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How I Lost You
Cover of How I Lost You
How I Lost You
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"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...
"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...
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  • "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

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    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...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 13, 2013
    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.

  • Kirkus

    April 15, 2013
    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)

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    July 1, 2013

    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

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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