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What My Mother Doesn't Know #1

What My Mother Doesn't Know

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My name is Sophie.
This book is about me.
It tells
the heart-stoppingly riveting story
of my first love.
And also of my second.
And, okay, my third love, too.

It's not that I'm boy crazy.
It's just that even though
I'm almost fifteen
it's like
my mind
and my body
and my heart
just don't seem to be able to agree
on anything.

261 pages, Paperback

First published February 1, 2001

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About the author

Sonya Sones

19 books743 followers
SONYA SONES has written seven young adult novels in verse: Stop Pretending, What My Mother Doesn’t Know, What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know, One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, To Be Perfectly Honest, Saving Red, and The Opposite of Innocent.

Her books have received many awards, including a Christopher Award, the Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Poetry, the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize nomination and a Cuffie Award from Publisher’s Weekly for Best Book Title of the year. But the coolest honor she ever received was when her novel, What My Mother Doesn’t Know, landed her a spot on the American Library Association’s list of the Most Frequently Banned Authors of the 21st Century. (To find out why, see page 46.)

Sonya has also written a novel in verse for grownups—the Los Angeles Times bestseller The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus, a coming of middle-age story about learning to grow old disgracefully, which was optioned by Michelle Pfeiffer, and has contributed poems and short stories in verse to lots of anthologies.

Her books have been recognized by the American Library Association as Best Books for Young Adults and Quick Picks For Reluctant Young Readers, and have received a dozen state awards for Best Young Adult Book of the Year.

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5 stars
4,581 (31%)
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,605 reviews
Profile Image for Kim.
286 reviews780 followers
February 14, 2010
*another rewrite*

I found Sonya Sones in our library on one bored snowy day and I won't lie.. the titles of the books caught my eye. And now I'm lost. I love her writing and her style and her voice and at the same time envy all of that too. I just re-read this book because the sequel came out and I wasn't surprised that I loved it even more the second time around. It's a quick read, no longer than an hour if you're not interrupted. The main character, Sophie is a 14 year old, high school freshman whose intelligence and insightfulness isn‘t tragic or leaves you thinking ‘yeah, this character is formulaic or too good to be true thus IS fictional. Sones method of chronicling ’love’ from a 14 yr old girl’s perspective isn’t trite or precocious. She doesn’t talk down to the reader, she gives them some credit, no matter what their age. She communicates to us the typical teenage infatuation : ’I wake up thinking about him. All day long I’m dreaming about him. I fall asleep thinking about him.’ and ‘I wish I could drink a magic potion and shrink way down until I was small enough to fit into his shirt pocket and live there tucked near to his heart listening to it beating in rhythm with mine every minute of every day.' Reeks of Stalker? Hell yeah, but who HASN’T felt that? Don’t lie. Wait, it’s not just me, is it? Oy.

Some other reasons that I love this book:

* It’s a novel in verse. I’m always searching for fiction that pushes the formula boundaries. That doesn’t play up the ’It was a dark and stormy night’ or ’And they lived happily ever after’ angle. By writing this in poems, it brings this colors the story with this sweet sentimentality.

* It’s set in Boston. And since this is ’all about me’ each scene brings its own poignancy. From the Ritz Carlton to Filene’s Basement to the Museum of Fine Arts…. Been there, done that… wish I’d written this book (read: story of my life.)

*MFA (Museum of Fine Arts)--When I was in college we were able to get into the MFA for free and since the very mention of ’college’ indicates just how broke I was… I spent a great deal of time here. I used to roam the rooms pretending that I was talking to my imaginary boyfriend who happened to love John Singer Sargent and was an expert in all things impressionistic. I used to get these endorphin highs of inspiration that had me scribbling madly on napkins/notebooks/receipts/anything in my jean pockets. I went back there this summer for the first time in oh… at least 15 years and the feeling was still there. Oh, and there's one of those flipbooks of Renoir's Dance at Bougival... which is ultra cool (in my world)

Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
917 reviews13.9k followers
July 11, 2015
This book wasn't horrid, I just think it was too immature for me. This narrator is so immature and I didn't really enjoy reading from her POV. The story was easy to follow since it was written in verse, but it just stood kinda "meh" with me. It wasn't bad, just not anything special. Only took me about an hour to read.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,961 reviews485 followers
September 20, 2020
I am back in the classroom and that means that I can also dive back into my classroom library. One of my grade 11 students was quite convincing in making sure I gave this author my attention. While in quarantine last spring, I read To Be Perfectly Honest: A Novel Based on an Untrue Story and Saving Red and this was the last one I had in my book box. Written in verse, Sonya Sones presents us with ninth-grader, Sophie who has lots of drama at home and school. Revisiting the shoes of a teenage girl, didn't make me nostalgic for those confusing times. Although I laughed in places and cringed a bit in others, it was a good story but I much preferred the above titles much more.

