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What They Don't Know

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  299 ratings  ·  126 reviews
Three secrets. One decision. A friendship that will change everything.

Mellie has always been the reliable friend, the good student, the doting daughter. But when an unspeakable act leads her to withdraw from everyone she loves, she is faced with a life-altering choice―a choice she must face alone.

Lise stands up―and speaks out―for what she believes in. And when sh
Published October 2nd 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire
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Olivia Hopkins Yes... Its a really good book, and my book group is reading it now

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WOW. I was definitely NOT prepared for this. Oh my gosh was this novel sad and brutal.

I'm going to say right off the bat that this novel delves into some very deep core issues that revolve around rape, pregnancy, abortion, friendship, men vs women gender roles, religion, and safety.

Nicole Maggi explores a coming of age story about sixteen year old Mellie who becomes pregnant from being raped. Mellie comes from a strong fundamentalist family... and she thinks that she will ultimately be blamed
Zoë ☆
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, netgalley
Oh my god. I was so NOT prepared for that. This is one of the most emotional books I have ever read and I feel like it discusses SUCH an important issue. Definitely a must read for everyone. I am speechless. Thank you to the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read this book!

I’m going to cry a little more now 😶
Adele Shea
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What They Don't Know, is a story told from the point of view of two 16 year old girls. They are set an assignment to write a day to day journal as part of one of their grades in school.
Mellie comes from a church going family, her father being Mayor of their town. Mellie, is raped and as a result of that rape becomes pregnant. She must make the decision of what to do about her pregnancy.
Lise, volunteers at a woman's clinic that along with women's health procedures, also carries out abortion.
Jun 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book takes a good, hard look at what it is like for someone to go through the tough decision to have an abortion, with the added trauma of the pregnancy being a result of a rape. The story is told in diary entries between Mellie, the uber-conservative mayor-running-for-senate's daughter, and Lise, her old girl scout friend who is intuitive to her old friend's sadness.
Manon the Malicious
*4.25 Stars*

I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have to admit it. I judged this book by its cover. I was certain it was a mystery & thriller.
Turns out, it wasn't. This was a contemporary novel about equality, abortion and girl power.

Mellie was raised in a very religious family, is anti-choice and wears a chastity ring. But she really starts questioning everything when she gets pregnant after being raped.
Lise is hiding a secret from/>I
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW by Nicole Maggi in exchange for my honest review.***


Pregnant by rape, sixteen-year-old Mellie knows her zealously fundamentalist family will blame her for the attack and take away her choices. Lise, her classmate, senses she can help. Told in letters/journal entries to their English teacher the young women develop a deep, trusting friendship.

I knew I was
Patty Smith
My thanks to Netgalley, Sourcebooks Fire and Nicole Maggi for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advanced copy.

Boy, this is going to be a tough one. First, this is very sensitive subject matter. The book brings up several issues that will hopefully open the door to many worthwhile conversations, but its main focus is on abortion. I find that it will be really hard to keep my personal feelings on the subject separ
Madalyn (Novel Ink)
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, netgalley
This review originally appeared on Novel Ink.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Content warnings: rape, sexual assault, rape resulting in pregnancy, pregnancy, talk of miscarrying, abortion, description of abortion, victim-blaming, unsafe home environment, misogyny (challenged), homophobic behavior (challenged), anti-abortion rhetoric (challenged), religion, emotional abuse, verb
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018-read, netgalley
You can find this review and others on my blog SleepySamReads!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

TRIGGER WARNINGS: rape, rape resulting in pregnancy, abortion

I believe the message in the book is an important one, but I don't know that I agree with the execution all that much. Everything in the book seems to be so black and white. Which is kind of ironic because one of the things in the book that Mellie realizes is how many shades of grey there are i/>TRIGGER/>Special
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a very well written novel about a young girl who becomes pregnant after being raped and the decisions she makes as a result of living in an ultra conservative home. It is an epistolary novel, which I love. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me an opportunity to be an early reader in exchange for my honest review.
Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)

I want to thank to SOURCEBOOKS Fire and NetGalley for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review.

