It's Not You, It's Me

( 12 )


Zoe loves Henry. Henry dumps Zoe. Zoe wants Henry back—at any cost. Zoe's two best friends come up with a plan to help Zoe get what she thinks she wants. The plan: make Henry jealous. But the plan takes a surprising turn. . . .

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It's Not You, It's Me

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Zoe loves Henry. Henry dumps Zoe. Zoe wants Henry back—at any cost. Zoe's two best friends come up with a plan to help Zoe get what she thinks she wants. The plan: make Henry jealous. But the plan takes a surprising turn. . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

With doses of humor, Hoffmann (The Good Girl) lightens this story of heartbreak and obsession, which follows the first 31 days of teenage Zoë's breakup with Henry, her musician boyfriend of six months. On day one, Zoë suspects she is about to be dumped, and on day two, her inkling is confirmed. But Zoë vows to "fight to get him back." From sneaking into Henry's house with the excuse of retrieving some fungus cream to upstaging a singing performance by a girl she thinks Henry likes, Zoë's attempts to win back what she's lost are as (mortifyingly) funny as they are futile. Hoffmann has created a well-developed supporting cast: Zoë's mother, who shares some of her daughter's obsessive tendencies; nerdy Sam, who has nursed a crush on Zoë; and Zoë's loyal but concerned buddies, Julia and Shannon, who believe she has "crossed over into psycho" and who help her realize that she, like her ex, needs to move on. Despite offering moments of levity, Hoffmann gives plenty of weight and attention to Zoë's darker feelings-her broad spectrum of emotions and gradual recovery ring true. Ages 12-up. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
Gr 8–11—After 6 months and 218 kisses, high school junior Zoë is blindsided when her boyfriend dumps her—he wants to focus on his band, he says, and not have a girlfriend right now. Obviously he's made a big mistake, and Zoë sets out to prove it to him. Her best friends discourage her efforts to win him back (which include stuffing her poetry through his bedroom window, snooping through his email, and flirting with his friends) and tell her she's acting crazy, but she can't help herself. She has been completely wrapped up in Henry since they started dating, to the exclusion of her own friends and activities, and now that he's extricated himself from her life, she has trouble coping with this loss of identity. It's a common story and realistically told. Zoë is believably self-centered, but her friends' lives center on her, too, offering advice and encouragement (and, in the case of one male friend, offering himself as "excellent boyfriend material"). The rushed conclusion shows hope for Zoë as she makes efforts to find the self she jettisoned for Henry. Girls will relate to the teen's heartbreak and healing, though her self-pity and manipulations may irritate more than amuse.—Brandy Danner, Wilmington Memorial Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Girl meets boy, girl subsumes self for boy, boy dumps girl, and (the twist) girl goes off the deep end (for exactly one month) attempting to win boy back. Hoffmann's latest takes a close, overearnest look at the self-absorption of the newly dumped. Present-tense, third-person narration combined with short sentences is a gutsy move. However, the abundance of passive verbs distances Zoe's pain. While Zoe's antics and incessant obsession are occasionally amusing (befriending the new love interest, kissing the boy's best friend), mostly she comes off as sad and a bit insane (an obsessive personality is mentioned casually). Her thinly sketched best friends and the boy who loves Zoe from afar try to rein her in, but her love for Henry leads her to growing heights of idiocy, detailed day by day, until the inevitable realization that one never wins the boy by losing oneself. Quick, familiar, even appealing territory for many, but in the end Zoe's cringeworthy behavior might elicit more disgust than sympathy. (Fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375845994
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/11/2011
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,346,720
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

KERRY COHEN HOFFMANN's young adult novels include The Good Girl and Easy (Simon & Schuster), an ALA-YALSA Quick Pick and finalist for the Oregon Book Award.

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Read an Excerpt

Day 1

Three weeks ago, Henry held Zoë's face between his hands and kissed her for the 199th time. Zoë had been keeping track. She couldn't help it. Each kiss was like a tiny revelation, an aha moment. Each kiss sent electricity down her body, snaking its way around her legs until it reached her feet. Aha. This kiss, though, this kiss was different. This was the kiss Henry gave her after she told him she loved him. It had begun to rain, but they stayed outside her house near the laurel bushes after one of the open-mike gigs Henry and his band played every other week. She had watched him play his guitar, his mouth moving involuntarily, his eyes closed, and she'd known it was true. She had fallen in love. This kiss was about love. She wrapped her arms around his neck and stood on her tiptoes, meeting the softness of his lips. He put his hands around her waist and lifted her off the ground, just like in the movies, just like Zoë always figured love would be. And here it was, big, soft, rainy, and all hers.

But now Zoë knows it's all over. She knows because when she called Henry at their normal time of 9 p.m., his voice mail answered. Zoë hung up, a thick feeling in her throat that hasn't gone away. She's got ten hours. Ten long hours to live through before she can leave for school and find out what's really going on.

She calls Julia and explains the situation.