Goodreads review 20/09/20

Profile Image for Vic.
23 reviews3 followers
March 3, 2009
This book is such a good book! It is about this girl named Sophie whose Mom and Dad are totally missing out on her life. She talks about her first love, and second, and third. Sophie is kind of going through an emotional metamorphosis in her life, and she has quite a ride during it. I learned in this book that you dont have to think that someone is who they are by the way that they look, or how they talk or walk or anything like this, and when you really think about it you have more than one flaw, and this book kind of makes you realize that you shouldnt treat people the way that someone else does because other people are doing it, or the way they look, because you dont really know that person until you spend time with them, and also not to watch life go by, because it is short, and you will miss out on a lot.
Profile Image for Valerie.
155 reviews73 followers
January 6, 2008
I loved this book. For me, it was one of those books that somewhere along the line turns into music in your head and you don't even realize that you're reading anymore.

It's about a girl (a high school freshman) figuring out who she is and what's really important to her. Thinking about how she sees others, and how they see her. Learning about being and staying true to herself, which is probably one of the most important things you can do in high school.

I picked it up today and didn't put it down until I was finished, and now I'm going to start reading the sequel - What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know. And then I'm going to get my hands on everything else that Sonya Sones has written.
Profile Image for Mikaela.
240 reviews83 followers
May 25, 2010
First off, I didn't get to finish this book. But I severley doubt that I would have changed the rating even if somewhere in the last fifty pages the story got any better (or even mildly interesting).

And dont even get me started on the creepy sluttiness of the main character, because I may not stop talking.

Honsetly, I'm kind of insulted that this is what people think a "typical teenager" is like. We are not all stupid and vapid and obsessed by boys. Well... mostly.

I'm sorry if this seems a little harsh. But this book did not appeal to me at all. I dislike poetry novella's and Sonya Sones has done absolutley nothing to change this for me.

Future Note: The ending did improve (I was forced into finishing it), but still... it wasn't really good at all. Maybe I'll be nice and say 1.5 stars instead of just one, as the ending did make up for a little bit of the book. Though I think that the extra 0.5 of a star comes more from the fact that it couldnt get any worse.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,401 reviews11.7k followers
September 26, 2009
After reluctantly giving my first novel in verse a try ("Impulse" by Ellen Hopkins) and falling in love with it, I decided to continue exploring the genre.

"What My Mother Doesn't Know" is a novel composed of a series of poems about a life of Sophie, a 15-year old boy-crazed popular girl. Sophie has great friends and a cute boyfriend, she is attractive, artistic and funny, but her relationship with her parents and especially mother is complicated and strained. The novel takes us through Sophie's dating history, which includes among other boys, an online pervert. Together with Sophie we gradually learn that there is a huge difference between love and lust, that the cutest boy can be completely shallow, and that real love can hide itself behind the most unappealing facade.

While this book is nowhere near Hopkins' tragic and heartbreaking novels, the appeal of it is undeniable. Sones' poems about first real love are so tender, sensual, and touching, they simply can't leave you unmoved.

I can't wait to read a sequel to this book "What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know" and other works by Sonya Sones. Sadly, there are not many of them.

Reading challenge: #26, 1 of 2
Profile Image for Sarah Gonzalez.
207 reviews38 followers
October 24, 2010
I remember when I first read this book, I was 13 and in the 8th grade. I had bought the book from one of those scholastic book orders. I read What My Mother Doesn't Know in one night and immediately passed it on to one of my friends. My copy made rounds through most of my friends and I never got it back. If that doesn't speak for this book, I don't know what will.

Sophie's story is one that rings truth among us all. I think everyone has a little bit of her inside them - honestly, when I first read it, I remember thinking; "God, I'm not the only one". Sones does a remarkable job expressing feelings and thoughts that we all have had before. Sophie struggles with all the common issues; insecurity, popularity, peer pressure - but the author approaches it in such a unique way. The entire book is written in free verse and it reads as almost a diary.

