It's Not About Me

A YA novel by Michelle Sutton




It's Not About Me (2008)

Annie has it all. She's attractive, graduated with  honors, was accepted at the college of her choice, has supportive parents, good friends, and a steady boyfriend who loves her. One night when an unexpected visitor appears, Annie's safe world is destroyed. As she tries to recover the pieces of her broken life, a war ensues between two brothers who both claim to have her best interests at heart. But who will Annie choose? Or will she decide to turn her life in a different direction?

ISBN-10: 0979748518
ISBN-13: 978-0-9797485-1-6


published by Sheaf House Publishers, LLC



What they're saying about It's Not About Me!



"I couldn't turn the pages fast enough! Gritty and about as real life (unfortunately!) as Christian fiction can get!"

Barb Huff, author of the ON TOUR series and co-author of the upcoming Girlfriend Codes series with Terry K. Squires


"It's NOT about Me is written for young adults, but I couldn't put it down (and I'm long past my YA years!). Through her compelling story, Michelle Sutton confronts some of the toughest issues that Christian teens and twentysomethings face today, and she shows how lives can be transformed through faith, forgiveness, and finding hope in Christ. This is a great book for both young adults and their parents!"

Melanie Dobson, author of Together for Good (Kregel 2006), Going for Broke (RiverOak 2007) and The Black Cloister (Kregel 2008)


It’s Not About Me will make you cry, cheer, and keep reading for more. Michelle Sutton, the Edgy Inspirational Writer herself, brings reality to her writing while remaining true to her beliefs and those of her characters. This is faith, romance and storytelling without the safety valve for readers who want fictional realism with a message.” 

Tosca Lee, author of critically acclaimed Demon: A Memoir and Havah: Story of Eve (NavPress 2008)


"What a page-turner! I started this book at the beginning of a 2-hour flight and was half way through when the plane touched down. Sutton does an excellent job of plotting. Tension and emotion abound and the issues the characters face are all too real. If I had a teen-age daughter, I would make her read this book!"

Siri Mitchell, author of Chateau of Echoes (NavPress), Kissing Adrien, Something Beyond the Sky, The Cubicle Next Door and Moon Over Tokyo (Harvest House) and A Constant Heart (Bethany House 2008)


"Instead of dealing with timely issues like alcoholism, premarital sex and pornography in a preachy, oh-so-tired fashion, Michelle Sutton's It's Not About Me gets to the heart of the matter with a shocking dose of realism and poignant storytelling. From the first paragraph, Sutton weaves together a thoroughly entertaining story that'll keep readers intrigued for the long haul as they get to know Annie, Dan, Tony and Susie—young adults that probably don't look and sound all that different from themselves. Now that's a seriously refreshing turn for Christian fiction."

Christa Ann Banister, author of Around the World in 80 Dates, NavPress 2007, and Blessed are the Meddlers (NavPress 2008)


 "It's Not About Me is a wonderfully entertaining and deliciously suspenseful read that will keep you turning the pages. Sutton doesn't back away from the drama and with all of the twists and turns, It's Not About Me is hard to put down. I cannot wait for the sequel! Bravo!"

Victoria Christopher Murray, Essence best-selling author of multiple titles including The Ex Files and the upcoming YA series The Divine Divas (Simon & Schuster 2008)


 "Michelle Sutton's gritty writing style will very likely go straight to the hearts of teens, addressing what they deal with every day in what is all too often grim reality for our youth. Sutton is no doubt a refreshing and much needed voice in today's YA fiction."

Tina Ann Forkner, Author of Ruby Among Us
Waterbrook Press/Random House (2008)


 "It's Not About Me is a must read for every young adult in today's world, boy or girl. Not only does it explore in depth the intense sexual pressures placed upon today's youth, but also the serious effects of alcoholism and rape. More importantly, it addresses issues of true Faith and Christianity which cut at the core of our beliefs: issues such as what does it really mean to follow Jesus? Does going to church or even being a pastor's son make you a Christian? As you follow the lives and the ardurous love triangle of three young adults, Annie, Tony, and Dan, you'll not only fall in love with them, you'll cry with them, yearn along side them and weep for their heartaches and struggles. Kudos to Michelle Sutton for addressing such timely topics with such finesse."

