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It Wasn't Me

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,076 ratings  ·  254 reviews
The Breakfast Club meets middle school mystery in this story of six very different seventh graders forced together in the aftermath of a vandalism incident.

When Theo’s photographs are vandalized and trashed beyond all recognition, there are five kids at the scene: The Nerd, the Princess, the Jock, the Weirdo, and the Screw-Up.
All anyone will say is “It wasn’t me.”
Theo does
Published November 13th 2018 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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Dana Levy Hey there! Author Dana here, and I will just say that my book IT WASN'T ME is intended for younger reader's than Karen's fabulous book. IT WASN'T ME i…moreHey there! Author Dana here, and I will just say that my book IT WASN'T ME is intended for younger reader's than Karen's fabulous book. IT WASN'T ME is about a group of seventh graders, and is considered a Middle Grade novel, not Young Adult (so for 9-14-year-olds, rather than older teens). Both of our books -- and many others -- give a nod to the classic teen movie from the 80s, The Breakfast Club, but other than that they are not connected.
As for the covers...both Karen and I are published by the same publisher, Delacorte Press, and I think they liked her cover so much they took inspiration for my book! (Authors don't get to design or choose their covers, so it was a surprise to me when I first saw it).
Anyway, hope that answers the question. Happy reading!
Dana Levy Hey Callie! This book was a pretty quick one to write. (Not all books are...I have one coming out in 2020 that took over five years!) But it took me t…moreHey Callie! This book was a pretty quick one to write. (Not all books are...I have one coming out in 2020 that took over five years!) But it took me two or three months to write the first draft of It Wasn't Me. The first draft is only the beginning, though. Once I've finished a first draft it goes through many rounds of revision, first by myself, then with my editor. So that's another six months or so! Then of course, the process of turning it into a book (design, copy-editing, production, etc.,) takes longer again. In some ways, writing the story is the quickest part. Hope this answers your question.
Read on!

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DISCLAIMER: I received a digital review copy of IT WASN’T ME via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

4.5 Stars


As mentioned in my RECKLESS CLUB review (, I love THE BREAKFAST CLUB, so when I heard about this book, I instantly requested it. And once I got the acceptance email, I was super excited and immediately started reading it.

Let me tell you, my friend, that I flippin’ loved it.

Like THE BREAKFAST CLUB, you have the classic Princ
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Seriously, this showed up in the mail at work, I grabbed it, started it, finished it. All in the same day.

I won't say too much this far from pub date, but this is another win by Levy who, as usual, handles difficult issues with humor, charm, characters who are relateable and easy to become attached to (as well as coming off as full fleshed out), and a deft touch in general. This is definitely the "heaviest" of her books, facing issues of bullying, family difficulties, a
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fan's of Breakfast Club are going to enjoy this book. Steals quite a bit from the movie, but it's ok, I can handle that nod to a great film. I think middle schoolers through adult fans are going to enjoy this little mystery story Dana Levy nailed it!

I received a Kindle ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was super excited to read this, as was my twelve-year-old, who has loved all of this author's previous books. It's a very different sort of story - school-based, rather than family-based - from her other books, but with the same humor, heart, and voice. The pitch of "Breakfast Club for MG" is DEAD-ON, so perfect, it made me want to go back and watch The Breakfast Club again. And in addition to the humor and wonderful characters, it brings up a lot of really important tough questions about the ...more
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I expected this to be much more of a mystery. There's a mystery element, but it's really a group therapy book. But an interesting twist on that (restorative justice circle) and the characters are fun (I love Alice!).
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Note: I read this as a free e-ARC from Netgalley. The description of this book is Breakfast Club middle school mystery and that is right on the mark. Six students are brought together during a school break to hopefully find out who has vandalized one of the student's (Theo) art work. Each of the other five affirms each day they were not involved, but all five admit to being in the area. They participate in an activity called a "justice circle." During the week, each of them realize something piv ...more
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-books
It Wasn't Me by Dana Alison Levy will draw readers in with the nod to The Breakfast Club and keep them interested with the modern take on dealing with school labels. Like Theo I struggled wanting to know and not know what really happened to his vandalized artwork. Great book that will help readers to "Be kind, for all of us are fighting unseen battles."
Leonard Kim
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Listened to audiobook. I am not sure I should have rated this lower than Harbor Me, since honestly I think I may have found it more engaging. I do think both books demonstrate the pitfalls of the Breakfast Club conceit and the artificial limits it places on the characters and plot (though maybe John David Anderson could take a crack at it.)
Ms. Yingling
Nov 02, 2018 rated it liked it
E ARC from Netgalley
I generally like Levy's work, but I don't know that my students will really get the heavy Breakfast Club references. Also, I couldn't believe that a guidance counselor would be allowed (or want to!) have a group of students in during spring break for a week long justice circle, so it was hard for me to get invested in the concept. I can see this doing well in many libraries, but I think I will pass on purchase for mine.
Look: basing each of your characters off of a stereotype doesn't make them a good or interesting character.