The plot line isn't earth shattering, but it's honest. I saw so much of myself in Sophie; she is incredibly easy to connect to. She is unsure of herself and often confused by her feelings; especially when it comes to the class geek, Murphy. Sophie wants to be his friend, but is worried about what everyone else would think. When everyone else leaves for Winter Break, Sophie and Murphy finally have time to form a friendship. They are practically inseparable for those two weeks, but what will happen when Sophie's friends come back? Now, what teenage girl doesn't deal with the frustration of peer pressure?

I connected with and loved this book at 13, and now at 20 I still find myself in awe of it. The poetry is understated, raw and emotional. There are so many beautiful examples; but my favorite is Heading Home.

Walking with Murphy
through the bone-freezing chill
towards the bus stop,
I start shivering.

And somehow,
when he slips his arm around me
to warm me up,
it feels right.

Righter than anything ever has.

See what I mean? Sones somehow manages to capture the spirit of youth and innocence in her poetry; it just transports you back in time. Sophie's story is exquisitely captured and told and will always have a place in my heart. It's a short book and a quick read, but definitely worth your time. If you haven't read this one yet, you are missing out.
Profile Image for Arlene.
1,156 reviews641 followers
October 23, 2009

How do I feel about this story? Hmmmm… let me find the right word… I got it!! BBBBLLLLEEEEHHH!!! Okay, was it meant to be annoying? Mind you I did the audio, so maybe the narrator k!lled it for me, but luckily I give most audios about 2 CDs before I decide to continue or toss it. Since this story WAS only 2 CDs I almost changed my approach and tossed it within the first 15 minutes.

The main character Sophie was probably too young for my taste, both age wise and maturity wise. She's a fifteen year old, boy-crazy, kissy-kissy, cry baby that spends most of her time saaaa-wooooning over her boyfriend and a few other boys including one she meets in cyber space that ends up being a perv. It wasn't long enough for any character development to occur in order for me to come to appreciate her, but then again, I probably wouldn't have stuck around long enough to try and come to like her. However, in all fairness to Sophie, she does remind me of someone in my life that just grates on my nerves, but her dialog didn't try to win me over, so really, she never stood a chance. When I read about how her boyfriend Dillon wrote her a note and she kept it in her pocket, which almost singed a hole in her clothes, I thought… okay exaggerate much?? Then, she reads the note and it says something to the fact of, ohhhmaaaagaaawwwdd like you are the coolest girl eeeevvvaaaa, like in the whole wide world and maybe even in Mars. I thought, HELL to the nooooo... Again… BBBBLLLEEEEHHH. She'd consider marrying the font of her cyber boy turned perv. Really??? Yes, I know, there's more to the story, but when it's over-shadowed by cringe worthy, head desk content, it's hard to glean anything worth contemplating.

Publisher's Weekly says it's "honest….destined to captivate." and Booklist says it's, "Fast, funny, touching." Note-to-self, don't believe them moving forward.
Profile Image for Tina.
444 reviews457 followers
July 10, 2011
Original post at One More Page

I heard about What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones from Angie, but since she wrote about it for Retro Friday, I didn't think it would be easily available here. Imagine my surprise when I spotted this during one of my book hunts. I shouldn't have bought much then, but I'm easily swayed.

What does Sophie's mother doesn't know? A lot, actually, especially the ones about her love life. Sophie is in high school and while she says she's not boy-crazy, she can't stop thinking about kissable lips or obsessing about her boyfriend Dylan. She also can't stop thinking about her online guy friend Chaz. And while we're at it, she also can't stop wondering about awkward, unpopular boy Murphy. There's a lot that Sophie's mother doesn't know, and Sonya Sones regales these things to us in this wonderful, easy-to-read novel in verse.

I'm really starting to like reading novels in verse. This is my third verse novel for the year, and they make for excellent in-between book. I read this in less than two hours, and it gave my mind an easy break after all the serious books I've been reading. Sophie is a good narrator, and I immediately warmed up to her. She's popular but she's nice, and not completely selfish. I liked her relationships with her friends and her family, especially her relationship with her mom, which I could kind of relate with. It wouldn't be entitled this without the mother aspect, right? While it's not as strong and dramatic as the mother aspect in A Girl Named Mister, I think it still packs a punch. I especially like this passage:

There's this
real corny thing
that Channel 5 does every night
after the late movie,
just before the news comes on.

They flash this sign on the screen
that says:
"It's eleven p.m.
Do you know where
your children are?"

And just now,
when it came on,
I heard this little tap tap tap on the wall
coming from my mother's bedroom
and I tapped right back.