"Maybe he's sick," Julia says. Zoë's aware that her right leg is bouncing a hundred miles a minute. She presses a hand against it to stop it.

"He's not sick." She doesn't know why she called Julia first. She opens her computer and checks for e-mails or IMs, but the screen is eerily empty. She opens Henry's MySpace page, and his picture, the one where he's playing guitar, pops up. She hates this picture because his head is down and his hair is in his eyes. You can barely see him. But there's no activity. She clicks the page closed.

"Maybe he was taking a shower."

"He wasn't taking a shower either, Jules."

"I don't know what you want me to say," Julia says, obviously annoyed that Zoë's annoyed. "I'm trying to come up with explanations."

"I know," Zoë tells her. "I'm sorry." She stands and starts pacing her room, seeing the usual stuff: shoes arranged neatly by her made bed, and books stacked on her desk, waiting to be cracked for homework. "I'm freaked out."

"I can tell."

"Maybe I should call Shannon."

"You haven't called the Guru yet?" This is what they call Shannon, the Wise One concerning all matters of the heart. "Hang up this phone, fool. You called the wrong friend."

Zoë laughs. At least Julia has made her laugh. "Thanks, Jules."

She dials Shannon.

"Listen to me, Z," Shannon says once Zoë fills her in, "I want you to sit down and take a few deep breaths."

"Okay, okay," Zoë says.

"Are you doing it?"

Zoë rolls her eyes and sits heavily on the bed. She takes the breaths.

"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?" Zoë can hear the whine in her voice. "In six months we haven't missed a nine p.m. phone call."

"Zoë." Shannon only uses Zoë'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," Zoë 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."

Zoë hears Shannon sigh.

"Shannon." That whine is back in her voice. She tries to tame it. "That's how well I know him. I love him. As of three weeks ago I'm officially in love."

Shannon is silent. Then she says softly, "I'm going to tell you this only once, so you need to listen." When Zoë doesn't respond, she says, "Are you listening to me?"


"Do not leave your house. Do not call him. Do not call anyone else. Your mission for this evening is to do your homework and go to bed like any other night. Understand?"

"I can't call him again?"

"Z, if you call him again you're going to be very sorry."

"Even to remind him I love him?"

"Especially for that."

"So I have to just sit here?"

"And do your homework."

Panic rises into Zoë's chest. "I can't stop thinking about this. I need to know if he still wants to be with me."

"No," Shannon says. "You don't. You need to continue as though it never happened."

Zoë slumps forward. "I don't know how."

"You'll figure it out," Shannon says. "Focus on homework."

Zoë groans and looks up at her books. "I don't know how to block it out," she says again.

"I have faith."

Zoë stares at the books a moment longer, clutching the phone to her ear.

"This will be good for you, Z. You need to learn how to let go. Letting go is not one of your strengths."

"I'm well aware of that."

"I love you," Shannon says. "If you have to, call me again."

When they hang up, Zoë doesn't move. She can hear her heart thudding in her chest, along with the faint buzz of her computer's fan. Her books loom malevolently on the desk. In the silence she hears her mom and dad in the kitchen. She gets up and steps out into the hallway. Their voices are gentle; she can't make out the words. It's always the same thing, though, always love and kisses.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by LadyJay for

    Zoe Gill has been dating Henry for six months. SIX MONTHS!!! In teenage years, that is a lifetime! She has counted every single kiss; every single moment they have been together.

    Zoe believed that their bond would last forever. But now, something has gone horribly awry. Henry doesn't answer his phone at the predetermined time of 9:00pm. Zoe begins to analyze Henry's behavior. He has been acting strangely.....

    Zoe frantically enlists the help of her friends, Julia and Shannon, to identify this peculiar behavior. Like true friends, they tell her not to worry, and that everything will be fine at school the next day.

    Inevitably, it's not fine. These were the first signs of a major teenage break-up. Zoe is desperate to discover what she did wrong, and ultimately, how to win back Henry's heart. Should she make him jealous? What if she ignores him?

    Zoe is willing to go to any lengths to get Henry back, but is he really worth it?

    Kerry Cohen Hoffmann has written a story of teenage love and loss that takes place over the course of a month. The reader is able to watch what happens to Zoe after the demise of her relationship with Henry. She suffers unbelievable lows, but eventually discovers that she must begin to love herself before anyone else will. Any girl who has had their heart broken will identify with Zoe's plight.

    We've all been there.........done that.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    It was a pretty quick read, fairly interesting. I felt for the main character, I actually cringed and felt embarrassed for her. All in all it wasnt that bad a story. Not saying it was amazing either.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2011


    I liked the book a lot even though the chick was kind of a stalker, haha ;)

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2011


    The overall outline of the book was okay. But the character, Zoe, was WAY too clingy, and she was acting crazy. Psycho crazy. And the storyline was kind of short, too. I didn't like it as much as I thought would. The "about the book" thing was kind of misleading.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 19, 2011

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    Posted October 9, 2011

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