This was book was just a lot of mehhhhhh. Maybe I would appreciate it more if I'd ever seen The Breakfast Club. The only reason I finished it was because it was an audiobook and I didn't have my next audiobook yet.
Amaya Cooper
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A different twist to the breakfast club. Did not expect the ending, loved it!
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid MS book that has a Breakfast Club vibe. I liked how i was wrong who vandalized the artwork and how you really got to know each character. Loved how the POV of the main character (a boy!) didn’t overtake the secondary characters stories or character development.
Alexa Hamilton
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tween, ebook
Still featuring one of the Fletcher boys—Jax—but told by Theo, whose photos have been vandalized multiple times. One of the teachers at the school decides to do justice circle over spring break to get to the bottom of it.

It starts slow, as we have to fully get into the story from six different points of view. Levy does a wonderful job of giving each of these characters a full story. That is the point, that they all learn that even if on the surface you are different, everyone can find something
Destinee Sutton
Not a quick read for me, but I think the ending was worth it. Here are some takeaways:

1. I think this succeeds in its attempt to reinterpret themes from The Breakfast Club for a younger audience. The point is to see past the labels we put on people. To know that everyone is fighting unseen battles. Kids from different cliques can and should get to know each other better.

2. I don't know much about restorative justice, so I can't speak to how well it was portrayed in the book. What I can say is
Kristin Crouch
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Dana Alison Levy for providing an ARC to collabookation for review.
It Wasn't Me is a Breakfast Club WhoDunIt? And it's amazing.
Theo was asked and reluctantly agreed to hang some of his photography in the middle school’s art gallery. Soon after it is hung, it gets cruelly vandalized. Theo may have been able to deal with that, he knows the people he goes to school with, after all. Did he expect any different? But the following day, someone ruins a different piece of work he's set up.
Julie Suzanne
Well, I didn't enjoy this because I'm an adult, but I think it may be enjoyed for a short time by my 6-7th graders. I think it may be even more appreciated by kids in Grades 4-5. At first, it reminded me of The Family Fletcher, and Boom! There was a Fletcher character, and I laughed and realized for the first time that this was the author of that book, too! Nice cameo!

The good:
-excellent, feel-good message (we are all more than we appear)
-if students read this and the author's note, they'll lear
Lorie Barber
I am a huge fan of The Breakfast Club. My sister and I can recite the entire movie. Just ask my teenager: when I introduced it to her for the first time (a rite of passage, obviously) I ruined it by saying the lines with the characters. So imagine my UTTER EXCITEMENT to see a middle grade book paying homage to the Hughes classic. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, and am grateful to the author and publisher for the ARC.

I read It Wasn’t Me in a day, loving the mystery parts of it, as well as
Jenni Frencham
Aug 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Levy, Dana Alison. It Wasn't Me. Delacorte Press, 2018.

Theo's photography project is vandalized, and no one saw anything. There are five students who were in the vicinity at the time, and they all claim they didn't do it. During a week of school break, the five students and Theo participate in a "justice circle" at school to discover who ruined Theo's work and why; during this time they learn more about each other than they do about the incident.

This book has been touted as a remake of The Break
Katie Reilley
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Think The Breakfast Club meets middle school.

