Well this was a very short read, took me a little over an hour to read this book. Don't get yourself in bunches, it is written in poetry style. The writing flowed very nicely and easily read. I almost found myself annoyed at this book and it's 15 year old thoughts. But, it was rather funny as I can remember myself being that way. I would suggest this ONLY to young teens.
Through a series of poems, the teenage narrator, Sophie, tells the story of her first experiences with love. Focusing on the universal experiences of adolescence, she discusses her relationships with family, friends, and boys as she struggles to reach adulthood. Sophie moves through her first relationships with the support of her childhood friends Grace and Rachel, who are also experiencing their new loves. The beginning section of the book describes the teen's intensely romantic relationship with her first love, Dylan. When Dylan asks her not to mention that she's Jewish to his prejudiced mother, Sophie is heartbroken. Her relationship with Dylan morphs into a friendship after she meets her second love, Chaz, in a chat room on the Internet. Sophie's cyber love is short lived and gives way to a more meaningful relationship with the unpopular and often bullied Robin Murphy. In addition to the stress of maintaining relationships with friends and boyfriends, Sophie struggles to understand and be understood by her mother, an overly emotional soap-opera addict. The distance that she feels from her family mirrors her feelings of isolation from the rest of society.
Sonya Sones created in Sophie an easily accessible character for young adolescents. Readers can identify with the issues the protagonist faces, as they are all universal experiences involving family, friendships, love, race, gender, class, and culture. Sones also writes in narrative poetry, which is easy and fun to read. This type of writing is especially accessible for reluctant readers. Unfortunately, the book lacks a male point of view. Readers only see the perspective of the female characters. This book needs to be supplemented with other material that provides a male perspective.
A very fast read, and I was surprised by how much plot one can get across in poetry, but I was distracted by the ugly font in which the text is set, Tekton. I guess it's supposed to make the poems look handwritten, but then they used italics for emphasis instead of underlining. And e-mails and instant messages are set in even uglier ornamental fonts, instead of monotype.
But that's just me.
From Publishers Weekly
Drawing on the recognizable cadences of teenage speech, Sones (Stop Pretending) poignantly captures the tingle and heartache of being young and boy-crazy. The author keenly portrays ninth-grader Sophie's trajectory of lusty crushes and disillusionment whether she is gazing at Dylan's "smoldery dark eyes" or dancing with a mystery man to music that "is slow/ and/ saxophony." Best friends Rachel and Grace provide anchoring friendships for Sophie as she navigates her home life as an only child with a distant father and a soap opera-devotee mother whose "shrieking whips around inside me/ like a tornado." Some images of adolescent changes carry a more contemporary cachet, "I got my period I prefer/ to think of it as/ rebooting my ovarian operating system," others are consciously cliched, "my molehills/ have turned into mountains/ overnight" this just makes Sophie seem that much more familiar. With its separate free verse poems woven into a fluid and coherent narrative with a satisfying ending, Sophie's honest and earthy story feels destined to captivate a young female audience, avid and reluctant readers alike.
From School Library Journal
A story written in poetry form. Sophie is happily dating Dylan, "until he's practically glued himself to my side." Then she falls for cyberboy ("if I could marry a font/I'd marry his"). Imagine her surprise when he becomes downright scary. In the satisfying ending, Sophie finds the perfect boyfriend-someone she's known all along. Sones is a bright, perceptive writer who digs deeply into her protagonist's soul. There she reveals the telltale signs of being "boy crazy"; the exciting edginess of cyber romances; the familiar, timeless struggle between teens and parents; and the anguish young people feel when their parents fight. But life goes on, and relationships subtly change. Sones's poems are glimpses through a peephole many teens may be peering through for the first time, unaware that others are seeing virtually the same new, scary, unfamiliar things (parents having nuclear meltdowns, meeting a boyfriend's parents, crying for no apparent reason). In What My Mother Doesn't Know, a lot is revealed about the teenage experience-("could I really be falling for that geek I dissed a month ago?"), clashes with close friends, and self-doubts. It could, after all, be readers' lives, their English classes, their hands in a first love's. Of course, mothers probably do know these goings-on in their daughters' lives. It's just much easier to believe they don't. Sones's book makes these often-difficult years a little more livable by making them real, normal, and OK.
In a fast, funny, touching book, Sones uses the same simple, first-person poetic narrative she used in Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy (1999), but this story isn't about family anguish; it's about the joy and surprise of falling in love. Sophie, 14, thinks she has a crush on handsome Dylan, but she discovers that her most passionate feelings are for someone totally unexpected, a boy who makes her laugh and shows her how to look at the world. And when they kiss, every cell in her body is on fire. Meanwhile, she fights with her mom--who fights with Sophie's dad--and she refuses to wear a pink flowered dress to the school dance, secretly changing into a slinky black outfit with the help of her girlfriends. Their girl talk is hilarious and irreverent in the style of Naylor's Alice books. The poetry is never pretentious or difficult; on the contrary, the very short, sometimes rhythmic lines make each page fly. Sophie's voice is colloquial and intimate, and the discoveries she makes are beyond formula, even while they are as sweetly romantic as popular song. A natural for reluctant readers, this will also attract young people who love to read.
Another great teen book, funny, entertaining, life changing, What My Mother Doesn't Know, was a favorite book of mine growing up, written through poems and diary entries, the main character writes and tells the story of her life and what it's like growing up and the challenges of being a teen.
Love the fact that it is in poetry format. Creative idea and the poetry is easy to read.
Meet Sophie. She sees herself as the too-tall "Mount Everest of teenage girls," who, along with her friends, often suffers from "lackonookie disease." She's dating smoky, sexy Dylan, covertly chatting online with "cybersoul"-mate Chaz, and secretly nursing a crush on sweet, geeky Murphy. Her two best friends are closer to her than sisters, and she "hates hating" her soap opera-addicted mom, wishing "she would show half as much interest in my life as she does in Luke and Laura's."
Sophie's mother doesn't know about the boy who's pressing Sophie to go further than she wants. Or about the boy she chats with online. These sharp, funny, and tragic poems tell of Sophie's sometimes painful but always passionate journey of self-discovery.
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 even though I'm almost fifteen it's like my mind and my body and my heart just don't seem to be anle to agree on anything.