MaryLu Tyndall
Christy Award Finalist / 2nd place Inspirational Readers Choice Award

The Redemption, The Reliance, The Restitution (2008) and The Falcon and the Sparrow (Barbour 2009)


"Michelle Sutton’s It’s Not About Me tackles many issues: temptation, deception, forgiveness, and trust, to name a few. The story is most strong when its players are weak. Readers will identify with Annie, Dan, Tony, and maybe even Susie, because these characters struggle—as we all do—with very human failings. You can’t read Annie’s story without renewing your appreciation for our powerful and loving God."

Trish Perry, author of Beach Dreams (Harvest House, July 2008) Too Good to Be True (Harvest House, 2007) and The Guy I'm Not Dating, (Harvest House, 2006)


"Michelle Sutton's touching debut novel is truly a page-turner. It's Not About Me is filled with raw emotion and is a story that demonstrates pure love within its pages. It's a must-read for teens who are already saved, but moreso for young adults who are "on the fence" regarding their faith, or who don't know God at all."
Sherri L. Lewis,  best-selling author of My Soul Cries Out and Dance Into Destiny  (Urban Christian 2008) and The List (2009)


"Annie captured my heart on the first page and kept me enthralled to the very end. This edgy, yet surprisingly poignant story travels the inroads of intimate relationships – man to woman, brother to brother, parent to child, friend to friend. But especially satisfying is the author’s delicate handling of the relationship between a searching soul and the loving Savior who alone possesses the power to work all things out for the good. A terrific debut for Michelle Sutton. I can’t wait to read more from this talented author!"

 Virginia Smith, author of  Just As I Am and Sincerely, Mayla (Kregel), and Stuck in the Middle (Revell 2008)


"Finally! In an amoral society that pushes young people to the edge, we have an “edgy” novel that pushes right back! Kudos to Michelle Sutton for her debut novel, It’s Not About Me, which confronts real problems encountered by real youth—sexual pressure, drinking, pornography—and counters them with a message of hope and faith that is so vital for today’s young adults.


This compelling story gives a rare and honest glimpse into the “perfect” life of Annie Meyers, a young woman on the threshold of college and marriage. When her fiancé Tony begins to pressure her sexually, Annie’s faith and confidence begin to teeter, but when tragedy strikes, both crash headlong into a black hole of self-doubt and confusion. Unable to cope with Annie’s disaster, Tony seeks comfort in alcohol, leaving his older brother Dan to provide Annie with the spiritual and emotional support she so desperately needs. Out of the ashes of Annie’s misfortune, rises a love triangle that will have readers turning the pages long into the night. Michelle Sutton has crafted a story of passion, betrayal, hope and redemption that is right on target for the Young Adult market and beyond. Can’t wait for the next one!"

Julie Lessman

“Passion with a Purpose”
Daughters of Boston Series -Revel
A Passion Most Pure – 2008, A Passion Redeemed – 2008, A Passion Denied – (Revell/Baker books February 2009)


"Michelle Sutton’s It’s Not About Me offers readers a wonderful combination of gifts: compelling storytelling, believable and engaging dialog, and perhaps most importantly, a reverent-with-edge examination of the human condition. This is a book mercifully free of easy answers and tidy resolutions. Sutton paints with broad, bright strokes, introducing the reader to characters who are far from perfect, thereby allowing us to connect with them in very human ways. Her flawed heroes and heroines are, like most of us, prone to doubts, selfishness, lusts, and behaviors that range from noble and selfless to petty and idolatrous. And because we can relate so strongly to their day-by-day battles between flesh and spirit, we can rejoice and ache with them, laugh and cry, and ultimately learn that perhaps it’s when life is most messy that God’s grace shines brightest. By allowing her characters to be fully human, Sutton delivers a story that glows with authentic holiness."

