Title: It’s Not Me, It’s You
Author: Stephanie Kate Strohm
Published: October 25th 2016 by Point
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Avery Dennis is a high school senior and one of the most popular girls in her class. But a majorly public breakup with the guy she’s been dating causes some disastrous waves. It is right before prom and Avery no longer has the perfect date. She runs the prom committee, how could she not show up with somebody?
Post-breakup, Avery gets to thinking about all of the guys that she has ever dated. How come none of those relationships ever worked out? Could it be her fault? Avery decides to investigate. In history class she’s learning about this method of record-keeping called “oral history” and she has a report due. So Avery decides to go directly to the source. Avery tracks down all of the guys she’s ever dated, and uses that information, along with thoughts from her friends, family, and teachers, to compile a total account of her dating history.
Avery discovers some surprises about herself and the guys she’s spent time with — just in time for prom night!
3.5 stars?? Maybe??
“Here, for the first time ever, is the complete and authoritative oral history of Avery Dennis’s dating life. I present to you, Ms. Segerson, “It’s Not Me, It’s You: An Oral History of Boys.”
– Avery Dennis
Avery, you clearly misunderstood the assignment. Please see me after class.
If this book were a movie, it’d be on Hallmark. Or it’d be one of those Disney Channel originals, where it ends at prom and everyone is having a great time except for that one mean and beautiful popular girl and her not-very-bright and significantly less beautiful henchmen who all spilled punch on their dresses or something. You know the one.
This book isn’t original in plot, it’s very similar to basically every other high school contemporary out there, but the format gave it such a unique twist. I’m not going to lie, this book was extremely predictable and super super cheesy. However, I really enjoyed it. Like, really really. This book is told only through dialogue, or, more specifically, an oral history between Avery, the main character, and the assortment of characters she interviews. Which is such a fun, refreshing idea. There are so many ways for a book to crash and burn when written in epistolary style, but this book worked its way around the negative aspects of it. Avery still has “thoughts” that she doesn’t say out loud in the form of footnotes, and every character’s personality is so distinct and easy to find in the things they say to Avery, so this format didn’t really prove to be a problem at all. It was just fun.
So, basically, the plot goes like this: Avery Dennis has never been single ever since she started school. She’s beautiful, she’s popular, she’s smart, basically she’s everything I want to be. But then, the impossible happens: a guy dumps her a week before prom. So Avery decides to interview literally every single guy she’s dated (which is a lot) to see where she went wrong. Oh, and she swears off guys while this is happening. She’s not dating anymore. She wants to find out who she is when she’s single, which is a pretty great message.
Avery Dennis- I thought she was going to be this annoying, whiny, main character who would complain the entire book. I mean, I certainly would if I was dumped a week before prom. Because…rude. But she’s not. She rises above it and has this thick skin throughout her interview process. She doesn’t grieve over boyfriends’ past, mostly she just kicks herself for going out with them in the first place and moves on.
CHARACTER GROWTH!!- In one of Avery’s interviews, the guy relays how horrible she treated him in middle school and she is totally shocked by it. She comes to realize the affect she has on guys, and tries to right her middle-school wrongs throughout the rest of the book. She never justifies any of her shady actions, but uses them to become a better person by the end of the book. It was just so nice to read about.
The humor??– I was not expecting to laugh out loud while reading this book, but I did. Multiple times. I haven’t laughed out loud while reading a book a loooooong time, probably. (Excluding audiobooks. You can make funny voices in audiobooks, they don’t count) This book is very modern-day and the jokes probably won’t be relevant in a couple years, but they’re hilarious right now. Plus there’s just a ton of witty banter, which I love so much.
The ending, but only like half of the ending- Okay, the ending was adorable. If you’re going to read this book, read the last couple chapters at like 4 a.m. while listening to some cheesy love songs because that’s what I did and it was amazing. I could not stop smiling for like a good 20 minutes. HOWEVER, (spoilers!!!) Avery ends up with this guy Hutch. I love Hutch, I love Avery, I love them together, but it just ruined the message of the book for me. How is Avery supposed to go on this journey of “finding herself” and taking a break from dating if she starts dating again?? She was only single for like a week??? It makes no sense and invalidated a huge part of this book and I was really disappointed. (spoiler over)
The “antagonist”- I mean, come on. The villain of this story was another popular girl, essentially Avery’s rival for Top Popular Girl Status™, who was clearly jealous of Avery. Her character was so flat and exaggerated that I ended up rolling my eyes at her more than hating her. And her “best friend”, who also hated Avery, went to prom with a Minion balloon so….okay. Alright. Sure.
tl;dr– A super cute and fun book that is also pretty predictable, It’s Not Me, It’s You is a book written interview-style, where there is only dialogue. However, it pulled off the format extremely well and the story was never boring to read. The main character is hilarious and #relatable, as are her best friend and her lab partner who help her interview her past boyfriends. 3.5/5 stars.
That’s my review! This book is soooo underrated, it has less than 150 ratings on Goodreads and honestly deserves way more. If you think this book sounds interesting after my review, definitely check it out!! Borrow it from your local library or something! If you read this book or want to read this book or just have comments in general, let me know!!