How I Lost You

( 11 )

Overview

"I always thought we'd be friends to the end."

Grace and Kya always do everything together, and nothing can get in the way of their friendship. They have a pact: Sisters Before Misters. Buds Before Studs.

Only Grace knows what Kya's been through, or how much she needs someone to stick by her. No matter what. Besides, Kya keeps life exciting—pulling Grace into things she'd never dare to do on her own. But inch by inch, daring is starting to turn...

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How I Lost You

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Overview

"I always thought we'd be friends to the end."

Grace and Kya always do everything together, and nothing can get in the way of their friendship. They have a pact: Sisters Before Misters. Buds Before Studs.

Only Grace knows what Kya's been through, or how much she needs someone to stick by her. No matter what. Besides, Kya keeps life exciting—pulling Grace into things she'd never dare to do on her own. But inch by inch, daring is starting to turn dangerous. And Grace will have to decide how far she can go to save her friendship with Kya...before she ends up losing everything else.

"Fascinating and unique."—Jennifer Brown, author of Hate List, on Who I Kissed

"Gurtler handles complex issues of friendship and fidelity with laugh-out-loud humor and engaging frankness."—RT Book Reviews, on If I Tell

"Gurtler's writing unfurls with the exquisite grace of a flower."—Sarah Ockler, bestselling author of Fixing Delilah and Twenty Boy Summer on I'm Not Her

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gurtler (Who I Kissed) examines how unconditional loyalty between friends can sometimes lead to unhealthy self-sacrifice. Seventeen-year-old Grace and her best friend Kya have always put each other first, bonded by a chilling secret from Kya's past, as well as a mutual love of paintball. Forgiving Kya for her sometimes selfish and destructive behavior has always come naturally to Grace, in light of Kya's past trauma, but when Grace meets a cute, reliable guy named Levi, finding a balance between making excuses for her best friend and pursuing a budding love interest becomes challenging. Kya's recklessness causes problems for both girls; she makes them miss an important practice and acts inappropriately at another critical paintball event. Gurtler gracefully negotiates the powerful emotions that accompany a changing friendship and brings the game of paintball to life with fascinating detail. Readers may tire of Kya's antics before Grace finally takes a stand, but they'll understand the difficulty of moving on from a toxic relationship that once felt like it would last forever. Ages 13–up. Agent: Jill Corcoran, the Herman Agency. (May)
From the Publisher
"The all-too-relatable tale of two inseparable best friends, Grace and Kya, as they struggle when their relationship begins to fall apart. It's a cute summer read, perfect for any girl who's faced tough times with her own BFF." - Entertainment Weekly

""Gurtler gracefully negotiates the powerful emotions that accompany a changing friendship and brings the game of paintball to life with fascinating detail. Readers . . . will understand the difficulty of moving on from a toxic relationship that once felt like it would last forever."" - Publishers Weekly

"This is a relatable story about nurturing a friendship, and it's not every day that teens will have the chance to read about paintballing. The lesson that Grace learns is a good one, and the strong female characters are a plus. " - School Library Journal