James E. Robinson, author of The Flower of Grass (Kregel 2008)


Michelle Sutton’s It’s Not About Me is the bittersweet tale of Annie Myers, a young woman torn between the love of two brothers—and devastated by an assault that leaves her emotionally and physically scarred. Readers will weep with Annie as she struggles to come to a place where she can love herself again . . . and attempts to understand how God could let the attack happen. A heart-wrenching and inspiring read.

Susan Lohrer, Write Words Editing



Book reviews


Annie is beautiful and the dream daughter. Her life is full of love and laughter until she’s nearly killed in a random act of evil. As two young men vie for her love, she must decide what to do with them, her own yearnings, and Jesus.


As I read this book, I connected with Annie in ways I never considered possible. I’m fifty years old and this book is written for mature teens and young adults. What could it hold for a woman my age? I was a teenager who thought she knew Jesus only to discover I didn’t – I knew about Him. I struggled with the same passionate issues Annie does – the kind of push-me pull-you attraction that takes over your life; mind, body, and soul.


It’s easy to grow older and forget the constant tension younger women battle – the one we assume nice Christian girls don’t fight every day they wake up. Surely, if they have Jesus, they won’t give in. Surely.

Really? Can we as the mature adults who love them assume this? If we do aren’t we leaving them stranded on the front lines of the battle alone?


Author Michelle Sutton writes with courage not often found in the Christian fiction market. Her characters say and do things real kids experience. Church kids. Kids who love Jesus with all their hearts. Kids seeking to know Jesus. Kids who just want to love and be loved. The kids you and I love.


Sutton doesn’t make the struggle easy because it’s not. Remember wanting to be kissed, touched, and ultimately loved? To belong to the right guy who was certain you were the woman for him? The desire that was more like a drive…the passion that consumed your thoughts and the thoughts that nearly drove you to distraction?


 The daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and daughter of friends in our lives are feeling those same ancient longings.  This author writes about them without leaving the reader guilt-ridden and without hope. Instead she makes the way clear although never easy.


I applaud Michelle Sutton’s writing talent and her bold declarations of faith. I took to heart her reminder that young women are fighting for their purity every day and some are losing the war waged on them by the media and nonchalant Christians who want to hide from the reality that intimacy is something to be guarded and kept precious…but that’s it’s also one of the hardest promises to keep.


Michelle speaks the truth in love and grace. Her writing is both tasteful and heart-wrenchingly honest.

I want the girls I love to read this book and realize they can be pressured by good boys driven by their own internal urgings. I want those same girls to take another look at their own acts of enticement. And finally, I want those young women to know that hearts surrendered to Jesus are stronger –and so are the bodies connected to them. It’s not so much about more rules to keep kids safe from early sexual encounters as it is about showing them to the One who will empower them to make right decisions.


Michelle Sutton leaves readers impacted. While others call her edgy I found myself cheering her on as my favorite new reality author. She writes about faith, love, and life like it is. I found the story fresh and lacking the usual Christian clichés. My heart gives her an enthusiastic standing ovation for tackling these issues in such a fearless way. I trust this author with the hearts of the young women I love.


This is a power-filled story and I am looking forward to It’s Not About Him the next book in her A Second Glances series.


 Joy DeKok, author of  Rain Dance, coming Sept. '09 (Sheaf House)




I wasn’t sure I wanted to read a book that claimed to “push the envelope” yet in the same breath claimed to be “Christian fiction.” I was disturbed by a dozen possible scenarios playing in my head—scenes of wanton rebellion and teenage angst. Yet, as I picked up Sutton’s book, It’s Not About Me, I steeled myself to remain objective. I determined to reserve judgment until I reached the last page—but to be honest, I formed an opinion long before I reached that point. By the end of chapter three, I had fallen in love with the character, Annie. I cared about her plight, and the turn of events that catapulted her into a life and death commitment with her Creator.