What My Mother Doesn't Know is sweet and charming. Despite the less words, it was still very eloquent. Don't be fooled by how the blurb makes the books so simple or shallow. Sonya Sones hit the nail on the head in portraying a teenage girl's preoccupations and experiences in first (second and third) loves. This is one of comfort reads that's quick, easy and just right. If Sonya Sones' work are all as comforting as this, then I'm definitely getting her other books. :)
Profile Image for Jacki.
27 reviews
April 15, 2008
this is a book about a girl called sophie. it covers all the important aspects of her life ( love,mates,etc). But it is mostly about her love life. Her 1st love is the dribbling Lou. Sophie is really depressed when he dumped her for Alison Creely but her besties ( Rachel and Grace) helped her get through it. Her next love seems to be her soulmate. Dylan, who is Rachel's big sisters friends younger brother. He also goes to their school. He is gorgeous and everyone thinks so. Everything seems perfect but then there is a fight. it's only about dylans hair cut but it's still a fight. Fortunately they make it up again but a little while later, in the shopping mall they meet Dylans ex-gf Ivy. She is the type of girl dylan should definetly be with. He is normal sized, blond and fun. Ivy is blond, petite and bubbly. Sophie on the other hand is huge, (as in tall), mousy brown and sluggy. But when Ivy leaves dylan tells her that he wouldn't get back with her for anything. But Sophie is still worrying. Her escape is having an "cybersoul" thing with Chaz, a bloke she met in a chatroom. He sounds perfect. When Sophie isn't chatting to Chaz, she is trying to get away from Dylan because he is just bugging her into insanity. Then one evening Sophie looks in a shop window while she is walking home from the cinema with Dylan. she is actually taller than Dylan. This is the last straw and a few days later, Dylan is dumped and Sophie is single. Then there is the schools Halloween dance and Sophie finds herself longing for Dylan, finding out that Chaz is a completly disgusting perv . But at the dance she finds this mysterious masked man. She goes crazy finding him, and then finds out he is none other than the class reject Robin Murphy. What will she do?
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Nomes.
384 reviews376 followers
October 14, 2010
Oh, how I love Sonya Sones. Curling up with one of her books is just such an awesome way to spend an afternoon. I love verse novels and hers are just so easy to slip into and I think anyone who is an inpsiring writer can learn a lot from reading quality verse novels like this.

The way she uses words to so powerfully and succinctly encapsulate emotions and events is just gorgeous. I adore her characters and the events in the novel and truly feel all those intense and beautiful emotions of being a teen and falling in love and daydreaming and fighting with your parents. I so recommend her and love her and re-read her often.

I think my favourite of hers is What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know (5 stars). But I give this one 4 stars of awesomeness.
Profile Image for Katie.
296 reviews6 followers
September 27, 2009
I love, love, love this book. I read it for the fifth or sixth or seventh time over the weekend, and I fell in love with it all over again. It captures the feelings of first love or rather the process of discovering love perfectly. It also perfectly captures those tense moments of a mother-daughter relationship.

And let the record show that this book has never let me down: I have recommended it to dozens of girls who are non-readers and all of them have read it and loved it. It's just so good.
Profile Image for LSA.
11 reviews37 followers
October 3, 2016
Rating: 2
You see, I found this book lying around on the shelf while I was in a thrift shop… Having a close relationship with my mom, the title really caught my eye; What My Mother Doesn’t Know. It had an interesting synopsis that’s easily relatable, the book was in decent condition, and as a plus it only cost me a dollar. I was really looking forward to this read. But once I actually got to picked it up, I honestly did not like it. I really resented reading through the book’s protagonist is point of view. She and most the characters in this book was far beyond too immature and shallow for my taste.

“I wish he hadn't gone and cut his hair.
He looks about eight years old.
His ears have tripled in size.
Everyone's started calling him Dumbo.
Which wouldn't be so bad,
except they've started calling me
Mrs. Dumbo.

You can't even tell
he's got curly hair anymore.
There's nothing left
to run my fingers through.
Just this weird
blond AstroTurf
sprouting out of his skull.”
― Sonya Sones, What My Mother Doesn't Know