OMG this book is really powerful, I feel it was more than I expected and that's great. It's a book about abortion, it focuses entirely on that issue and although it touches other ones as well, I think it's necessary for you to know that's what you will find with. It's such a delicate subject to be touched in a book and even so, the author has done it in an excellent way, I'm really impressed.

I want to thank to SOURCEBOOKS Fire and NetGalley for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review.

OMG this book is really powerful, I feel it was more than I expected and that's great. It's a book about abortion, it focuses entirely on that issue and although it touches other ones as well, I think it's necessary for you to know that's what you will find with. It's such a delicate subject to be touched in a book and even so, the author has done it in an excellent way, I'm really impressed.


4/5 Stars

You can find this one and more fo my reviews on my blog A Book. A Thought.

The book follows the perspective of two girls, Lise and Mellie, and although they used to be friends, they have separated from each other over time. Today their teacher has given them the work of writing a journal telling to her everything they're going through, so the book is entirely written in the form of letters from the girls to their teacher. Mellie has gone through a horrible moment since she has been raped and she doesn't dare to talk to anyone about it for fear they don't believe her or that people believe that it was her fault in some way, she belongs to a very religious and strict family so this also stops her from speaking. Lise's a very mature girl for her age, she's always ready to fight for what she really wants and together they'll start a very hard journey full of emotions, revelations and teachings

I don't believe that there's a correct way of judging this book or talking about it, because I honestly feel that the feelings and emotions that it produces when you read it, is what really matters. So I'll do what I can with this review, I feel very sensitive after finishing it, it's a very powerful emotional journey.

I really liked the writing style, I feel that although it touches a very serious subject the author has known to add very sweet and funny moments as well, in a way that fits perfectly and makes it easier to continue reading. There are times when it becomes very difficult though and this is not because it was bad, at all, but because of all the meaning behind the book as far as abortion is concerned. See Mellie going through a situation as frightening as a rape, and then this pregnancy product of it, was really very hard, she was very lonely going through the whole situation and that broke my heart, even though I know that these things sadly happen in the world, it's still difficult to read about them, it's heartbreaking.


I loved and I could see clearly the message that the book wants to give and I appreciate it very much how the author talks at the end and share her own story with us, this makes it a thousand times more special the fact that she wrote this book.

The main idea was that these two girls write all their feelings and their experiences to her teacher through letters, and although I love the idea and enjoyed it a lot, I feel it's unrealistic. I don't think that anyone really opens up in this way to a teacher that I feel they hardly know, right?. Even so, although this may have been unbelievable, the rest of the book and everything that both girls have to go through seemed very realistic to me, in fact the ending was really great. It was bittersweet but very real, I can really see this story ending as it did, and in some way, I liked that it wasn't the typical perfect ending

I loved the main characters both Lise and Millie, they're completely opposite but being into both heads was equally interesting for me, especially because at first they have completely different thoughts from each other and I always enjoy hearing diversity of opinions, even when I already have my own, you know?. I think Lise is my animal spirit, I love her, she's wild and daring, but all in the best way. She has always something smart to say, and in addition to all this, what I liked the most is the way in which she supports other women and her feminist espitiru made me love her, she's also a great friend and once her path intersects with Mellie's, the way in which Lise acts is great, I feel that I admire her strength on many occasions. Mellie's a very sweet girl, she has so many doubts and questions and that makes her a super innocent character, after what she has gone through at her young age I feel that she's the character who grows the most and I really liked going through all that under her point of view. She's the daughter of extremely religious parents, they never pay attention to her and also her father's determined to make clear in his campaign that he wants to close all the abortion centers (I speak of legal places, of course) and all this is obviously heartbreaking for Mellie and she doesn't know what to do, even though sometimes it was so difficult, I think it's a very interesting experience to read this book, I've even cried with her and right now I want all her happiness.