Theo’s self-portrait artwork has been vandalized, and he (along with 5 suspects) have to meet daily over winter break to talk about what happened.

Good book for MG readers as it addresses the assumptions and judgements they so often make and fall victim to at this age. Good information about Restorative Justice, too!
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This had me hooked from the start! A teacher holds daily sessions with a group of middle schoolers in order to implement "restorative justice" in hopes that one of them will confess to a bullying incident and that they'll all be able to put this behind them. This would make a good follow-up suggestion for students who like Jackie Woodson's Harbor Me.
Lisa Lewis
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book is everything. After Theo’s artwork is ruined at school, a counselor decides to use Restorative Justice. I loved how The Breakfast Club helped to inspire this novel. If you teach middle school, this book is a must.
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review forthcoming in School Library Journal!
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, 2014, children
Please see my review at under C. Wong. Thank you.
Dilip Chauhan
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
When i started this book i had ZERO EXPECTATIONS . but what a book it was!!!
Solid 4 Star rating.
This book!! every parents should read it and ask the kids to read it. It's a simple but eyeopening book. which pinpoint's the Bullying, be it at school or at home or at anywhere.
So the story is Theo in who's point of view story has been told, becomes victim of school bullying, there are five kids at the scene: The Nerd, the Princess, the Jock, the Weirdo, and the Screw-Up. and all the 5 said same thin
Anyone who has enjoyed the classic The Breakfast Club or One of Us Is Lying, both for an older audience, will find this middle grade novel worth a read while comparing it to those other two titles. In this particular book, Shipton Middle School has been rocked by a couple of senseless acts of vandalism when one of its students' photography exhibit is destroyed. There are five students who are accused of the act simply because they were in the area, and now, during the school's break, they are sp ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ms-appropriate
It was like reading the Breakfast Club if it were a book instead of a movie. The author doesn't hide the comparison (in her author's note at the end), and I guess certain ideas are timeless. I have long been interested in the idea of restorative justice, so I enjoyed seeing how the process changed the minds of all the characters.
Two criticisms I have are that the voices just didn't sound like middle schoolers. I listened to it, but I'm not talking about the narrators' voices. I mean, what the ch
Kelsie Cortez
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Took me 3 hours and 07 minutes to complete this read. And yes, I’m still sitting in the same chair. But at least I changed my pants. I also beat my time for reading this book because of a website I’ve been using for a little over a year now. It’s called “” and it’s amazing! The website told me it’d take me 4 hours and 01 minute to read IT WASN’T ME but I beat that! Don’t you love beating yourself at things?
This is one of those books that I loved and that I would buy for my
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars, 5/6th&up
Such a fun (and topical) remake of Breakfast Club!
Theo's school photography display has been destroyed in an attack that feels quite personal, and no one is admitting to anything. In order to try and discover what happened and why, a teacher gathers Theo and five student suspects together for a week long justice circle meant to reveal the truth and heal the underlying damage that caused & resulted from the incident. Yeah...Theo and the others aren't buying it either- but befo
Joy Kirr
I almost gave up at page 70, but I'm glad I stuck it out. It finally kept my attention around page 90 or so, and now I see why it was chosen as one of our summer reading choices. I liked learning about each character, and I really liked finding out who ruined Theo's photographs. I'm glad there was a good teacher to help cancel out the negativity of the "evil" teacher/administrator, as well.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
It Wasn't Me reminded me of the high school thriller, "One of Us is Lying," and Breakfast Club set in a middle school with no death...just bullying and no one fessing up to the vandalism of the main character's photography. Quick mystery read with a few red herrings thrown in so the reader is kept guessing to the very end!
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Dana Alison Levy was raised by pirates but escaped at a young age and went on to earn a degree in aeronautics and puppetry. Actually, that’s not true—she just likes to make things up. That’s why she always wanted to write books. She was born and raised in New England and studied English literature before going to graduate school for business. While there is value in all learning, had she known she ...more

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“It should be noted that even when you know something is a bad idea, even when you think you're expecting the worst, even when you're sure you're being realistic about the risks, it still hurts like whoa when the slap comes" -Theo” 1 likes
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