So the romance.. This is the so called “heart-stopping riveting story” of her first love? Seriously? Personally, all I saw was infatuation and lust. Sophie only “loved” Dylan for his looks and his status. The whole relationship didn’t have any emotional built or growth. It only consisted kissing and going on dates. When introducing Sophie to his mother, Dylan wanted to hide who she was. And not far into their new relationship, you have Sophie fantasizing about kissing other guys. Then to add onto my stress, she fought with him over his new haircut and mentioned how he should’ve given her a heads up about it. Is that a joke? It’s his hair and he should be able to do what he wants with it. Just as a thought it couldn’t get any worse, she was more upset over the fact that she was being Mrs. Dumbo than her “first love” being called Dumbo. Oh but it doesn’t stop there. Sophie then meets this guy, Chaz, over cyberspace and begins to fall for him. Swayed by Chaz, she suddenly thinks everything Dylan does is completely wrong and their relationship is filled with flaws. Just wow… Eventually ending her relationship with him, she then finds out Chaz a total pervert and ending all communication with him. Has the possibility never crossed her mind? So with Chaz gone, she then begins to think of Dylan once again. At the dance she even considered going over to him . Had it not been for his date showing up, I honestly hated that fact Sophie was even considering kissing him again. But big surprise, she was mesmerized by a new, masked guy whom she danced with. Sophie then goes into this spiraling search after his disappearance and declares it “love at first dance”

It’s funny she doesn’t call herself boy crazy because that’s all I see she is. Boy crazed, infatuated, and very easily swayed...If this is what love is, then it has lost all its precious meaning.

Now, out of everything in this book, Murphy was the only person, the only thing bearable. Honestly, I don’t think Sophie deserved a guy like him. Throughout the entire book, she talks about how she feels bad for him. But when she has the opportunities to speak to him, she chooses not to. She only chose to be his partner at art because she pitied him, not because she wanted to be his friend. She even laughs when people mock him. Never once had she actually tried to reach out to this kid. Meeting him at the art gallery, Sophie wanted to flee the scene. And having lunch with him, she sits herself in a placement no one will spot her. Upon making more plans to hang out and exchanging numbers, she then regrets it completely. BUT what infuriated me most was when Murphy didn’t call her, she automatically assumes it’s because he couldn’t work the nerve to. Her confidence in herself is beyond me. And adding onto that, the only reason she didn’t like this guy is because he wasn’t cute enough. But hey, they got together and she learns that his real name is Robin. Sophie changes a little for the good but still she has a hard time telling her friends and the world that she’s dating Robin. Why? Because he’s the tail of jokes in their school. Because she'll be judged for it. When Robin sees her crying, he knew this. But he just held her and said that he’d understand if they have to break up. I know she ran off towards him in the end but in many ways she didn’t deserve him.

“what my mother doesn't know wont hurt her”
― Sonya Sones, What My Mother Doesn't Know

Now for her parents. I get it, they’re not like her best friend’s parents. They’re not open or very affectionate, and yes they’re fairly flawed. But it doesn’t mean they don’t care. There are many different types of parents in this world and my parents are very similar to hers. They’re not the type who comes up to me and asks how’s my day or to just start talking off the bat. But here’s the thing, because they don’t, I’m the one who tries and engages in conversation. I’m the one who reaches out first and you know what, after a while, they begin to reach out more and more too. Many people seem to believe parents are always supposed to tend to their kids and know what to do but they’re human. They will make mistakes and a lot of times they won’t know what to do or how to approach their kids. I get it, teenage years are tough years but it’s not any easier for them. Raising a teenager is hard.. There was this part in the book that she mentioned calling her mom and her mom just giving her the box and walking off. Mine did the same but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t care. Sophie’s mom hovers around room when boys are over and there are various moments that she tries to approach her (even though in a very awkward manner) but Sophie shoots her down. She talks smart to her. And regarding the dress, of course her mom wouldn’t want her wearing that, it’s short and tight. To let her pay for the a dress only to go behind her back and buy another, she shouldn’t hate her mom being mad. She shouldn’t blame her mom at all considering she never tried engaging in conversation, She never tried to truly reach out. Instead she wanted to hide more things. During Christmas and New Year, she didn’t even stay home with her parents.

Sophie is possibly, if not my most hated protagonist, one of them. She was beyond immature and naive. She complains about her parents not being there when she never tries to reach out herself. What she considers first love had no depth whatsoever, she considered marrying a person she never met, and feels bad for a boy whom she mocks and never bothers to befriend herself. Her Thanksgiving list of things she was thankful for is nothing but selfish. Throughout this whole book, she never failed to irritate me.

