Sones, Sonya. 2001. What My Mother Doesn't Know. New York: Simon Pulse. ISBN 9780689855535
2. PLOT SUMMARY
What My Mother Doesn't Know is a novel in verse told from the perspective of 15 year old Sophie. Sophie is a typical boy crazy teenage girl. Sones writes as if Sophie is having a conversation with the reader and presents the emotional rollercoaster of adolescence in a way that is easily read and comprehended. Sophie struggles with dating, friends, and her parents constant fighting until she finally finds herself drawn to the school social outcast.
3. CRITICAL ANALYSIS
Sones writing is simple and easy to understand. Her honest and direct assessment of the confusion of adolescence is an emotional journey from start to finish. Sophie is a likable and well developed character that struggles with understanding the difference between love and lust. The plot of this free verse novel progresses through a series of short poems which show how a teenage girls mind works.
Sones tackles topics of friendship and family with the same ease as those of young love. The presented group dynamic between Sophie and her two best friends shows the struggle for acceptance that peer pressure puts on young people.
The language selection of the novel helps to support the narrative in that it sounds and feels like the words are being spoken by a 15 year old girl. Further, Sones uses emotion to connect the reader to the work. Throughout, the verse the reader is presented with anger, shame, heartache, love, lust, happiness, surprise and confusion.
This book is a wonderful choice when discussing any number of topics including love, lust, peer pressure, family dynamics, friendship, and perspective.
4. REVIEW EXCERPT(s)
Winner of the Iowa Teen Book Award (2005–2006)
Michigan Thumbs Up Award Honor Book (2002)
Chosen an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults (2002)
Chosen an American Library Association Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (2002)
Named a Booklist Editor's Choice (2001)
Named a Texas Lone Star State Reading List Choice (2003–2004)
*Have students write from their perspective about a week in their life.
*Have students write in free verse
*Research Sonya Sones
*Have the class each create a free verse poem on the same topic to explore perspective.
*Other books in free verse:
Sones, Sonya. What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know. ISBN 978-0689876028
Chaltas, Thalia. Becuase I am Furniture. ISBN 0670062987