VOYA - Jeanine Fox
BFFs Grace and Kya, friends ever since Grace first moved in next door, are closer than sisters. Grace's dad, a former police officer, runs the town paintball center; the two girls are passionate about paintball and seeking coveted spots on Seattle University's Lady Grinders team. But not all is certain and assured, and when a terrible secret is reawakened from her past, Kya spirals beyond Grace's reach. Kya indulges in self-destructive behaviors: drinking, promiscuity, and hanging out with the wrong crowd. Their mutual friend, James, distances himself from Kya and rebuffs any of Grace's attempts to have them reconcile. Grace, who has always put her own needs second to Kya's, is torn between seeing her own goals realized and trying to save Kya. Gurtler, a Canadian author, frankly delves into teen relationships. How I Lost You, her fourth YA novel, explores the friendship between two girls and what happens when the mutually beneficial relationship sours. The unique storyline of female paintballers adds to the tension and drama between the girls, and with their male friends. Teens will relate to the experience of having a close friendship that ends and Grace's feelings of loss and betrayal. The book also deals with the themes of teen sexuality and drug and alcohol use. This will make a terrific read for a YA book discussion group. Reviewer: Jeanine Fox
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Best friends Kya and Grace hope to make the Lady Grinders paintballing team in college. Rarely does anything come between them, but then Kya finds that drugs and alcohol make her feel better and help her forget the dark secret that she shares with very few people. Grace, the narrator, tries to keep Kya moving in a positive direction, even making excuses for her until she feels herself being dragged under the weight of her friend's destructive habits. This is a relatable story about nurturing a friendship, and it's not every day that teens will have the chance to read about paintballing. The lesson that Grace learns is a good one, and the strong female characters are a plus, but many readers will not wade through the details to get to the resolution.—Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI
Kirkus Reviews
Seventeen-year-old Grace and her best friend Kya are inseparable, and they plan to keep it that way by using their mad paintball skills (yes, paintball) to make the all-women team at Seattle University. At least that's what Grace thought the plan was. But the closer the girls get to realizing their dream, the more Kya begins to unravel. Knowing that her friend carries scars from a secret past, Grace risks everything to try and save Kya from herself. With so many "buds before studs" novels out there to choose among, Grace and Kya's story fails to distinguish itself. It's difficult to root for the duo when their friendship never seems worth the fight to begin with. Readers must rely on Grace's word that there was a time that she and Kya shared a meaningful and reciprocal relationship, since it's difficult to find evidence of it in any of the book's 28 chapters. Manipulative and self-destructive from the start, Kya never shows any true affection for Grace. Surely, what happened to Kya was terrible, but while Grace uses it as an excuse for her best friend's destructive and hurtful behavior, readers will find themselves rooting alongside a host of more appealing secondary characters for Grace to wise up before it's too late. This friendship story fizzles. (Fiction. 14 & Up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402277948
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/23/2013
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 425,744
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL550L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Janet Gurtler lives in Calgary, Canada with her husband and son and a puppy blessed with cuteness rather than brains. Janet does not live in an Igloo or play hockey, but she does love maple syrup and says "eh" a lot. Visit janetgurtler.blogspot.com.

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Read an Excerpt

chapter one

The boys were watching us, trying to get us to make mistakes. I knew from the swear words they were flinging around that they'd underestimated us. Inexperienced players shouted a lot. Kya and I didn't.

A surge of excitement blasted though me, and I grinned behind my paintball mask. Playing paintball made me feel alive, like licking a lollipop of adrenaline and wanting to explode with the rush. With my best friend, Kya, at my side, I sensed what it might be like to be invincible. Our goal was simple: shoot them before they shot us. Especially since the game was being streamed on a webcast. The people watching could change our lives.

But we had work to do. They had three players left. So did we.

At first, the other team wanted to kick our butts because of the girl thing, but now they knew we were good. Actually, if I were inclined to brag, I'd have to say the two of us were pretty great. I don't. Brag, that is. But Kya's a different story. And based on the way they were shooting right now, the other team not only wanted to hit us, they wanted to make it hurt.

It's easier to rock at paintball when you know someone has your back. I had Kya's and she had mine. No question asked. It made us somewhat unstoppable. She lifted her hand and pointed. I nodded, understanding.

Kya gave me the thumbs up, so I took a deep breath, stood, and then ran as fast as my legs could move in my gear. She shot crossfire, and a flurry of paintballs popped around me. One ball whizzed past my head, but with her diversion, I managed to dive behind a bunker without getting splattered.

Another flurry of swear words ripped through the air and then Kya yelled to me.

"Grace, you're a PAINTBALL PRINCESS."

"Kya, you da QUEEN!" I yelled back. It was our version of trash talk. We knew to speak naturally and stay calm in the midst of huge adrenaline rushes. We only yelled to rattle. Paintball wasn't really life or death. It only felt like it sometimes.

I couldn't see Kya's grin under her paintball mask, but I imagined it. When she smiled, it lit up her already beautiful face. She didn't smile a lot-she'd seen bad, bad things at a young age. Too young.

"Would you two quit glorifying and tell me what to do," yelled James. He was the only other player left on our team-Kya's best friend since second grade, mine since Dad moved us to Tadita the summer before seventh grade.

