If I Tell - Janet Gurtler I thought this YA novel was well-paced, well-written, and original. I was reading it late at night, and I meant to go to sleep and polish it off the next day, but instead I stayed up late to finish it. If I Tell is about a girl who finds her mother's boyfriend making out with her best friend, and she's not sure what she should do, especially when it turns out that her mom and the boyfriend are going to have a baby. The main character, Jaz, is biracial (black and white) and has been raised by her white grandmother. She doesn't know many African-American people and she feels alienated from that part of her heritage, and feels ill-equipped to deal with the racial prejudice she faces.

I thought that Jaz was a realistic and likable character. The secondary characters were also very well-rounded (like the lesbian bff who is a competitive swimmer and has a high, squeaky voice.) Even ones that I expected to be straight-forward villains, like the mom's boyfriend, were a complex mixture of good and bad. There were a lot of opportunities for stereotyped characters, and the author deftly avoided them all. I liked Jaz's exploration of her racial identity, and the romance plot. I also really liked the cover, especially after there have been all these books with "whitewashed" covers (where a character of color is depicted as white, or not depicted.) The girl in the stock photo definitely looks as though she could be biracial, has the "natural swimmer's build" as described in the book, and looks suitably contemplative. I have only a couple minor quibbles with this novel. First, I thought some of the racist remarks that characters made to Jaz seemed a bit dated. Not that people wouldn't still say prejudiced things today, but they would say contemporary, up-to-the-minute prejudiced things. Also, the barriers that were keeping Jaz apart from the dreamy boy Jackson seemed a bit contrived, but I guess that's fairly standard for a YA romance. Overall, a fun read. I received If I Tell in a Goodreads giveaway.