Book reviews & writing tips from a wannabe YA writer
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Title: It’s Not You, It’s Me
Author: Kerry Cohen Hoffmann
Category: Fiction, Young Adult
Why I Read It: I saw it on the shelf at the library, and the cuteness of the cover lured me into checking it out.
Summary: After 6 months of happiness, Zoe’s boyfriend Henry dumps her so he can focus on his band. But Zoe thinks—no, knows—he’s made a huge mistake, and she sets out to win him back.
Review: Jack Tumor was an impulse pick from the library that paid off. This impulse pick, not so much.
From the very start of the book, the main character was over-the-top psycho, with a capital CRAZY. She just could not function on even the most basic level.
How about an example, lest you think I’m being unfair? In the first chapter, Zoe calls her boyfriend Henry at their normal time of 9 pm. He doesn’t answer. So she calls one of her friends, then another, to discuss what might be going on. Here’s a snippet of her second conversation, with her friend Shannon:
“I know you,” Shannon continues. “You’ve already turned this into Something Meaningful. Nothing’s happened. He didn’t answer his phone, that’s it.”
“But in six months?” Zoe can hear the whine in her voice. “In six months we haven’t missed a nine p.m. phone call.”
“Zoe.” Shannon only uses Zoe’s full name when she means business. “I’m not saying things look good, but you have no proof that things are bad either.”
“Maybe I can get proof,” Zoe says in a measured voice.
“I could go over there, just happen to be walking by.”
“Or I could quickly peek in the windows. I’d only have to see Henry to know what he’s feeling.”
This is on page 4. Her obsession only ramps up from there. Later, she does “just happen to” walk by. And worse.
We’ve all experienced a touch of the crazy in our dating lives. But this is extreme. And the way that it’s presented, I often had the feeling I was supposed to be laughing at Zoe’s ridiculousness. That didn’t exactly help me empathize and connect with her. Zoe is a caricature, not a character.
The mechanics of the writing were fine. I just didn’t care about the main character. The only reason I finished reading it is because I got caught holding a napping toddler without another book to switch to.
Your Turn: Have you ever been burned by an impulse pick?
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