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Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  3,983 Ratings  ·  462 Reviews
Continuously in print for nearly two decades, this groundbreaking and profoundly moving story told in verse, from award-winning author Sonya Sones, has been repackaged with a striking new cover and bonus content.

When her beloved older sister is hospitalized after a sudden mental breakdown, Cookie is left behind to cope with a family torn apart by grief, friends who shun he
Paperback, 145 pages
Published July 12th 2016 by HarperTeen (first published October 31st 1999)
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Crank by Ellen HopkinsImpulse by Ellen HopkinsIdentical by Ellen HopkinsBurned by Ellen HopkinsGlass by Ellen Hopkins
Novels in Verse
23rd out of 259 books — 611 voters
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Community Reviews

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Christie Strowman
May 23, 2008 Christie Strowman rated it it was amazing
Stop Pretending is a story of a young girl that suffers from a mental disorder. She grew up as a normal girl in a loving family and had an excellent relationship with her younger sister. Suddenly, she starts hearing voices in her head. It gets so out of control that she must be placed in a mental institution. The story is actually not told through the eyes of this girl, but by the younger sister, Cookie. It is an extremely emotional story written in free verse. Cookie recalls memories with her s ...more
Mar 22, 2010 Tatiana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: poetry readers
Shelves: ya, verse, 2010, ala-ya-2000
I seem to be alone in my adoration of Sonya Sones, because my reading buddies don't really share my love of "What My Mother Doesn't Know," but what can you do?

"Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Sister Went Crazy" is my 3rd Sones book and once again, the writer manages to touch me emotionally, and this is a sure sign of great writing for me. Based on Sones' personal experiences, this book is a collection of poems about a 13-year old girl whose older sister unexpectedly experiences a nervous
Nileishka P.
Nov 04, 2009 Nileishka P. rated it really liked it
This is one of my favorite Book's because this book taught me alot one of the things that this book taught me was No matter what happens keep your head up high this book is really intresting is about a girl that her big sister had a nervous break down && now every one says she unormal just because her sister turn a lil bit crazy && people that she thouqht would be there for her was never there they just left her all alone with no body support buht her parents this also taught me ...more
Jun 04, 2008 Alyssa rated it it was ok
Recommended to Alyssa by: Mrs. Lawton
People often write about what it's like to experience mental illness, but witnessing it is hardly ever writen about. Stop Pretending is the story of a girl who watches her sister decend into desperation, and the confusion that comes with watching someone you care about become unfamiliar to you. The book is written in a series of poems that paint a picture of the internal struggles she went through. It was interesting to watch the girl begin to question herself based on her sister's experiences. ...more
Patricia J. O'Brien
Sonya Sones is masterful at packing emotion into few words. Verse fiction demands that, as well as cadence and sensory detail. STOP PRETENDING is based on true events when Sones was young and her older sister suffered a mental breakdown. I was overwhelmed with the honesty and heart in these verses. Having mentally unstable family members myself I found this book to be moving on a personal level and important on a universal level.
Sones shows moments of her sister's scary and unpredictable actions
Katie Young
May 06, 2012 Katie Young rated it it was amazing
Katie Young

This book is a collection of short, poignant poems written by Sonya Sones when she was 13 and her 19 year old sister went crazy one Christmas Eve. The poems tell the story of her life through this tragic event and vividly describe her feelings, thoughts, fears, and hopes for herself, her sister, and her family. The poems take the reader from her adoration of her beautiful and smart older sister and then to her breakdown and hospitalization. When her sister begins to recover, Son
Jun 02, 2008 Heather rated it liked it
Stop Pretending was an interesting but confusing book. I had to re-read that book over and over and i still dont get some of it. I liked how the family started to go and visit the one who went crazy. I also felt bad for the "normal" sister because she wasnt getting the attention that she wanted. I also liked how she kept the advice she got from her teacher. I hated how all her founds like disowned the "normal" friend because her sister went crazy. I think that people shouldnt care if they were r ...more
Jun 09, 2008 Natalie rated it really liked it
Sonya Sones has a great gift for creating novels in verse that read like someone whispering truth in your ear.
Mar 16, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Sonya Sones is one of my favorite authors. She writes in verse and her books are always powerful and pack one hell of a punch. This was the only book by her that I hadn't read and I was so glad to finally have found it!

This book is about an older sister who going insane and the repercussions it has on the little sister. It is told through the eyes of the little sister.

