real world in a much more realistic manner. I’m not too sure what I feel about the ending, to be honest, as the story went in a direction I expected but didn’t like too much.

I felt like some of the side characters could have been developed more, as some of them seemed to just be there to progress the plot forwards by providing information or adding to Jessie’s emotional conflict. In fact, though we never saw much of Chris, I felt like I learned about his personality and his struggles simply through context and Jessie’s memories; therefore, he was my probably my favorite character just because he was so complex. Because I liked him so much, I felt myself becoming more and more involved in the search for Chris.

I didn’t have a problem with the writing style and how a lot of it used “you”, as in Chris. I did get a little tired of lengthy narrations and found myself skimming. Still, there were some really beautiful lines that are testimonies to how great of a writer Kim Purecll is.

Overall, I’d still definitely recommend this to people to read, as I feel like it addresses a lot of important issues in today’s society in a very extreme and eye-opening way. Either way, I feel like this is a story that’ll leave you thinking and maybe even shedding a few tears.