"Don't get shot," Kya called to him.

James was crouched behind a bunker. Paintball doesn't flow naturally through James's veins the way it does for Kya and me. He tended to panic a little, even though we look after him. He'd only agreed to join our team because one of our players didn't show up and the Lady Grinders scout had requested footage from the game. The Lady Grinders was a National College Paintball Association team out of Seattle University, the college team Kya and I would give up unborn children to play on. A college with an all-female paintball team. It couldn't get much better. But first we had to prove ourselves.

I glanced around, checking out the other players' positions, strategizing how we could lure them into the open.

Kya looked at me and tapped the side of her mask. My heart thumped in my chest as I nodded back. I was in a bad position. There was another set of loud pops, and James raised his hand in the air, then walked out from behind his bunker.

"I'm hit!" he yelled. "Sorry, Grace," he added before he started toward the deadbox. He'd given himself away when he'd shouted to us. I didn't blame him for it. He tolerated the game; he didn't live and breathe it.

I waved to him, but a paintball whizzed by my arm, missing me by inches. A tall boy had stepped too far from his bunker and shot too fast. Kya took advantage and popped him, and then I caught his teammate running toward another bunker.

Two down. One to go.

Kya and I locked eyes and she tilted her head to the right. I blinked quickly and frowned, understanding her meaning but not wanting her to make the sacrifice for me. She ignored my signal. She flew out like Superman and ran hard to give me a chance to move to a better position.

Whack!

She took a hit in the shoulder, but as intended, she'd drawn out the last guy. I lifted my gun, aimed, and pulled the trigger.

Thwap!

I hit him right in the back of the head and the webcam caught it all. The Lady Grinders would be impressed. Kya had set me up to look like the hero.

Kya whooped and ran toward me. When she got close, she jumped at me for a midair bump. I jumped to meet her and we smashed bellies. Then she grabbed my hand and held it in the air as if I were a boxer declared winner of the round.

"And that, my friends, is how it is done," she yelled at the top of her lungs.

We put a hand around each other's hips and kicked our legs up like Vegas showgirls. Our version of the victory dance. My heart burst with love for my BFF. We ignored the angry callouts from the guys we'd beaten and let the game outcome speak for itself.

"I could not have made that shot without you," I said for the benefit of the webcam as well as my best friend. Plus, it was true. I would not be the player I was without her.

She pulled off the headband outside her mask, and shut off the webcam attached to it.

"That was freaking awesome!" I yelled, still pumped up by the high of the win. I pulled off my mask and scrunched up my face in a faux dirty look. "But you totally sacrificed yourself to make me look good."

She flipped her mask up and shrugged. "You're worth it. I know how much you want to make the Grinders."

"Yeah. And you do too." I punched her lightly on the shoulder and put my gun up on my shoulder as we walked toward the exit of the speedball arena.

"Consider it an early birthday gift," she said.

"My birthday isn't for a month," I reminded her.

"That's why I said early." She rolled her eyes at me.

"We have to make that team," I said for the millionth time that week. "I wish we could have gotten tickets for the Paintball Manifesto," I whined, also for the millionth time. "That party would have secured our spots for next year." VIP tickets for the first giant Paintball Tradeshow in Seattle sold out, and without them we had no way to get into the VIP Players Party. The Lady Grinders would be there. A perfect chance to get on their good side.

"I know, Skanklet," she said.

"Good game, girls," Dad called. He stood on the top bench of the bleachers, outside the ropes, waving down at us. I hadn't known he'd been watching the game, but it didn't surprise me.

Years back when he found out what happened to Kya, Dad drove both of us to Splatterfest, the paintball place he'd bought after retiring from the police force, and made us suit up. He didn't tell anyone to go easy on us. He said he wanted to toughen us up and build our confidence. He said we needed to learn to excel in a male-dominated world like paintball. That it would help us in "real life."

I think how much we both loved paintball surprised him. We were both playing in tournaments by our second season. He said he'd thought it would be a good place for Kya to feel like she was taking back control. It made me sad that she needed to. But she did. There was nothing we could do to change what happened. Except be her friend.

