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Since You Left Me Hardcover – August 28, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up-Sanskrit has a few problems. He's got a self-absorbed hippie mom and an absentee dad. He goes to a Jewish school and doesn't believe in God. He has a crush on a girl who hasn't talked to him since second grade. And his former best and only friend is now a "super Jew." When Sanskrit's mom doesn't show up for parent-teacher conferences, he tells a lie that ends up snowballing into a very big one. His mom has fallen in love with a Buddhist guru and is talking about leaving Sanskrit and his sister, Sweet Caroline, to move to India with him. As Sanskrit tries to deal with his lie and prevent his mom from leaving, he learns about love and responsibility, and even makes his peace with God. This novel is well written and has easy-to-like (or hate) characters, but its appeal is likely to be limited to fairly observant Jewish teens, who will understand the references. Other readers won't quite get the book.-Melissa Stock, Arapahoe Library District, Englewood, COα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


" isn't the plotline that makes Allen Zadoff's Since You Left Me special: it's Sanskrit's snarkily hilarious that you'll laugh through all of the painful moments."
--Kirkus Reviews
"Not many YA books dare to tackle the issues of faith and religion, but Since You Left Me is a rare gift...a story that's hilarious and hopeful--and one you should definitely add to your reading list."
--Pick of the Week, 60SecondRecap
"Zadoff tells the story of California's new Jewish family...a humorous and introspective read for any age."
 --The Jewish Daily Forward 

"Oh, The Places You'll Go!"
See more classic Dr. Seuss selections.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 520L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA (August 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160684296X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606842966
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,066,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Allen Zadoff is the author of the thriller series THE UNKNOWN ASSASSIN (I AM THE WEAPON #1, I AM THE MISSION #2, I AM THE TRAITOR #3) which debuted to starred reviews and was a YALSA Top Ten Pick for Reluctant Readers and winner of the 2015 Kentucky Bluegrass Award. It has been translated into over a dozen languages and has been optioned by Sony Pictures. A former stage director, Zadoff is a graduate of Cornell University, the Harvard University Institute for Advanced Theater Training, and the Warner Bros. Writers Workshop. His novel Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have received the Sid Fleishman Humor Award and was a YALSA Popular Paperback for Young Adults.

Visit Allen on the web at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey E. Sanzel on September 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Allen Zadoff's SINCE YOU LEFT ME (his fourth book and third novel) is an extraordinary look at one boy's struggle with family, religion, and identity. With enormous depth and sensitivity, Zadoff explores a brief chapter in the life of Sanskrit Aaron Zuckerman (yes, you read that right) as he faces some very difficult decisions and, even more importantly, their consequences. If it sounds heavy, it is anything but. Zadoff has found Zuckerman's voice and it is full of wry and often hilarious commentary--Sanskrit is a 2st century Jewish Holden Caulfield. Zadoff finds humor and humanity in this wonderful, wonderful novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pop Bop TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
First off, please understand that you don't need to be a Torah scholar or a student of Talmudic law to fully enjoy this book. There will not be a quiz about Maimonides at the end. You didn't have to be an Evangelical Christian to get the point of "Rapture Practice", and I'm pretty sure that while Bing Crosby was a Roman Catholic, that didn't figure heavily when he picked up the Academy Award for "Going My Way".
There is a lot of Jewish culture and religion in this book, but that's not the point. There's also a lot of Los Angeles in the book, and that's not the point either.

There is a Mother, a Father, a best friend, a girl, life, school, a community, and a very perplexed teen, and that, actually, is the point.

In a review of his book that Allen Zadoff posted elsewhere, he observed that "[This novel] ...encompasses a lot of my experience living in my adopted city of L.A., my complicated relationship with Judaism growing up, and my run-ins with the diverse and occasionally exotic spirituality that is a part of life in this city. " Now, he could have addressed these issues as an adult in an adult oriented book. Maybe that would have been interesting, maybe not. What Zadoff did do was create a brilliantly precocious, observant, funny, confused and endearing young character who is the perfect hero/fool for wrestling with those issues.

This is one of those happy books that appeals to a wide age range. A younger reader can identify with the hero, sympathize with his plight, and enjoy the sometimes rollicking humor. At a certain level young Sanskrit speaks directly to the concerns of younger readers, (Jewish or not).
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Format: Hardcover
After reading Zadoff's previous works Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have (which apparently I did not review) and My Life, The Theater, and Other Tragedies, I requested this expecting another great contemporary read from the male perspective. And I would say that I found a sensitive and endearing male voice in the person of Sanskrit Aaron Zuckerman (yes that is his first name as bestowed upon him by his yoga-obsessed mother).

Sanskrit's life isn't going so well. As evidenced by the title, he feels pretty abandoned. His parents are divorced with his mother deeply enmeshed in her yoga studio and his dad barely managing to parent on the weekends. His younger sister Sweet Caroline (yes, that is her full name, like the song) is kind of annoying, as younger sisters are and she seems to be developing her own life away from the family. Sanskrit's crush is forever out of reach. And his former best friend has discovered God after a trip to Israel. His now-deceased grandfather left him an inheritance that can only be spent on school where he must receive a Jewish education despite his own lack of faith.

But the book opens at the parent conference for his orthodox Jewish private school, his flaky mother doesn't show. Since his stubborn behavior already has him on the trouble-list, he blurts out a lie, just a little lie to buy him some time. Unfortunately that little lie has big consequences; some people start to draw nearer but what will they do when the truth is discovered?

Like I said above, I really liked Sanskrit whose voice is compelling and kept me turning the pages even though I knew some bad things would happen as his lies are found out. Because once you tell one lie, you usually end up telling more to cover your tracks.
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Format: Hardcover
After his parents' divorce, Sanskrit Zuckerman lives with his ditzy mother who seems to put more time and consideration into her yoga center and her new boyfriend, a spiritual guru. Sanskrit's best friend had a religious awakening, which Sanskrit doesn't understand, and he pines for the girl from his past whom he still loves. Sanskrit is the grandson of a deceased Holocaust survivor. His grandfather left him money, but only on the condition that it's used for a Jewish education. This does not sit well with Sanskrit, because he doesn't want to be shaped by his grandfather's ideals.

All these conflicts are set off or revealed after Sanskrit's mother doesn't show up at a parent-teacher conference at his Jewish academy, thanks to her forgetfulness and irresponsibility. He lies and says that his mother was in a horrific car accident. This puts Sanskrit in the limelight of an outpouring of care and support from his school, meanwhile he's under pressure to keep the lie concealed. While outwardly it looks like his mother is out of his life because she's in the hospital, in reality she is becoming more distant because she's falling for the guru who's pulling her away from Sanskrit and his sister. It's hard for Sanskrit to keep his family together when it's disjointed to begin with.

The writing is light and humorous, while it also deals with serious family and religious matters. There were also many surprises--just when I thought I had a character or situation figured out. I haven't read Zadoff before, but after reading and enjoying SINCE YOU LEFT ME I'd like to read his previous books. I received the galley from NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher.
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