As I said before, reading this book has been a great experience, especially since I have found it quite informative on the topic of abortion and everything that surrounds it. I think I would have liked to see a little more diversity of opinions on the subject, but even so it's quite clear to where the book wants to go to

The plot twist was very good, I liked it even when I saw it coming and that's a good thing, I hate that nothing else happened with it, I think I would have liked some kind of consequence, but as I said before, happy endings not always are a thing.


It's difficult to talk about this issue for me because only a few months ago the abortion legalization issue was all that was spoken in my country and was finally denied, which's a great retrospective for all that women have fought for. I really hope that if in your country is a fact and abortion is legal, then you should be grateful. Even when you don't agree with, you should remember that all women have rights over our body and this should be another of them as well. I will not try to convince anyone who doesn't agree, because obviously I'm very respectful towards the beliefs of others but I wanted to highlight that situation, since it touches me closely, in the place where I live

I recommend this book? YES!, I think it's a very delicate and difficult toppic to touch but still we need more authors who are encouraged and try with it, is very important because of the knowledge that gives you and all the families situations, as the book touches it, It's super interesting to read. If you're looking for a light reading honestly I don't think this is the book for you, and I don't agree with the fact that it's classified as a mystery, I think it doesn't have much of that happening. So if you feel like reading a book that has a meaning and leaves you thinking, then this is a great option
Sue Holmes
*Review copy received from the publisher
This story covers a vital topic and a message that will resonate with a target audience. But the storyline is very one dimensional which I think reduces the impact on the reader.
Jenni Frencham
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-edelweiss
Maggi, Nicole. What They Don't Know. Sourcebooks Fire, 2018.

Mellie's family is very conservative, so when she discovers that she is pregnant, she isn't sure what she should do. She has always believed that abortion is wrong in all circumstances, but she is certain that she doesn't want to carry this baby, even to give it up for adoption. Lise used to be friends with Mellie before Mellie's family took her out of Girl Scouts. They are still classmates, but their lives couldn't be more
sophie b
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Okay, I was totally not prepared for that. This was a very deep and very important story that I feel everyone should read. It was so gripping, I literally could have read it in one sitting but had to stop myself😂 My one minor complaint is that I feel like the whole diary entry thing wasn’t necessary (I mean who would open that much to their teacher?). Anyways, I highly recommend this!
Trigger warning: rape & abortion
I really loved this book. It’s emotional, yes. It’s difficult to read, yes, but it’s an important read. It’s been on my mind since finishing; hitting me close to home in more than one way.

Highly recommend.

See my full review on my blog, Vivacious Bibliophile
Blog Post:

*I was provided with an ARC of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.

This book is definitely one that will catch you off guard, I was not expecting what I just experienced at all. The very first chapter had me gripped, and I stayed that way throughout the whole book. This was a very easy read, in terms of flying through it, but not in the subject matter. I struggled in reading some parts, as they were just so sad and raw. The author defini
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: source-netgalley
The journal writing was supposed to be just a school assignment. But for two months, it became a sort of Mellie’s confidante and Lise’s sound-board. In Mellie’s first journal entry, she revealed that she was raped and...wait...I think I’ve said too much already. I have to stop giving any background ‘coz it’s much better to dive blind into this book. Fortunately the Goodreads synopsis is very vague, so I will also try to be vague as much as I can to avoid spoiling anything.

The synopsi
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalleys
This review is based on an ARC of What They Don't Know which I received courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher (Sourcebooks Fire).

You probably think you know who I am, but I'm here to tell you that you don't.

What They Don't Know is a story of two high school girls, two unlikely friends, told through alternating journal entries as a part of Ms. Tilson's English assignment. The synopsis says something about "three big secrets", but really there's just one of any significance, and that is Mellie's. (Since I d
S.M. Harshell
**I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.**

This is one of the most emotionally raw books I've read recently. I wasn't expecting for a book geared toward teen to have the subject matter to be so deep and hold you until the end.