The last, I’d say 25% of the book was decent. She finally had some sort of character growth. But the flaws in this book completely overshadow the good. It’s sad and insulting that this is the portrayal of typical teen girls. True there are fair amount that are but a lot of us aren’t like this or at least this bad. It may have been a quick read but it’s disappointing. Giving it a 2 rating is merciful and the only reason for that 1 extra point was because she finally sort of came to her senses in the end, reached out to her mom, and Robin.
Profile Image for Angie.
645 reviews997 followers
October 1, 2010
I first read WHAT MY MOTHER DOESN'T KNOW a few years ago and it was my first Sonya Sones book. It was thanks to Meg Cabot's glowing recommendation that I picked this one up in the first place. I had never heard of Ms. Sones before and I did not, at the time, realize it was a novel in verse. But I had actually recently read (and loved) Lisa Ann Sandell's Song of the Sparrow and so it only seemed a natural thing to continue on to another novel in verse, this time a very contemporary book as opposed to Sandell's lovely historical Arthurian tale. WHAT MY MOTHER DOESN'T KNOW is a sweet, funny story told about fifteen-year-old Sophie and her hilarious friend Robin Murphy. It is told in a series of poems with titles that ease the reader through Sophie's days and her struggle to accommodate who she is with what she longs for. There is even a sequel--What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know--which follows Sophie and Robin and gives the reader an entirely different perspective on what is going on between these two. When I saw WHAT MY MOTHER DOESN'T KNOW was listed on ALA's list of challenged books, I was apalled. Because it is nothing but sweet and the opposite of a book that should be kept from readers who will find something within its pages that speaks to them.

Sophie is part of the popular crowd, while Robin is....not. He's so not popular that ever since grade school his last name has been synonymous with loser or an act of extreme loserness. As in "Don't be such a Murphy." High school sure was fun, wasn't it? But the two of them share an art class and Sophie finds herself interested in sketching Murphy and he shows a similar interest in her. Nothing comes of it, due mostly to the fact that Sophie is dating the guy she believes is perfect for her. And because she has two best friends who would die at the thought of her interested in someone like Murphy. And because Sophie herself can't wrap her head around that big of a leap social standing-wise. But life at home isn't that swell, with her mother rarely surfacing from her soap operas long enough to hold a single conversation, and with her father who stiffens and bears it whenever his daughter gives him a hug. And before she knows it, life begins to change and Sophie must make her own decisions about the shape she wants her life to take and the importance of things like popularity and people.

This is a quick read. It's a read in a single afternoon read. Each page is a brief poem told from Sophie's perspective and through her lyrical and brief words, the reader gets a sense for the home life, the school life, the social life she leads. She is a gentle person, if completely caught up in her boyfriend and that consuming rush that comes when you think you're in love for the first time in your life. At the same time, she notices things outside of herself and she spends time ruminating over those things. Like her parents' seemingly deteriorating marriage, the differences between her Christian friends and her Jewish self, the boy who sits across from her in art, who nobody likes, but who exerts an almost imperceptible but strong pull on her. A couple of favorite passages:

He is so homely,
so downright ugly
that none of the girls
even think about him.

He's too lowly,
too pitiful
to even bother making fun of.

So something must be
very wrong with me,
because I want to kiss him.
I want to kiss him real bad,

even though his nose is crooked
and his ears are huge,
even though his hair's a mess
and his lips are tight and scared.

I want to kiss away
those circles under his eyes
that make him look like
he's never slept a second in his life.


There's this
real corny thing
that Channel 5 does every night
after the late movie,
just before the news comes on.

They flash this sign on the screen
that says:
"It's eleven p.m.
Do you know where
your children are?"

And just now,
when it came on,
I heard this little tap tap tap on the wall
coming from my mother's bedroom
and I tapped right back.

I don't know. Something about this short story got under my skin. I didn't exactly inhabit the circles any of these teens live in when I was making my way through high school. But I understood them. I knew who they were. I liked Sones' spare writing style and I really liked Sophie and Robin--two teenagers who aren't immune to all the heinous social pain/baggage that comes with high school but who learn how to watch each other's backs and make it out alive. We should all be so scrappy.
Profile Image for Olivera .
727 reviews255 followers
March 6, 2017
Unexpectedly sweet and easy to get through.

I've recently started getting a bit more into poetry and books written in verse and I'm still trying to find a story that really captivates me. Sadly, even with this one, I keep having the same problems. The poems hardly feel like actual poetry, but rather like
written like this,
so it has more pages
and can pass as a book
and not as a short story.
I've read a review for this book that said the actual content of the plot could be put into 50 pages and I totally agree. But then again: would I have picked it up if it had been a short story? Probably not. Would it work as well as it worked written in this format? Again, probably not.