It’s Not About Me takes a hard look at the tough issues facing teens and young adults today. While I did feel that some of the scenes could have been conveyed in a less controversial manner, nothing in the book was gratuitous—included merely for the sake of being edgy—and I was impressed by Sutton’s courage in tackling the “taboo” topics in Christian fiction. The book is well-written, the characters strong and believable. From page one, the underlying message of personal faith and commitment to the Savior was evident. I look forward to seeing more from this budding author.       


Elizabeth Ludwig, author of Where the Truth Lies (Barbour 2008)





As a youth minister and novelist I have long admired the way our Lord used parables to illustrate truth with life-changing results. It’s Not About Me (Sheaf House), by Michelle Sutton, is far more than just a highly entertaining story it is also a modern day parable, illustrating the unwavering faithfulness of Christ-centered, sacrificial love.

Today’s youth are bombarded with images of lust, instant gratification, and a false notion that love is nothing more than a feeling we fall in and out of. I am ecstatic to find a book that I can give to the youth of my church and feel confidant that they will enjoy an unforgettable page-turner while they benefit from the hard lessons learned by the characters. There is also an excellent list of discussion questions at the end of the book that should prove helpful to parents or youth leaders in discussing the important issues that confront the characters in the book.

As a reader, I cannot say enough. The author did a superb job of managing my expectations and then surprising me with the outcome. Every chapter ending left me hanging and kept me reading. I couldn’t put it down. I definitely look forward to seeing more life-changing titles from Michelle Sutton in the future.

David Meigs, Youth Minister/Novelist


Annie Meyers is worried. Her gorgeous boyfriend of four years, Tony Lane, is pushing their commitment to wait for marriage. Her faith is weak and their self control is under increasing pressure. She is driven by her fear of disappointing him and losing his love.

When real fear plunges unexpectedly into her life through tragedy, Tony is unable to deal with the fallout and becomes increasingly erratic. His older brother, Dan, is more than willing to step in to provide comfort and support to the girl he has longed to be with since he left for college years before.

Bitter rivalry plunges the three friends and their families into heartache and confusion. Will they enable God to halt their downward plunge into an abyss of emotional grief and anger?

Michelle Sutton lives up to her tagline of "Edgy Inspirational Author", tackling issues of desire, premarital sex, alcoholism and volatile sibling relationships in her debut novel, It's Not About Me. Once hooked by Michelle's characters, the race is on to get to the last page and discover where Annie, Tony and Dan's choices lead them. Michelle is not shy about detailing the main characters' feelings of desire and their battle against acting on their attraction, making this book more suited to those in their late teens and older. Annie's vacillation between Tony and Dan and their penchant for putting themselves in potentially compromising situations was frustrating but a testament to Michelle's dedication to write authentically. This may make some lovers of traditional Christian romance uncomfortable while generating a devoted audience in others who have been waiting for such "real life" fiction. Adding significance to her tale, Michelle unashamedly deals with Annie's ignorance of her lack of faith, confronting the all to common belief that church attendance and "good" life choices are sufficient for a relationship with God. It's Not About Me sends a strong message about commitment, faithfulness and the true source of beauty and love. Michelle is sure to make a splash with It's Not About Me, releasing in September, 2008 from Sheaf House.

written by Rel of Relz Reviewz


It's Not About Me is a great book. I couldn't hardly stop reading it till it was finished.

Annie thought she had everything going for her, she went to church, she had a loving family, and a boyfriend who loved her. Then something happens and everything changes. Annie starts to learn that it is not always all about me, but that it is really about him.(God)

The characters in this book are great, and the story feels very real. It is hard for me to say a whole lot with out giving to much away, but it is really about Annie struggling with her life after a bad thing happens. It is when you really find out who loves you and who don't, who are your friends and who aren't, and does she really love Christ like she thought she did. It is about how your life can change for the better even after a horrible situation happens as long as you believe in God and let him take over your life.

I loved all the main characters and really hate the bad girl, but even in the end I really felt sorry for her because, she was just a real messed up teenager.

