Not My Fault

Young Adult - Coming of Age
272 Pages
Reviewed on 07/16/2023
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Author Biography

Raised in a world of visual, literary, and musical arts, S B Frasca knows what it means to have a voice in the silence, an outlet for the angst. A multi-platinum, award-winning songwriter three decades strong, Sabelle admits the most rewarding part of her career has been commiserating with young hearts to shape raw, relatable emotions into empowerment you can sing at the top of your lungs. Not My Fault is her first (but certainly not last) novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Courtnee Turner Hoyle for Readers' Favorite

In Not My Fault, S.B. Frasca tells the story of Hy, an underprivileged sophomore student who sees the unfairness and cruelty in her community. Unlike some of the other students her age, Hy chooses to express her feelings through her art, adopting a “Not My Fault” tag. As she communicates her emotions through her work, from graffiti on a bandshell to a cover piece on hate speech, she begins to transform, morphing her physical appearance to represent her artistic tendencies. A terrible accident, unfortunate death, and a reunion with a past family member threaten her new mental and emotional image, but Hy embraces her unlikely friends and art to cope with her situation.

S.B. Frasca has written a book that covers the emotional highs and lows of every teen, whether their flaws are on the surface or covered by expensive clothes and status. Whether they’ve been the bully or the subject of ridicule, readers will sympathize with Hy and love the descriptions of her art pieces. As her character grows, so does her art and her satisfaction as she reveals it. Even though the artist’s identity is unknown, the community supports Hy’s work and extends their appreciation to others on social media. Despite her notoriety, Hy is humble and reflects noble qualities, even though she could sink to the level of her teenage bullies. Not My Fault is a great selection for young adults and teens who may need encouragement after they’ve been oppressed or for experienced readers who enjoy all-inclusive young adult selections.

Manik Chaturmutha

Not My Fault is a young adult novel by S. B. Frasca. The story is about Hy, a lonely sixteen-year-old and closeted artist who was targeted and bullied in high school. Hy does small 'Not My Fault' artwork around the town whenever injustice happens to someone because of who they are or what they do. Everything is fine until she meets a new girl, Belinda. After their meeting, Hy begins life in a different way with her new friend. She becomes more confident about her decisions. Hy makes other friends, learns the truth about her father, and experiences love and loss. Most importantly, whatever happens, she continues to do what she has always been good at - art. The story's denouement comprises the series of events that unravel the mystery behind her parents' separation, a new perspective on her paternal grandma, and her expression through art, which might also be regarded as vandalism.

I admired the way Hy uses symbolism to express that an act is not always the person's fault and that whatever consequences they face may be unfair. Hy eventually does learn how relationships work and that, after all, even her mother is human. We can relate to her fear of not knowing how to navigate and approach that new variety of feelings when we deal with relationships. I enjoyed Hy's stream of thought that interrupted the storyline (quite often) as it usually involved a funny joke or something that might be offensive if said aloud, but highlighted the truth. The ideas of 'Don't judge a book by its cover' and 'Truth triumphs' have been well aired in the plot. This book features a first-person point of view as the protagonist narrates the story as it unfolds before them. Although the present-tense narrative style may be challenging to follow initially, it becomes engaging once the reader becomes accustomed to it. Not My Fault by S. B. Frasca endorses the old concept of poetic justice to inspire readers with a new zest for life.

Nino Lobiladze

Hy Murphy is determined to support her friend, Mr. Fadikar, who owns the F Mart store. Cruel kids criticize the store's title and even bully Mr. Fadikar for his ethnicity. Hy, a 10th grader in West Glade School, knows from experience how it feels to be a target of bullying. Hy decides to make a mural in Mr. Fadikar's honor. She will write "not my fault" in Hindi on the wall of the bandshell in a nearby park. Hy meets a glamorous girl named Belinda while working on her mural. A private school student, Belinda even has a personal driver. Hy, who doesn't know her dad and whose mom is a nurse, and Belinda, with her overly busy father, become friends. Popular kids in West Glade continue to taunt Hy, who does her best to stay invisible. But when someone attacked her favorite teacher with insulting graffiti, Hy could not stand aside. Thus, "not my fault" becomes something bigger than an art project. Not My Fault by S.B. Frasca is an engaging coming-of-age book for young adult readers.

S.B. Frasca presents Not My Fault as an inner monologue of Hy Murphy. It is a character-driven, captivating story of Hy's self-discovery, personal growth, and everyday challenges. Hy is a brilliant student who loves learning something new and values advice from those older than her, like Mr. Fadikar or, later, his son, Arjun. Also, she is a gifted artist with a unique artistic vision. Mr. Sanchez, her art teacher, encourages Hy "to follow her inspiration." And she goes even further, making her art a weapon to fight a good fight and protect him from harassment. Thus, Hy herself becomes an inspiration to others willing to follow her example. I like Hy's open-mindedness and her deep understanding of justice. She never judges others but tries to understand them, like in the case of her father, who suddenly re-emerges in her already complicated life. Hy is not vain. Belinda offers her a sparkling new world, but Hy stays grounded, cherishing Belinda's friendship and not her money. Also, Frasca gives us an intriguing family mystery regarding Hy's parents and their relationship. Not My Fault has a dynamic plotline with many twists and a satisfying ending. Those readers who are interested in social issues and love art in its many forms would enjoy this fascinating and inspirational story.