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When You Know What I Know

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  241 ratings  ·  63 reviews
This is an alternate cover edition of this book.

A sensitive, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful novel in verse about one girl's journey in the aftermath of abuse.

One day after school, on the couch in the basement, Tori's uncle did something bad. Afterward, Tori tells her mom. Even though telling was a brave thing to do, her mom still doesn't believe her at first. Her grand
Published March 24th 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
This one hurts, but wow, what an important place in the world this little book has found.

As a survivor, reading books about trauma and healing is a very cathartic act for me, so I tend to pick them up every so often. I think this was my first middle grade book on the subject, so I wasn't sure how many punches I should expect to be pulled. Honestly, that answer was practically none. While there's no explicit detail given of the trauma — and there's none needed — Solter still does a tremendous jo
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This really is a must read. And I believe should be on school reading lists too. I will certainly be asking my girls to read it.
It is so heartbreakingly sad, and unfortunately so real.
Very well written.
Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

This is one of those books that is gut-wrenching. The novel, told in sparse verse, details the year following Tori's abuse. Her uncle did something bad and Tori tells her mom. She didn't want to and her mom didn't believe her at first, so Tori struggles on her own for a while. Then, after some events at school, her mother accepts the truth. But others don't. Her
Becky Shaknovich
#metoo for middle grades. It’s totally depressing that the world needs this book... but it does. Every public and school library should get at least one copy of WYKWIK. This honest, accessible, and age-appropriate novel in verse is a quick read that has the power to soothe and educate.
Chance Lee
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Respectful and realistic. I almost didn't read it when I saw it was a novel-in-verse, but I can't think of any other way it could have been written.
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book about a little girl being molested by her uncle was well written for young girls to read. Tori tells her mother and her mother doesn't believe her at first. Later her mother begins to suspect that she is telling the truth. Tori sees a therapist and slowly comes to accept what happened to her and realizes that it was not her fault. At the end of the book, Tori is looking forward to each new day and is happy.
Laura Gardner
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my heart! 💔
I loved this book about a girl struggling with her emotions and eventually finding hope after experiencing familial sexual abuse.
novel in verse ✅
#ownvoices ✅
tough topic ✅
delicate delivery ✅
focus on recovery ✅
debut novel ✅
This book is important to have in your elementary and middle school library. You never know who needs a book like this one.

#middleschoollibrarian #middleschoollibrary #library #librarian #futurereadylibs #iteachlibrary #bookstagrammer #bookstagram #libr
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a powerful read. This is a middle grade novel that packs a punch. The topic is heavy and sad, however, the verse text helps make it readable and gives it broad appeal. It is very well-written, with an age-appropriate voice.
Cody Roecker
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely essential. Harrowing, haunting, and hopeful WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT I KNOW is a novel in verse about the aftermath of sexual abuse- and it is stunning
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Such a beautiful written book with such a hard topic but I truly enjoyed this book. I also love reading books in verse so that was a plus.
I learned about When You Know What I Know from a New York Times article about new middle grade books tackling subjects such as sexual abuse, pairing it with Chirp by Kate Messner and Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee, both of which I think are two of the 5 most important middle grade books of 2020. The article also mentions Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, which was astonishingly good. Gasp out loud good. Rip open your heart and make it bigger good.

I read this book just afte
Sarah Lynn
A short and poignant read on the aftermath of molestation, presented in a more-than-accessible way for the target age group. Nicely done, Solter.
Nov 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book will catch you in the feels. It is the story of a young girl that was abused by her uncle. She tells her mother but she does not believe her. We follow her in the aftermath as she begins to deteriorate and then slowly rebuild herself. It is a tough read but very well done. I would recommend it and think that it would be good for kids to read for the discussions that can come from it.
A Lil' Bit
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Kelley
Many thanks to Edelweiss Plus and Hachette Book Group for providing me with a free advanced digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

When I finished reading this story I couldn’t move. I sat and considered every word I had just read within the pages of this book. This is a gut-wrenching yet necessary read. Written in verse this story centers around Tori and what happened to her.

Tori is touched inappropriately by her uncle. She tells her mother what her uncle had done and sadly her mother d
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
When You Know What I Know by Sonja K. Solter, 204 pages. Little, Brown and Company, 2020. $17.

Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG; Violence: G;



When 10yo Tori tells her mom that Uncle Andy molested her, her mom doesn’t believe her at first. It had to be a misunderstanding. Was it? Tori is filled with shame, anger, and confusion. Her whole life has changed in a few minutes. Her every thought is consumed with the “what ifs”, until fi
Ayla Bergeron
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This story was short, but utterly heart-wrenching. It's told in poems by a young girl whose uncle abused her. The poems are so well-written and seem like Tori really wrote/thought them. The use of different fonts and punctuation make them read very emotionally. I especially appreciate that this is a middle grade book because this is a topic considered "too taboo" for that age group. However, this book handed it very well and age-appropriately. I definitely recommend picking it up.
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, children-s, 2020, poems
I finished this book in one sitting. It's absolutely heart-rending and awful, but it's necessary. The author is very kind to their reader and makes the reading experience of this horrific thing tolerable with her format choice, simple but clear vocabulary, and straightforward movement of the plot. The story hits close to home (not mine but close enough) and I'm glad it exists for all the people who need it to heal.