On the other hand, I liked how positive and cute this was and how refreshing it felt. I found some of the parts to be genuine and true and heartwarming, and in the end I ended up completely rooting for Sophie and Robin. So, when it comes to evoking feelings in the reader, What My Mother Doesn't Know succeeded in its purpose.

I say it's worth giving this a try.
23 reviews4 followers
May 14, 2019
The main theme to this book was, follow your heart and everything will be okay. This is supported by Sophie,the narrator, who has a boyfriend but knows she doesn't want to be with him.So, she follows her heart and starts to hang out with this nerdy kid who isn't that good looking but she loves him for who he is inside. When she is following her heart by liking this boy she learns how difficult it must be not to have many friends and how she wishes she could help others. I would recommend this book to teenage girls and girl it a 5 star rating.
Profile Image for Cathy.
487 reviews1 follower
February 16, 2020
Even though I knew right from the first time Murphey was mentioned how the story was going to play out, I still liked this book. I did wish it would have gone into a bit more depth with Sophia's family situation, but I felt like the book gave a fair insight into the insecurities of teen girls. Many would see themselves in Sophia. For that reason, I liked the book.
Profile Image for lucy  Ü.
136 reviews10 followers
June 3, 2021
this book was so so so good! i gobbled it within an hour! i love that it's so raw in describing the emotional span and life of a young teenager - the vulnerability, the self-esteem issues, the questions, and the overall confusion of life as a teenager. sonya does such a great job at portraying what being a teenager really looks like in this book of prose!
Profile Image for Paulina.
7 reviews
March 30, 2009
Sophie Stein, is a 14 year old girl, who just got her heart broken by her boyfriend Lou. On the way home from a party, her two best friends, Rachel and Grace, get a ride from Rachel's big sister. In the car, there is this boy whose name is Dylan. He is Rachel's big sister's friend's younger brother. He is absolutely gorgeous and goes to the same school as Sophie. Sophie sits on his lap on the way home, for there was no room, and they instantaneously "click". They become boyfriend and girlfriend. Sophie, all the while, thinks that Dylan is her soul mate. A couple months later, it turns out he isn't. They fight a lot, Dylan is foolish, and Sophie can't stand that she is taller than he is. In a mall, they run into Dylan's ex- girlfriend, and she is perfect for Dylan, she is petite, blond and extremely enthusiastic. During her problems with Dylan, she meets this Chaz guy, on the internet in a chat room. He sounds sweet and perfect. Sophie dumps Dylan and finds out that Chaz wants to meet her and that he is a pervert. At the school Halloween dance, Sophie wishes she hadn't broken up with Dylan, until she dances with a masked man, which she falls head over heels in love with. She does almost everything to find out who he is, only recognizing his forearms, and decides to give up. During vacation, she decides to be a tourist for the day, and goes to the museum. She finds herself hanging out with Murphy, a nice guy who everyone at school makes fun of. During school, she had found herself being attracted to him and hadn't wanted to say anything. Later, they go ice skating on a little pond where they are alone. Sophie eventually realizes that Murphy, otherwise known as Robin, is her masked man. They become infatuated with one another, but Sophie only tells her friends that she met somebody named Robin. The first day of school, she makes her decision, she sits with Robin Murphy and holds his hands.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Farah.
173 reviews36 followers
October 12, 2009
Kalau mau jujur, udah berapa lama ya, gue melihat buku ini terpajang di rak buku teen lit setiap kali gue bolak-balik hunting ke toko buku..
Tapi sampai selama itu, gue ngga pernah tertarik untuk menyentuh, membeli ataupun membaca buku ini.
Buku ini baru gue beli (dan baca) kemarin, pas ada bazaar buku di Citiwalk Sudirman yang dengan segera gue masukkan ke dalam tas belanjaan bertuliskan Gramedia, dengan gaya seorang kalap-shopper
(baca: tukang belanja gila yang pengen lompat-lompat kegirangan sambil nari hula-hula begitu melihat tumpukan buku-buku baru seharga tujuh, sepuluh, dan lima belas ribuan. Ngga peduli apakah buku-buku tersebut memang benar-benar ingin dibaca, atau dibeli hanya karena harganya yang begitu murah. Sungguh bertolak belakang sekali dengan apa yang disebut sebagai smart-shopper).

Oh, buku yang sangattt menarik. Sungguh mengusung cerita teen-lit yang sangat remaja. Maksud gue, menulis diary setiap hari aja udah abege sekaleh. Ditambah lagi, diary itu disampaikan dalam bentuk bait-bait puisi. Begitu lucu, muda, polos, dan menggelitik.

