I read my first Sonya Sones' book, What My Mother Doesn't Know, as a teen. Pre-Ellen Hopkins, Sones introduced me to novels in verse, and I've been a fan ever since. In addition to a unique writing style, Sones demonstrates incredible insight into the life and mind of a typical teenager even if the circumstances are atypical as they are in one of Sones' earlier novels, One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies.
"Fifteen-year-old Ruby Milliken leaves her best friend, her boyfriend, her aunt, and her mother's grave in Boston and reluctantly flies to Los Angeles to live with her father, a famous movie star who divorced her mother before Ruby was born."
I received a copy of One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies at the National Council of Teachers of English Conference where I met Sonya Sones, and I read it on the plane ride home. It is a quick yet compelling read. Although a bit campy at times, Ruby is dealing with heavy issues of grief, homesickness, and betrayal which, to a fifteen year old, signal the end of the world. The novel was very poignant in places, and I found myself blinking back tears. I refused to cry on a crowded plane, but it says something about the power of Sones' storytelling abilities that she could have me considering it. Despite some tough plot points, the novel is set against a backdrop of Hollywood starlets, which will appeal to young teen readers.
Best matched with pre-teen or early teen readers.