I loved her before I found out what happened. I loved her more fiercely after. I would do anything to protect her.

"Solid footage. They won't be able to turn either of you down, even without going to the VIP party." He took a lot of pride in our paintball skills. He'd obviously heard about the webcast we were making for the Grinders, even though I hadn't told him.

I waved at him, and Kya raised her hand and then turned back to me.

"Don't worry, my Skanklet. I have ways of making things happen."

"But-" I started to say.

"Butt," she interrupted, turned, and shook her butt at me as we headed out of the playing area.

I laughed. Kya grinned back and then placed her free hand on her belly. "God. I'm so bloated. I have a monster case of PMS." She shook her butt some more and someone wolf whistled. We both automatically lifted our middle fingers without even looking over. Dad yelled something at the boys as he clomped noisily to his office in the back.

"You too, right?" Kya said with a grin. "PMS?"

Yes. We were so close, even our cycles were in harmony.

"You mean, Pass My Shotgun?" I asked, unable to resist, and lifted my paintball gun in the air.

She giggled. "No. Pass Me Sugar. Or Psychotic Mood Shifts." She scrunched up her mouth and made a face. Then she giggle-snorted again. Kya had a ridiculous and contagious laugh that always made me lose it.

Another laugh spurted out of me and I covered my mouth. "Oh no." A giggle fest started building, the contagious laughter tickling and threatening to erupt. We'd played this round of acronyms before with scream-laughter developing.

"Perpetual Munching Spree." Kya blew up her cheeks again so they were puffy and round.

"Provide Me with Snacks," I answered with a snort.

"Pimples May Surface," she said, grinning and pointing at my forehead.

My amusement died. Panicking, I reached up to feel my skin. Kya broke out into another peal of wacky laughter.

"What?" I demanded, suddenly immune to her laugh.

She pointed at me. "You searching for zits. You're such a worrier, Grace. You're fine." She laughed aloud. "Look at your face...Priceless Mood Shift."

"Please Shut Mouth," I said, and stuck my tongue out at her.

"Seriously?" James said when we stepped out of the roped-off area. He was already at the back counter cleaning out the rental gun he'd borrowed from my dad's supply. Dad ran the most organized indoor paintball place in the world and the neatest one too. Since James, Kya, and I were all his employees as well as players, we took good care of his equipment.

There was a blast of sound from Dad's office. Deaf in one ear from an on-the-job accident years before, he did everything a little too loudly. It sounded like he was testing the new speakers Mom bought him for his birthday last week.

"You really have to talk about female reproductive issues here?" James gestured around him to the boys in paintball gear and the counter filled with ammo and guns. "Voices carry, you know."

"Like we care," Kya said. "And trust me. Periods have nothing to do with reproduction at this point in our lives."

"You better hope so," he mumbled.

"You guys." I glared at both of them.

Usually they didn't take their bad moods out on each other. I wanted them to quit fighting and make up already. James turned his back to put away the paintball gun he'd borrowed.

Kya's secret was lodged right in the middle of our three-way friendship. I wished she'd let me tell him. But she wouldn't. And because he didn't know, he was harder on her. He saw me taking her side. Sometimes he didn't understand my need to protect her from the world.

Dad says I'm a human sponge for anyone with a sad story. Me? I think everyone has a sad story if you look hard enough. Dad agrees, I know he does, but his years as a police officer hard-boiled him a little. Not all the way; he's still a tiny bit soft on the inside.

But he looks out for Kya. My mom too. They're the only other people who know what happened to her.

We guard her secret feverishly. And we guard Kya too.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 5, 2013

    What I love about this story is that at its core this story  is

    What I love about this story is that at its core this story  is about friendship and the limits of friendship. Kya is on a downward spiral and Grace has always been the person to get Kya back on track. It's never really been a problem until Kya's actions start affecting Grace and Grace's future. Gurtler makes you really question when enough is enough? 




