Title: What My Mother Doesn't Know
Author: Sonya Sones
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2001
Happy National Poetry Month! Here's a little something to give you your poetry fix.
What My Mother Doesn't Know is a verse novel, narrated by 14-year-old Sophie. She tells us her story of that particular time in her life; she meets boys and has boyfriends, she has a tumultuous relationship with her mother and an almost nonexistent one with her father, and has two very close best friends.
The poetry is lovely, though at times I didn't see how the free verse helped move the story forward. It worked much of the time, with the line breaks being just perfect, but there were points when it felt like this part of the story had to be told as a poem since the rest was—it filled in information we needed to know, but the free verse seemed unnecessary. Some of the poems had rhyme schemes, which was nice and different to see, and one had a shape to the words. I always like when poets to play with form like that.
Sophie deals with a lot during this half year in her life. She has one boyfriend, meets another (sort of), and then (possibly) another. But it's not like she's boy crazy—it all seems very natural and normal. Plus Sones isn't afraid to talk about things like sexual desire (not sex, at least in this book), which might be why she's been banned so often, even if the situations in the book are pretty tame.
I did enjoy the bits with Sophie and her mother. I got just as angry at her mother as she did, and I wish I could have jumped into the story to help them. But yet, her mother was very human and showed multiple sides that made it impossible for me to hate her. I'm glad we got to see this relationship develop a little.
This was an honest look at the life of a girl blooming into maturity and discovering all the sides of love—the love between a mother and child, between friends, and between a girl and a boy. What My Mother Doesn't Know is a sweet coming-of-age story as well as a quick read.
Disclosure: I got this book (with the pretty new cover) at my local library.