I would love to see another book told through the eyes of the older sister. It would definitely bring everything together a litt
Mar 18, 2012 Jderdena rated it really liked it
I thought this book was very powerful. It showed a girl's, Cookie's, perspective of how it is to live with a sister that went crazy. These various poems describe her life from the moment her sister was put in the hospital and just like a domino effect, her life changed from continuous reactions. Through these poems it is shown how she truly misses her life before with her sister from all the things they did together and how close they were. She misses that time when she had a true family. But no ...more
Chloe Dehler
Dec 19, 2013 Chloe Dehler rated it liked it
I read the book “Stop Pretending” by Sonya Sones. The story is told in short poems. I picked up this book because it looked like it would be an easy read and I enjoy reading poems that tell stories. The book is a true story from the author’s life.

The main characters in this book are Cookie and her older sister. The book never says Cookie’s older sister’s name. She just calls her sister. Cookie’s sister one day had a mental break down. Cookie is left to deal with the loss of her older sister bei
Jul 11, 2015 Gili added it
I wish I had been given this book when I was thirteen. I hope to be able to share it with young adults who go through a sibling's mental illness diagnosis for the first time. This is a great resource for a YA librarian to know about.
Cass -  Words on Paper
Dec 07, 2013 Cass - Words on Paper rated it really liked it

It's near impossible for me to review something that's so deeply personal to the author/creator. This is probably one of my favourite verse novels to date. It's raw and honest and beautifully written, nicely structured across the pages. It is a quick read. Sones' writing is realistic and true. I've had placement at mental health facilities and have studied mental illness for my degree - this book is such a genuine depiction of family breakdown as a result of illness. It is ultimately hopefu
Olivia Ambrose
Apr 09, 2012 Olivia Ambrose rated it it was amazing
Olivia Ambrose ~ Poetry

“Stop Pretending” tells the story of Cookie and what happens when her big sister has a mental breakdown and is admitted to a psychiatric ward. It explores here feelings as she has to deal with the implications this has on her life at home, at school and in relationships both old and new. It is a very touching tale that touches one’s emotions and makes your heart break for Cookie and what she is going through. I absolutely loved this book and would recommend this book to an
Mar 18, 2016 Janet rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I know I have tons of books in the "to read" piles but sometimes it's just nice to revisit old favorites.
Sep 21, 2015 Sara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Was a great book, about depression and having a breakdown, highly recommend :)
Brooke Eberle
Aug 11, 2016 Brooke Eberle rated it did not like it
I usually love books written in free verse but this one wasn't all that good. It's about a girl named Cookie who's sister "goes crazy". I get that this was based off of similar events in the author's life, but it didn't seem like her story to tell. She kept making the story about herself and trying to make the reader feel sorry for her but the person I felt really sorry for was her sister, stuck in that insane asylum alone at only 19 years old. She kept complaining that her friends were making f ...more
Allison Hernandez
Jan 01, 2016 Allison Hernandez rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jordan Davidson
Jul 07, 2015 Jordan Davidson rated it it was ok
Shelves: english-355
Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy
Sonya Sones
HarperCollins, 1999

Summary: Twelve-year-old Cookie’s life hasn’t been the same since her older sister suffered a mental breakdown and was put away in a mental hospital. Plagued by unseen “voices,” rapid mood swings, and strange, erratic patterns of behavior that nobody understands, Cookie’s sister has become a completely different person from the person she’s been for the first nineteen years of her life. Her sister’s hospita
Jun 12, 2015 Natalie rated it it was amazing
She’s gone psycho… Screaming at mother begging her to stop the chattering voices in her skull. Suddenly running, stumbling, imagine sister’s demons chasing after her. I read the book Stop Pretending by Sonya Sones it’s a realistic fiction and I think it was absolutely amazing! One Christmas Eve, 13-year-old Cookie, has a big sister that has a nervous breakdown. Cookie wants her sister to get out of the institution but it’s not possible because her parents don't think it's the right choice. Cooki ...more
Jun 02, 2008 Zach rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people how love reading
Recommended to Zach by: Mrs. Lawton
This is a complicated book because it is full of diary enteres, but once you start reading it, you start thinking what if this happened to me or i wonder what it would be like to have a crazy sister. If you think you are an outcast yourself then you should definally read this to get your mind off things that are bad right now and look and read of what this girl has to deal with her family and her sister. I liked this book because it was way different then all the other ones at the time.
Sep 10, 2015 Rayna rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Teens
The young adult fiction, Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy written by Sonya Sones is an enjoyable book. Cookie is the younger sister of the girl the story is about and she tells us about what it was like for her older sister who she is very close with to go crazy. Not only does she talk about the ups and downs with her sister she now barely knows, she also talks about the positive points in her life. The negative points of her life are obviously that her sister went cr ...more
Lauren Puyear
Feb 12, 2016 Lauren Puyear rated it really liked it
I thought this was a pretty good book, it is about a girl, Cookie, whose sister has to go to a mental institution because she goes crazy. Her sister used to be normal and they would all do things as a family but one day she goes crazy and her parents have to put her in a mental institution. The book goes between the family home and the mental institution that Cookie's sister is at. Cookie decides to tell her friends about her sister and at first they were understanding but then they started to i ...more
May 13, 2008 Jlawton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-teen-reads
I enjoyed Sonya Sones style of writing. This is the first book I read with the unique prose style. I learned to be more conscious about judging people by his/her family members. At one point, the sister felt people were pointing and staring at her because her sister went to a mental institution. She questioned herself and had doubts about what her life will entail. Will this happen to here? Her self worth was caught up in something she had no control over.
May 18, 2013 Lola rated it it was amazing
Overall, I really enjoyed this poetic novel and I thought it did a great job in pulling the readers in. And I liked the fact that after reading a few pages you start to forget it's in poetry and also I liked how it was a very easy read. The poetic novel was about the author's (Sonya Sones) sister, who develops a illness and she describes how her family felt and dealt with the issue at hand and who other people treated her.
Holly McLean
May 18, 2013 Holly McLean rated it liked it
I found Sonya Sones story in verse a very quick and easy read. The story itself focuses around when a girl's big sister goes crazy and how it personally effects her and her social life. The fact it was written in poems made it a very fast pace read but personally I found this made the story too simplistic. I don't personally enjoy poetic reading because of the fact I don't find the story as personal and interesting.
Miriam Joy
This was a very weird read because I read it when I was twelve with no experience of mental illness and now I reread it at twenty with far more than I'd like. And I distinctly remember reading it, too. Normally I have only hazy memories of books from that long ago, but I remembered actual lines from this.