    How I Lost You is so poignant and there are so many hard hitting moments and moments that make you contemplate about when to let go. I really tried to look at Kya and Grace's relationship from an objective perspective and there are many moments that I'm like "Ok Grace, time to cut her of now...that's too far Grace...Don't let her get away with this Grace...It's not your problem". However Gurtler does an amazing job at painting a picture about how complicated this relationship is, I think the moments were I'm like okay enough, are some of the same moments where Grace is having these realization. It's not a simple decision and I really feel like How I Lost You accurately portrays the difficulty of this decision. Even though I'm like, Ugh! Come On! I understand every reason why Grace feels like she has to stay, maybe it's because I've personally had a parasitic friendship of my own, where one person clearly benefited out of that relationship more than the other. There is absolutely no way to make a clean break with someone you have so much history without there being a lot of hurt and that's partly makes Grace hesitate and continue to give Kya more chances. 




    I think my favorite of part of the novel however is not actually the characters but Gurtler's writing style, she masterfully interweaves light funny moments with darker serious moments, and those light moments don't detract at all from the serious topics. 




    I am a personal fan of all of Janet Gurtler's works an How I Lost You is no exception. I laughed and I cried, and I felt a range of emotions and finished the book but couldn't leave the story alone, I couldn't stop thinking about Grace and thinking about how/if I would do anything differently. I would absolutely recommend that you read How I Lost You.




    Copy provided by author for a honest and unbiased review.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    How I Lost You is a story that has so many things in it that wil

    How I Lost You is a story that has so many things in it that will surprise the reader. I love Janet's stories because she gives such a powerful message in the story that uplifts the reader and has teens looking at situations in a different light. This book is about friends and where friendships go and how they play out when on friend changes.




    Grace and Kya are friends not only friends but best friends. They do everything together and they stick to the saying that friends come before anyone or anything. That is until the friendship hits a bump in the road and both Grace and Kya are looking at what their friendship is and where it is going.




    This is such a powerful story about what a friend will do for another friend. What sacrifices a friend will do for the other friend and how selfish one friend can be towards the other. I recommend this book to all girls who have ever been wronged by a friend because this book will open their eyes to what happened and give them some insight on how not to make bad decisions in friendships.




    What would you sacrifice for your friend?

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2013

    This is my fave Janet Gurtler book. I loved Grace, the main char

    This is my fave Janet Gurtler book. I loved Grace, the main character and Levi and James so much. The paintball part was super cool too. You NEED to read this NOW!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Every time I think that Janet Gurtler has wowed me, she does it

    Every time I think that Janet Gurtler has wowed me, she does it again and better.
    What I love most about her writing is how she takes a relevant topic and makes it relatable to readers whether or not they've ever had to experience what the characters go through. More importantly, she writes about realistic teens that we can sympathize with. And this is what I look for in YA Contemporary.
    I was especially excited to read How I Lost You because it's about two girl friends. While we all have them, oftentimes friendships fade into the background of the greater plot or romance of many YA books nowadays. This book, however, is all about Grace's relationship with Kya and how recent events cause her to rethink their friendship and its impact on her life. Romance gets put on hold in the meantime. I also love the paintball side to the book. It adds some nice action to the story and rounds out the girls' characters. Plus, it feels really good to see them kicking some boy butt in a male-dominated sport.
    Kya is toxic. Guys can't help falling all over her, and even Grace is not immune to Kya's charms, albeit in a completely different manner. Though Kya keeps making Grace put her other life plans on hold in order to take care of her (something Grace has felt obligated to do ever since learning about what happened to Kya in the past), Grace can't help making excuses to her. It's similar to the kind of relationships where one partner keeps hurting the other and saying sorry, and the other party keeps forgiving the hurtful partner. The need to protect Kya keeps Grace blinded to Kya's faults. Grace is a nice girl with genuine concern for Kya's welfare, which makes it all the harder watching her invest so much time into covering up the stupid things that Kya does just to watch Kya do them all over again.
    The events that unfold in this novel are necessary for Grace and Kya to grow up. It would be near impossible for Grace to get anywhere in life if she kept taking care of Kya over her own needs, and it's a difficult situation for her. She loves Kya, in the way you love that girl friend you've had forever, and so much that being Kya's BFF is a part of who she is. Now, she's learning that she never really knew that other part of her, and she doesn't know how to begin moving on. Kya has always been able to rely on Grace to forgive her fault. She isn't a bad girl at heart, but I think she can learn how not to make excuses for herself if she doesn't have Grace mothering her all the time. James, the third best friend in this trio, acts as a nice foil to Grace with his different outlook on life. I also really like Levi. He's sweet and supportive, and the romance between him and Grace is sweet and so, so cute to watch unfold.
    How I Lost You is a story about friendship, forgiveness, and learning to let go. I recommend this to readers looking for a realistic YA Contemporary read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I had no expectations for this book, and I guess it didn't reall

