Whatever Doesn’t Kill You

WhateverDoesn'tKillYouWhatever Doesn’t Kill You by Elizabeth Wennick
Published: 1-1-13 by Orca Book Publishers
Get the book: Amazon, The Book Depository

Jenna Cooper was only a few days old when her father was murdered and her family was shattered. Now fifteen, she daydreams of a picture-perfect sitcom family as she struggles with the gritty realities of her life. When Jenna finds out that Travis Bingham, the man who shot her father, has been released from prison, she becomes obsessed with tracking him down and confronting him. But her search reveals that there may be more to her father’s murder than she has been led to believe–and will her relationships with her family and friends survive her obsession?


Design + Image – Teresa Bubela       Rating – 4/5

I really like the simple 2-color design of this cover. The needles forming the roof of the house is a simple and effective design, plus Jenna loves sewing in the book. Jenna really wishes that she had the average family life, so the house is appropriate for the story. I also like the stacked font of the title and the slight asymmetry.


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Whatever Doesn’t Kill You is a story about Jenna’s curiosity regarding the motivation of the guy who killed her father. Jenna’s family life is lonely and she can’t help wondering what her family and life would’ve been like if her dad hadn’t been murdered. She wants to know what happened, so she pursues the killer, only to learn what she never imagined. This is a unique story that I really enjoyed reading. I didn’t see the truth coming at all, and that was great.

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  • Travis – I love the fact that when Travis gets out of jail, he gets his life together. He has a good job and he’s reluctant to even speak to Jenna when she tells him who she is. I just appreciate that Travis’ character wasn’t just a stereotype of someone who has been in jail, because he easily could have been written that way.
  • Jenna – I like how determined Jenna is to find the truth. She’s on a personal mission and won’t stop until she’s satisfied. Her family won’t tell her anything and her friends aren’t exactly helpful, so she does it on her own. Jenna is also responsible – taking care of a group of young kids every day after school and not complaining about it when their parents are late paying her. Despite growing up feeling like she missed out on a family, Jenna is doing alright in life.
  • twists – The mystery of why Travis killed Jenna’s father is really good. There’s no simple answer and Jenna isn’t looking for simple – just an answer. Since the book tells you early on who the killer is, I wasn’t expecting any twists. But once Jenna starts finding info about Travis and more about her family, things change.

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  • Jenna’s friends – When Travis gets out of prison, Jenna’s friends start immediately encouraging her to go confront him. It struck me as rash and insensitive. None of her friends seemed to consider that Jenna has a lifetime of feelings about her father’s killer. Then, once she does track Travis down, her friends accuse her of being obsessed with him, and stop talking to her. Even worse, only one of them is actually pissed at her – one of the others doesn’t talk to her because they’re too unpopular to lose more than one friend. Majority rules. So stupid. They told Jenna to talk to Travis, then got mad when she took their advice.
  • Simon – Jenna’s older brother bothers me because he’s so bland. Simon manages the rundown building the family lives in and doesn’t have any goals. He just cleans up after everyone and has a strange relationship with his sisters. He really doesn’t seem to care about Emily, and he only really talks to Jenna when she does things wrong.

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“You know. People grow in different directions.”

“That’s a load of horse crap.”

“Okay. So apparently I did something to piss one of them off and now none of them are talking to me. So I’m branching out. Making new friends. You know.”        – Jenna + Emily   Loc. 1536


There’s a long silence while I try to process this new information.

The happy sitcom family, the alternative reality I’ve always imagined for myself if only Travis Bingham hadn’t ruined it for me, shatter as surely as if someone has thrown a rock through a TV screen.       – Loc. 1840

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4 Robots

Acquired: library (ebook)


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