Michelle Sutton did a great job with putting together a story about forgiveness and love.

written by reviewer Stormi Johnson of


Annie Myers had it all, a sweet, handsome boyfriend, loving parents, college just on the horizon. Her Christian life was strong and satisfying. Life was good, even though Tony, her boyfriend and the pastor’s son, seemed obsessed with sex, demanding more than she wanted to give. Then an encounter with a homeless man and a knife changed her life forever. Suddenly Annie has some serious decisions to make, and she’s not sure what to do.


It’s Not About Me is Michelle Sutton’s debut novel, and let me tell you, the woman can write. Her website bills her as an Edgy Inspirational Writer, and the book is a little edgy, touching on serious subjects such as teen sex, alcohol, deception, trust and forgiveness. She doesn’t make the mistake of providing easy predictable answers for the tough questions her characters face, just as there are no easy answers in real life. Her characters are realistic, imperfect, sometimes making wrong choices, but through it all runs a strong message of a merciful God who loves us and is waiting to forgive and welcome a repentant sinner. Strong, powerful, and riveting. This talented writer should go far.


review written by Barbara Warren

posted in Blue Mountain Backroads newsletter





Annie is in love with Tony and hopes to spend the rest of her life with him after going to college. Tony, however, is ready to jump the gun and “act” like they’re married before they tie the knot. Annie has to almost fight Tony – as well as her own hormones – to stay true to her faith. Tony’s older brother, Dan, has an eye on Tony’s and Annie’s relationship and questions whether or not his little brother is worthy of such a beautiful, sweet young lady.


Annie’s life is on track when a tragic attack leaves her clinging for life. Tony is too disturbed to visit Annie, so Dan steps in to fill his brother’s shoes and provide support from Tony’s family. In the process, Dan finds himself completely smitten with Annie. His hopes for her recovery become intermingled with strong romantic feelings. When Annie is finally able to comprehend what happened to her, she is warmed by Dan’s compassion. But hold up? What about Tony?


Tony’s fighting his own demons, including guilt about the circumstances surrounding Annie’s attack. And Dan wonders if he is overstepping his boundaries by falling in love with the girl that his younger brother all but abandoned. 


 Whew! Hang on – Michelle’s book has plenty of drama to keep you turning pages! The fun thing about this book was that while the characters were often confused – trying to balance what’s right with strong physical attractions – the reader can root for any one of the characters all the way through. I felt sorry for Annie because she really didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but she finally learned to listened to her own feelings and be true to what God requires first before making serious decisions. Michelle really captured the voice of a young adult who is coming into her own spiritually and with regard to relationships.

I won’t tell you who gets the girl, but I can say that the man I was voting for didn’t win. Dang! It was fun while it lasted, and I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy lots of twists and turns in a plot. It’s perfect for young adults and the young at heart! The icing on the cake is a powerful message that exemplifies Romans 8:28.


reviewed by Michelle Stimpson, author of Trouble in My Way (Pocket books 2008)



I’ve always loved the song Beauty from Ashes. To me, there is no better way to describe God’s hand in our lives. He loves us so much, and although we sometimes go through horrible circumstances, if we allow him, God can lift us from that horrible, dark place and set us one a new path, filled with blessings. This is the heart of Michelle Sutton’s debut novel It’s Not About Me.


Annie Myers is a prom queen dating the prom king. She has it all. But in the world no one sees, she struggles to stand up against her boyfriend’s pressures for sex and her feelings toward God are apathetic. When a horrible event shatters her world, her boyfriend Tony pulls away. His brother Dan is there for Annie when she needs a friend most, even introducing her to God in a way she never thought was necessary.


As Annie grows closer to Dan, she finds herself in a love triangle that makes her already-stressful life overwhelming. Torn between her feelings for both brothers, Annie learns to rely on God, the one who loves her more than anything.


This book is about life, real people’s struggles, and the truth that can set them free. I highly recommend It’s Not About Me and look forward to the sequel.