    I had no expectations for this book, and I guess it didn't really disappoint me. I have read many great reviews for it, and that what made me get a bit excited. The difference in this book than other contemporaries is that this one revolves mainly on the friendship. Grace and Kya and best friends since childhood, and Grace is kind of her caretaker most of the time. Kya suffered a tragic event when she was young, her dad is an alcoholic, and her mother doesn't give a crap of what she does or where she is. Grace feels like she is obliged to take care of her, and sometimes she goes too far.I guess they both are really tight friends, but I guess Kya got the best out of it. Grace was always taking care of Kya, scared to hurt her feelings, and would sacrifice stuff just so she would please Kya. Kya isn't that bad either. She really does want Grace to be happy, but sometimes she just acts a bit selfish, which kind of bugged me out. I liked the fact that most of the book also revolved around paintball, which I didn't know was an actual sport until now. Or is it? Anyhow, Kya and Grace are kick-butt in paintball, and I liked that in both of them. They both work at a paintball place who Grace's dad actually owns. When these new boys come to play, Kya immediately flirts and seeks all the attention. Another annoying thing. Though one boy doesn't actually look at her, and is interested in Grace. At some point, it was kind of sad to see their friendship going down the hole. The whole Buds Before Studs was so cute, but nothing lasts forever. I can see how many people can relate to this. There will always be an end to your "best friend", and if you're still holding on to yours, then consider yourself to be lucky. Overall, I really enjoyed reading "How I Lost You", and would totally recommend it to all those who have lost a dear friend of theirs. It's sad, but it's the truth. Can't wait to read more of Janet Gurtler's future stuff!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Being in the front row sit watching your friendship of years cra

    Being in the front row sit watching your friendship of years crash and burn before your eyes sucks. I know, cause I’ve been there before. It was horrible and its something I don’t ever want o go through again. This is why I related to the book so much. It kept me in a constant state of obsession, just wanting to continue reading till the very last page.

    Plot: Two friends, who have known each other forever. All it takes is one little change and BOOM! There it all goes. I enjoyed the way the author created such a solid life long relationship only to have it unravel piece by piece in front of the reader. The best part, I couldn’t stop it. As I watch each girl move away from each other, accuse each other, and turn there backs on each other, it kept me in my seat. This plot gives the reader a rare and probing plot that you fall into quickly.

    Friendship/Boys: Both characters, Grace and Kya are two different girls. They are so different that I kept wondering what was holding their friendship together. Grace mostly followed Kya. Kya was in a league of her own. A strong, independent girl who is tough and kind be somewhat dangerous. Grace is a good girl who wants to go places. Kya gives her that push but she also holds Grace back. These girls also face drama with boys. Let’s just say in the end, I really dislike Kya.

    Letting Go: Sometimes when you held on to something for so long, you’ve got to let it go. No matter what you do to go back to the old days, the hurt, the betrayal, the anger is all still there. Moving on is for the best. And so, watching this friendship end is hurtful. I hoped that they make up but in reality something has got to change.

    How I Lost You is a precise portrait of how some friendships in. They become toxic and hurtful. What was once something these friends felt relaxed in, became something they didn’t even recognize. The detailed examination of how these girls lost each other hugely impacts the readers emotions. Thoroughly entertaining, How I Lost You is fabulous.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2013

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    Ever since I first saw How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler I was dyi

    Ever since I first saw How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler I was dying to get reading. As a teen girl who knows what it’s like to lose a person that you call your best friend I was so excited to get to read a YA contemporary novel that I could relate to deeply. Right from the first chapter to the last page I was hooked on How I Lost You and couldn’t put the book down.