Belum lagi jalan ceritanya yang dituturkan dengan sangat polos. Sophie, tokoh utama cerita ini, menceritakan bagaimana dia diputusin oleh pacar pertamanya, punya pacar baru, dan punya fantasi gokil mencium murid paling nerd dikelasnya, yang kemudian tanpa disadari berubah menjadi Mr. Right yang dia cari-cari selama ini.

Dan satu lagi nilai plusnya, bukunya dwi bahasa, "Horeeeeee" ^0^
Buku favorit gue sekali.
Profile Image for Cindy'qee :D.
15 reviews
January 21, 2009
this book is the funniest book i have ever read...itz about this girl named sophie but poeple give her a whole mess of nicknames for her that sHe caNt kEep traCk...she tells about her krazy life where she lifes with her family...she tells about crazy things that only true best friends can do together...once when it was raniing her friends out on a rainroat and took off eberything else...wierd...she tells about her realastionships with her boyfiends that she has had bef0re...she saids that she knows everything that is going t0 happen t0 her...like that time when Lou was g0ing t0 take her on a walk just to brake up with her...and she sensed it coming...everything that she does she does with her friends...
her friend went to this dance and it was all important to her...but she didnt have a date...when she got there she was just sitting around and just watching them dance...when i unknow guy walked up with a mask and started to dance with her...then slow music started to play and she started danceing with him...she felt every touch of her right...

i give this book a 5/5 star rating because it is a book that i girl can enjoy and have fun reading. the things that happen in the book are cool and nice things that any girl would do with her friends. and that they would sometime never say.
Profile Image for Heather.
293 reviews13.9k followers
October 26, 2009
This was a cute story, though at 200 and some odd pages, I would say that there is maybe 50 pages worth of content in this book; therefore, it is more a short story than anything else. There wasn't much to glean from the narrator other than the fact that she is a boy crazy teenager with a messed up homelife. She is typical in everyway down to the way she treats others and in the way she views the world. I would say that Murphey/Robin is by far the best and most interesting character and I would have enjoyed this book much more if he had been the narrator. The story ends rather abruptly and I would have liked to have seen how Sophie and Robin navigate their way through their new and budding relationship. Despite my lack of love for Fee, it was kinda cute reading the scenes where these two were together. All in all, it was an okay read but there was nothing truly memorable about it.
December 12, 2015
''What my mother doesn't know?'',is a great book and it is ultimately the best girl book ever.It demonstrates how to escape drama you might go through in middle school.I believe this book is for middle school girls and you should be mature to read it.The intended audience is mostly middle school girls but any age above could read it.It is about a girl named Sofie who does not know which boy to date and like about 6 boys like her.Through out the book she faces problems from this issue.Once again this book is great and all middle school girls should for sure read this book.
Profile Image for Raylyn Lee.
31 reviews1 follower
November 17, 2014
I really enjoyed this book. I believe that I like it because I was really able to connect with sophia. She felt like her mom didn't understand her, her friends make her choice bad things,and her crush. I mostly connected to this book because of her mom and her dad. I feel as if my mom and dad don't understand me either. I would recommend this book to mature readers. This writing was inspirational because Sophia lady her friends for the guy she likes even if they did approve.
Profile Image for Emma Thurman.
77 reviews
January 17, 2009
I loved this book. The fact that it was written entirely in poetic form just adds to it's brilliance.
Profile Image for Juliana Esteban.
2 reviews1 follower
December 9, 2014
I liked this book it was really interesting kinda weird but it was really good to read if your a girl.
Profile Image for Lör K..
Author 3 books71 followers
September 14, 2018
This is a super quick read and it's quite adorable. It's romantic, it's cute and I definitely squealed out loud quite a few times reading it. I'd very gladly read this again; it's almost perfect.
My only qualm is that it is quite short and there isn't much too it. Sophie has some lovely development but I feel like I don't know much about her, nor have I seen her development as a character. We see her as she grows, for sure, but there's something lacking.

Other than that, this was utterly gorgeous, and I can't wait to read more from Sones.
Profile Image for Tena Edlin.
788 reviews
January 27, 2020
Rainbow Challenge: Purple

Wow. Reading this book brought me instantly back to being 14 or 15... being a little girl in so many ways and being a woman in so many others. I'm so glad to just read this without having to experience it again... I'd never want to go through that time in my life again. I was so worried all through the book about the choices that Sophie was making or was going to make. The ending was wonderful, but I could hardly enjoy it because, frankly, I was just so relieved. I feel like I can breathe again.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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