Mellie finds herself pregnant, a product of rape. Her family is extremely conservative. She's been taught and believes abortion is wrong. She knows she doesn't want the baby. Mellie carrying until adoption would have her reliving the rape constantly. S
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4.5/5

I was given this book by Edelweiss for an honest review.
This book was so powerful and I was very emotional, especially towards the end. I'm in a sorority and our national philanthropy is RAINN (Rape Abuse Incent National Network) and we do a lot of fundraising and spread awareness for sexual assault on campus so since this organization was mentioned in this book, it hit close to home.
Sadly, many women go through the things that the main character, Mellie, went thr
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well, it’s a hot-topic book, and there will be some polarized views, no doubt it, but I think that’s a good thing -something to get readers seeing multiple points of view on a complex topic. The journal entry format gives the two protagonists ample opportunity to confide their deepest, most private thoughts (Maggi and her deft pen must have a direct line to the teenage girl mindset). Also, we see Mellie’s (the victim of rape from a non-stranger) complete change -crumpling and folding inward- as ...more
Erin Sokol
This message gave me new perspective on pro-life movement and I appreciated the author’s ability to come at a difficult topic.

While it tried to come at the topic from two POV’s, ultimately it was very one-sided with a LOT of anger around MANY topics, not just abortion. It could be difficult to power through at times, and really did a lot of generalization in both abortion and Christian viewpoints for the sake of the storyline. While I know portions and accounts in the book were true, I do feel
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-ve-won
is book was incredible. I wasn’t expecting it to be about what it was but I’m so glad it turned out the way it did. The story is beautiful and heartbreaking. I think all young women should read this book because this is something that could happen to any of us.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was sent What They Don't Know by Nicole Maggi for review through NetGalley.


What They Don't Know by Nicole Maggi follows Mellie and Lise: two girls who both have big secrets. Mellie comes from a very conservative, Christian background. While Lise is using her voice to help women stand up for their rights. Both girls are assigned to keep a journal for an English class, so they choose to reveal their deepest secrets in hope to find some solace from the things they
Jul 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Arianna Schuman
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really loved this book! It has a really mature story about something a girl or woman should never experience. But, I feel like my eyes opened up a little more because of this book. Made me realize more that not everything is just about my life, my families' life, and my friend's life and anyone else I care about. Other people (Strangers to me) have lives too, and they matter just as much as mine does. Something else I learned is, A lot of other people have problems and some people have no choi ...more
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received this book as an advanced reader's copy and I was curious when I first read the summary of the book because it fit right in to the books our patrons like to read. I got excited when the book was written as journal entries with the point of view of Mellie and how open she was with all of her issues and the life choice she is facing. However, the reason we are giving this book 4 stars is the character of Lise. In the summary it made her to be the most reliable and the only friend Mellie ...more
Mrs. Byrd
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
There should be a mention on this book that it is about abortion. However, no matter how you feel about this subject, this book explores many different aspects of the subject. It is the most interesting and suspenseful on the subject I have ever read. The suspenseful part was the surprise. I couldn’t stop reading to find out what was going to happen next.
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
"What They Don't Know" was quite an emotional ride. What the summary doesn't state but what you find out within the first couple chapters is that Mellie was raped and has just found out she is pregnant (and is considering her options). This is something you may want to consider before picking up the book. That being said, it was definitely worth the read and is pretty much as emotional as you'd expect considering rape, pregnancy at 16 years of age, and abortion as topics. This is not an easy rea ...more
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Nicole was born in the suburban farm country of upstate New York, and began writing at a very early age. Of course, her early works consisted mainly of poems about rainbows and unicorns, although one of them was good enough to win honorable mention in a national poetry contest! (Perhaps one of the judges was a ten-year-old girl.) Throughout high school, her creative writing was always nurtured and ...more