Wednesday, November 30, 2011
What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
Sones, Sonya. What My Mother Doesn't Know. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001.
This book tells the story of Sophie a fourteen year old girl in verse. It is very easy to read and can be read quickly. It begins when she broke up with Lou and is beginning to date Dylan. She has supportive friends, Rachel and Grace to talk to, but she feels her mother really does not listen. Her mother seems to be dealing with her own depression and her struggling marriage. The book touches on the creepy world of cyberspace and religious bigotry. Sophie is also trying to deal with fighting with her mom, and her parents constant fighting. She makes friends with a dorky boy in art class. They both love art and a friendship begins. She struggles with letting her friends know that she is in love with the boy Murphy, who everyone has made fun of in school. He turns out to be Mr. Right.
This story would appeal to young girls. This is poetry written in first person using verse. It reminded me that I was peeking into Sophie's journal. It focuses on the experiences of adolescence. The story touches on your emotions of humor, love, and fear. Every verse is short and easy to read. School Library Journal says it best when they say it is "a fast-paced, page turning romp that gives authentic voice to female youth even when it is painfully truthful." You feel that Sophie is speaking honestly from her heart. Sones uses short lines to create a staccato rhythm. She chooses her words carefully to create an image in your head. For example she is soaking in the tub after ice skating and says she is "watching the steam curl into question marks". This story is "a satisfying, moving novel that will be a winner for both eager and reluctant readers"
There are no illustrations in the book until the last twenty eight pages where there is a black and white drawing of Sophie's favorite painting from the museum. Le Bal `a Bougival (a woman dancing with an unmasked man) is drawn like a flip book at the end. You do not realize that you are reading poetry. I had to smile because this book took me on a journey back to my adolescent years.
Strengths & Weaknesses:
This book is easy to read and a very quick read. This is definitely a strength. It is easy on the eyes and there is not a lot of print on each page. The print will also form shapes to keep the reading interesting. It is a quick read for good readers and easiest for struggling readers. The only weakness is this book lacks a male point of view.
Awards and Reviews:
"Winning" by Entertainment Weekly
"A great choice for reluctant and avid readers alike" by Booklist, starred review
"A fast-paced, page turning romp that gives authentic voice to female youth even when it is painfully truthful." by School Library Journal
"A satisfying, moving novel that will be a winner for both eager and reluctant readers" by Booklist starred review
"Gripping, enjoyable, and memorable" by School Library Journal, starred review.
"A verse experience that will leave readers sighing with recognition and satisfaction" by Kirkus Reviews
"Brilliant" by Kliatt
"The highs and lows of Sophie's life reflect much of the excitement and anguish that mark adolescence." by Children's Literature
Soaring Eagle Book Award 2004
International Reading Association Young Adult's Choice 2003
2001 Booklist Editor's Choice
American Library Association 2002 Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
American Library Association 2002 Best Book for Young Adults