    How I Lost You tells the story of how Grace and Kya’s friendship falls apart. Grace and Kya have been best friends ever since they were both kids and both believe in putting each other before everything.  The two girls are complete opposites. Kya is reckless and impulsive and the girl everybody wants. Grace is nothing like Kya and she’s one of the only people who knows what’s happened to Kya that has driven her to be the way she is. Together Kya and Grace do things that Grace probably wouldn’t do on her own, but with Kya these daring things are fun and harmless.

    However lately Kya has begun to take things to new extremes. She’s in a fight with their best friend James, abusing substances, involving herself with guys who aren’t the nicest and has been unknowingly sabotaging her career in paintball. Just as Grace and new guy Levi begin to find chemistry Kya grow dangerously reckless. Grace finds herself coming to her friend’s rescue more and more often and constantly makes up excuses to justify Kya’s actions. In the end Grace will need to choose between what she wants and her friendship with her best friend.

    How I Lost You is one of those reads that gets you emotional. Janet Gurtler’s writing pulled so many emotions out of me ranging from sadness to extreme joy to fury. I’ve never yelled so much at a book in my life, there were instances where I would have to put the book down and control myself before I could start reading without furiously yelling at certain characters. The scenes and the secrets and the perfect way that How I Lost You was written all brought the plot to life and made it feel insanely realistic.

    Right from the start I could see some of the kinks in Kya and Grace’s relationship and also noticed how most of the things that Kya would do that were considerably ‘bad’ left Grace with excuses to make to cover for her. The biggest excuse of all being what happened to Kya when she was younger. I liked getting to watch Kya and Grace’s relationship fall apart and I don’t mean that in the way it sounds, I mean that I enjoyed getting to watch the realistic way their relationship was built up and the heartbreaking way it was slowly torn apart. I could relate and got a bit teary eyed whenever Kya would do something to Grace that would hurt Grace more than Kya would notice.

    I would recommend How I Lost You to readers who are looking for a novel that shows friendships that don’t have to necessarily last forever, readers who are looking for an emotional and heartbreaking read and to readers who want a novel they will be addicted to. I couldn’t put How I Lost You down and I loved every moment reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2013

    Omg<3

    I friggin love this book! Everyday i had a camp from 9:10-12:00 and another from 1:00-4:00 between 12:00 and 1:00 i read this book. Its my personal favorite! I love it and i recomend this book to girls ages 12 and up!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2013

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    I Also Recommend:

    What impressed me the most about HOW I LOST YOU was the way Jane

    What impressed me the most about HOW I LOST YOU was the way Janet Gurtler dealt with losing a best friend. She mentioned once that when you lose a best friend, you experience the same emotions that come from breaking up with a significant other.  They've been there for you through thick and thin, and letting go is hard.  We've all experienced it.  It's always painful, especially when you truly love your friend. Whether you're on the receiving end or the one severing the cord, losing a good friend sucks. Sometimes, you have no choice. When friends become toxic and destroy your own life, it's time to let go...but that doesn't mean the break won't be painful!




    HOW I LOST YOU centers around best friends Grace and Kya. They're always together, and even play paintball together, two fierce girls able to dominate in a male-oriented sport.  Grace knows exactly what she wants when she graduates: to play paintball in college with The Grinders, an all-female team.  There will be two open spots, and she knows they're meant for her and Kya.  Kya, however, is growing more irresponsible due to turmoil that rises in her life, and the team may no longer be willing to take a chance on either girl. Can Grace stop Kya's destructive behavior before it's to late to fix things?