Did I *like* it? Honestly, that's hard to say. He can you like or dislike an autobiographical story? I liked some of the poems. Some I thought were a bit simplistic. But then, maybe it's aimed
Apr 19, 2016 Kenna rated it really liked it
This book is fiction. I rated this book 4 stars because it was a good book. I like how it talked about how she had to overcome her sister being mentally crazy and how she felt like she was alone. I liked how they all came together and how she didn't care what her friends thought about her after that. She didn't want to hit them with a truck anymore which is very good. It was a good story and I recommend for you to read this.
I liked this book from the beginning and how she thought that she was a
ACS Librarian
This is my favorite novel in verse. The poems are a catharsis 13 Sones documents how her life fell apart in the wake of her real-life older sister 19s breakdown. In 3 and 4 word bursts, 13-year-old Cookie voices her confusion, anger and fear for her own sanity. She also makes it clear that life goes on for everyone involved: with moments of both triumph as well as pain for herself, her parents, and her sister.

It 19s harder to appreciate the poetic style. The pages turn so fast. I didn 19t recog
Gracie Bluml
Nov 02, 2015 Gracie Bluml rated it really liked it
Cookie's life changes drastically when she finds out her sister has had a mental breakdown. Nobody knows how or why this happened. Cookie has a hard time speaking to her best friends about it at school. She doesn't think anyone will like her. When she breaks the news, her friends are really nice about it. But only for a day. They start to ignore her and tell secrets about her. She meets a boy who really understands her. They love eachother. She learns that she should be proud that her sister is ...more
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Class of 2015: Stop Pretending 6 9 Mar 27, 2014 07:38AM  
Class of 2015: Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Sister Turned Crazy, by Sonya Sones 1 4 Mar 26, 2014 09:06AM  
Mrs. Gallagher's ...: book review yo. 1 2 May 02, 2013 04:27AM  
THIS BOOK! 3 38 Feb 03, 2012 10:16AM  
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I was born in Boston and overprotected in the nearby suburb of Newton. I thought I would be an artist when I grew up. I loved sneaking upstairs to a tiny room in our attic, where I could while away the hours drawing pictures of dinosaurs. The summer I turned seventeen, I fell in love with making animated films (not to mention at least a couple of boys). Soon after, I enrolled in Hampshire College ...more
More about Sonya Sones...

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“Ready or not, here I come
I'm so tired of this dumb game of hide and seek
Olly olly oxen free
Show yourself, you're scaring me
Come out, come out, where ever you are
You've taken this thing way too far”
“Madame V
begins the lesson
by reading aloud the first stanza
of a famous French poem:

Il pleure dans mon coeur
Comme il pleut sur la ville;
Quelle est cette langueur
Qui penetre mon coeur?

Then she looks up
and without any warning
she calls on me to translate it.
I swallow hard, and try:

"It's raining in my heart
like it's raining in the city.
What is this sadness
that pierces my heart?"

Saying these words out loud,
right in front of the whole class,
makes me feel
like I'm not wearing any clothes.”
More quotes…