What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones


Three stars, read for Banned Books Week in 2011.

This book was not as engaging as other young adult romance I’ve read—Sarah Dessen, E. Lockhart, Judy Blume, Louise Rennison, Laurie Halse Anderson, Lauren Myracle, Carolyn Mackler, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor all do it much better—but I have to admit I do like the ones that are written in free verse because it’s so easy to just breeze right through them. I can see myself maybe reading more of this series at some point, but it’s not something I feel the need to pick up immediately.

Like the books by the authors I listed above, What My Mother Doesn’t Know is all about a young girl’s high school experience. There’s no outside force, no bigger social issue or saving-the-world plotline like in The Hunger Games or Uglies; it’s just the story of a teenager’s everyday life, love interests, and problems with her parents. Sophie’s first few relationships are shallow, impulsive teen flings, but I think the relationship that’s in progress when the book ends actually shows a lot of growth and maturity on her part. The guy is someone who gets made fun of a lot, and who Sophie herself has always avoided and considered weird, but you see her make almost unconscious choices to change her behavior toward him until finally she realizes she has feelings for him.

According to Wikipedia (and an ALA article that I can’t get to because it has a redirect loop), the source of the challenge is most often the “poem” called “Ice Capades,” in which Sophie is entertained by the reaction of her bare breasts to a cold window pane.

Published 2003. Thirty-one on the list of most challenged books for 2000-2009.

Reasons challenged: nudity, offensive language, sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.

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