Thank you for existing.
Lorie Barber
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Powerful in-verse novel about an almost-11-year-old who’s uncle touches her inappropriately. The aftermath is devastating to her - obviously - and to her entire family & friends. Make no mistake; this is a middle-grade. And while it’s heart-wrenching, we need stories that show our kids that you can come out of darkness and into the light. ...more
Kelly McWilliams
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a gem of a book that deserves to become a classic of children's literature.

If you're afraid of the heavy topic, don't be: Tori's journey is handled with such grace, such candor, and ultimately with such affirming love that you can't help but feel uplifted by this sweet, tender novel in verse. As a reader, I was rooting for Tori every step of the way, cheering her on as she struggled to overcome a life-altering trauma.

While this novel importantly and urgently tackles the subject of abuse
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, childrens
When You Know What I Know deals with a serious topic (the aftermath of child molestation) with grace and sensitivity at a level appropriate for middle-grade and up. It is in the first person from the perspective of the child who was abused, and is written in free verse. For me reading it was an emotional experience, as the writing and the structure of the novel drew me so effectively into the narrator's head that I felt as if I was feeling and going through everything she was. The arc of the nar ...more
KaLynn Yazzie
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eng471
We learn about the aftermath of Tori being a victim of sexual assault by a family member. Through Tori, we see the hardships of her having to repeat her story to a best friend, sister, mother, and teacher. The rollercoaster of emotions she deals with, almost losing a best friend, having to go to school, connecting with her father, the anger and depression that smothers her to lash out. We see how a young adult goes through it, with some insights into how adults reacting to a younger person.

I ab
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This incredible. WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT I KNOW (releasing 3/24) by Sonja K. Solter is a powerful novel in verse about surviving sexual abuse. Yes, a heavy topic, but utterly real and most regrettably, relevant and necessary. When we meet Tori, who is almost eleven, it’s immediately after the devastating and traumatizing molestation by her uncle (never explicitly revealing what exactly happened in the basement). Her journey to healing is full of raw emotion and she struggles to cope ...more
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
More 4.5 The imagery in some of the poems is breathtaking (no pun intended):
"And it was like she put
a pillow over my
brain and I couldn't -
couldn't breathe,
couldn't think anymore."
It's even better in context.

I'll acknowledge that I'm not 100% which kid I would hand this to (unless they came to me with a really heartbreaking reader's advisory question, which is probably unlikely because even kids don't tend to tell strangers this kind of personal business) but I firmly believe that it's the sort
This was such an important book to read; Tori is eleven years old when something awful happens to her by a favorite uncle. At first her mom does not believe her and also her grandmother; devastating to say the least and the author does a great job in her novel in verse with the many stages that Tori experiences within herself (fear, loathing, anger), her family, in school, and with her best friend. Tori for the longest time can only think about and agonize over it; she is frozen in time, back wh ...more
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘When You Know What I Know’ by Sonja K. Solter is a book that will stick with me for a long time.
Written in verse, this book follows ten-year-old Tori and the aftermath of her being molested by her uncle. She is brave enough to tell her mom what happened but it puts stains on the family and her school life begins to suffer as she closes herself off.
This book is significant and deeply moving. I could feel the pain and sadness Tori was going through and just wanted to reach out and give her a hu
[ARC] my opinion of this was tempered because I'd literally JUST finished Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's "Fighting Words," which is an INSANELY good #metoo book, but this just felt SO short and surface-level. Obviously a novel in verse has an entirely different flow than a narrative novel, but even so...? And maybe this will be...less jarring? for kids overall since "Fighting Words" covers so many other hard topics? I don't know. This wasn't my favorite but also not my least-favorite middle-years # ...more
Meag McKeron
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juv-fiction, debut
This covers such a heavy topic for such a young age (elementary/middle school) but it’s an important book to have out there. It’s written in a way that it can speak to any child who has experienced what Tori has - while it’s clear that she was molested by her uncle, it doesn’t go into details and moreso focuses on Tori’s struggles to understand what happened and how to cope with it. A valuable book for both victims and their friends and loved ones to read.
Chelsea Kelly
4/5 Stars: ‘When You Know What I Know’ is a Middle Grade, Poetic Contemporary by Sonja Solter; ‘When You Know What I Know’ offers hope after trauma, in an unromanticised way. This gentle take on a sensitive subject is comforting for a child coping with the effects of sexual abuse, as a result of this, there are no graphic details surrounding the abuse. The poetry conveys the sense of participating intimately in the psychological and social impacts of trauma, in verse, and the aftermath of abuse. ...more
Bethany Parker
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, this is definitely a YA text. Similarly to Speak , it is a dark topic. Does it being a dark topic make it inappropriate for young adults to read? Absolutely not. I desperately hope this book finds the hands of students that need it. The novel discusses the long-term effects of abuse, your family dismissing your experience, and how to move forward with your scars. Powerful, sad, and important.
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book handles the main character's abuse in such a realistic, eloquent way. While it can be hard to read at times, it isn't graphic. It has a hopeful ending as well. This would be an excellent resource to have in any library, as there aren't many books dealing with such a heavy topic as molestation - especially for this age group - and it may help someone feel seen.
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Children's book author Sonja K Solter spent her childhood summers in her mother's homeland of Finland and traveled the world extensively with her family. She read so voraciously as a child that she once brought over 70 books on a trip. (Her mother is still trying to figure out how that slipped by her.) Sonja graduated with an interdisciplinary degree in Human Biology from Stanford University and h ...more

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