Not My Fault by SB Frasca
What’s it About?
A quirky, endearing teen pursues social justice through art.
Remember tenth grade? Or maybe you’re there now. Or headed there soon.
Whether you’re a jock, a nerd or a popular kid, you know the importance of finding your people and your passion — it’s essential to high school survival. Unfortunately, Hy Murphy has yet to find that all-important group of friends, and what’s worse — there’s no shortage of kids looking to pick on Hy, making school feel more like a war zone with all kinds of dangers to be avoided. For now, Hy will just have to settle for the company of an amiable old librarian, a supportive art teacher and the clerk at the local convenience store.
But Hy does have one thing figured out: a passion for art. And maybe that could help with some of the social landmines.
Not My Fault by SB Frasca drops readers into the world of high school social drama with a front-row seat to the ugly truth of bullying through the perspective of Hy Murphy. Hy doesn’t have the right look to fit in with the popular kids, doesn’t have the body of a jock, doesn’t have the money to change any circumstances, and always seems to be the butt of the joke.
High School Outcast Turned Artist
Frasca is able to capture the anxiety and frenzy of artistic inspiration felt by Hy using a casual stream-of-consciousness style of writing and carefully controlled pacing. Even though so many people and even the world itself seem to be against Hy, the fun-loving inner dialog Frasca allows readers to listen in on has them on Hy’s side from the start.
Without much confidence in speaking out, Hy turns to art as a way to make a statement. It starts with a carving in a library table: a Latin translation of “not my fault.” As in not my fault that I’m constantly picked on, not my fault I don’t look like everyone else, or maybe not my fault I don’t have more money. From there inspiration strikes.
Hy paints a mural at the park for the clerk at the local store. Not his fault kids try to take advantage of him at his store because he looks different. And just then, Hy catches a big break, but not with the art — yet. Hy catches a break on the friendship front when a cool and friendly eleventh grader from another school sees Hy’s mural and takes a liking. Before long, Belinda is the friend Hy’s been needing all along.
But Hy’s problems are far from solved. There are still complicated feelings about a boy at school who used to be a bully, money struggles, a bike accident, a few embarrassing hair mishaps, complicated family relationships and, oh yeah — Belinda is pregnant.
Transformative Power of Art
Hy responds to all the ups and downs with art, using it to find a voice and to process emotions with more and more “not my fault” installments. But what happens when the art that’s been helping Hy cope with life results in suspension from school? That first act of “vandalism” has the principal up in arms and having just learned to stand up, Hy’s not backing down. Learning to trust and forgive is Hy’s next big lesson when help arrives from an unlikely source: the father who’s been MIA for Hy’s whole life. Maybe it’s not his fault either.
It’s a modern coming-of-age story that puts the mental stress of being a teenager in perspective and offers creative pursuits as a healthy outlet for not only bearing with the pressure, but also taking steps towards change.
About SB Frasca:
As a multi-platinum, award-winning songwriter, the most rewarding part of Sabelle’s career has been commiserating with young hearts to shape raw, relatable emotions into words that can be sung at the top of your lungs. Sabelle’s songs appear on a multitude of albums, compilations, and Film & TV soundtracks; and she’s won ASCAP/BMI, Dove, Songwriter Hall of Fame, and Parents’ Choice awards. Raised by visual artists, it was understood that art in any form makes life worth living. Her first novel, Not My Fault, is a Hy-five to that! Sabelle now lives in her own head alongside her husband, two tolerant teenagers, and two really needy Labradors. She doesn’t want any part of the ‘mom jeans’ thing.
Publish Date: 6/6/2023
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Author: SB Frasca
Page Count: 272 pages