    There are so many deep, heavy issues lying at HOW I LOST YOU's heart. Even minor things stand out and become memorable. For example, it was intriguing to see a minor character with MS, and the way the disease impacts the life of the woman's son, James, the third amigo who cuts Kya off long before Grace has the heart to even consider it.  While there is a little romance mixed into the novel, it's never the focus. Instead, everything centers around the friendship between Grace and Kya. I really appreciated the way Gurtler chose not to overpower the book with an obligatory romance, but rather highlight a different sort of love, one able to equally resonate with readers. Grace wants nothing more than to believe the best of Kya and to support her in every way she can. She knows where Kya is coming from and is the keeper of Kya's deepest, darkest secret.  She hates the way Kya's always so needy, though, the way Kya won't put Grace's needs ahead of her own. It's always Grace giving; she never gains. The girls have cute little mannerisms such as the &quot;Butt Dance&quot; whenever Grace says &quot;But,&quot; though they also have unfortunate nicknames for one another that can, at times, be distracting. At first, it seems that Grace is fine with this, but as the novel progresses, we see just how deeply Kya can hurt her, and just how much leeway Grace has given her to do so over the years. In a way, even these minor annoyances become important. 




    And the paintball! I had so much fun reading about the sport through Grace's eyes. It's not something I've ever played or really thought twice about, but Gurtler brought it to life. The tension, the drama, the action. There were so many great moments, and paintball became a major character in its own right over the course of the book. I had no clue there were professional college teams, and feel I learned so much! The way Gurtler introduced me to a new sport and invited me to care reminds me of the way Miranda Kenneally is always able to do the same thing through her excellent novels. Both authors have a lot of heart and aren't afraid to shy away from tough topics. I'm glad to see so many brave authors in contemporary YA right now!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 18, 2013

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    Wow! What an intense story about friendship, going into How I Lo

    Wow! What an intense story about friendship, going into How I Lost You, I really didn't know what was going to come from it, I had never read a story that's main focus was around a friendship and I worried I would end up not enjoying it. Thank goodness I totally loved it!

    If you are someone that has ever let go of a friendship for the better, then you need to read How I Lost You! I really felt I could connect with Grace, I had a girl in high school that I was insanely close with...we always had tons of fun together when we hung out, lots of inside jokes, and could tell each other anything and everything, she was one of my best friends. But as high school went on, I started to realize how much she enjoyed drama, and lying, and it wasn't just little white lies, it would be long fabricated stories about her being pregnant and having to get an abortion, or her even having cancer (and none of it would be true)...after awhile I just couldn't take it anymore, I started to question everything she would tell me, wondering if it was the truth or not. We had a falling out, and it was for the better. We stayed in contact everyonce and awhile afterwards..but things never went back to how they were, and now we don't talk at all. Sometimes I miss how we were, but then I realize that my life was much less complicated after she was out of it, and for me it was for the better in the end.

    Like I said though, I really felt I could connect with Grace. She tried everything to keep her and Kya's relationship above water, she let Kya get away with ALOT of wrong doings, and tried to forgive her and move on. Grace was just an all around amazing friend to Kya, I felt so bad for Grace being treated the way she was by Kya, Kya knew Grace would forgive anything she did, and she took advantage of it. When Grace eventually stands up for herself I just wanted to jump up and down with excitement for her. Overall Grace was just really an astounding character, you really see her grow in How I Lost You, and she is a character I think anyone that has ever felt like a doormat to someone, could relate too.

    While I didn't like Kya, I still felt sorry for her, she goes through something, that I think is one of every girls worst nightmare. I know it's my greatest fear, so I did feel very much sorry for her, I really wished Kya would've overcome what she went through, but I guess if she had, there wouldn't have been a story. Going along with the topic of Kya, one thing I would've like to have seen from How I Lost You was an explanation from her, I know it didn't matter to the story, but in the end I really wanted to know WHY Kya had lied to James and Grace, what did she gain from it?

    There is also a slight romance in How I Lost You, that I really enjoyed. Grace meets a guy named Levi, that is shy and sweet. I think without him there for Grace she wouldn't had been able to stand up to Kya. Levi was an important character in my eyes. The romance in this story isn't a big focus though, and for once I am glad it wasn't This story was about having an amazing friendship with someone, then learning and realizing that not everything can last forever, and that sometimes it ending is the best thing for you.

    I immensely recommend this book if you enjoy contemporary novels, and want something a little different. For anyone that has ever felt like a doormat, or let go of something that you wished you didn't have to. This is a story for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2014

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