Monday, November 14, 2011

What My Mother Doesn't Know

Sones, S. (2001). What my mother doesn't know. NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

LS5385 YA Lit/Censored (fiction)

Aren't these different covers interesting, and don't they each send a different message about what the book's about?   The first cover is the one that was available at both my public library and the high school library. Pretty innocuous I'd say and not much indicator of what's inside . . .

Amazon carries the second cover for its hardcover and the third cover for paperback.  Cover two says, "tee hee. naughty me." Don't you agree?

And cover three is more the image of the sneaky, mischievous teen. Would you guess what she's up to by that look??

The fourth is an Indonesian cover (Ssst -- Jangan Bilang-Bilang Ibuku). I like the Indonesian "Ssst!" and the cover art gives a hint that there's something up.  The boy's face might give us a hint of fun to come, huh? But the drawings are more innocent.

Fifth is the French cover, and of course, stereotypically, it is categorized as "Histoires de coeur" - love stories.  Before I read the book, based on the cover blurb, this one seemed the farthest from the story. And the translation is more like "all that which I have never told my mother," which may indicate a bit more depth.

Finally, the sixth cover came off a German website, so I guess that's their version which screams "ah, the fun of love and lust as a fourteen-year-old. Good times!"

Okay, so I'm being a bit sarcastic especially given that all I've read is the cover blurb.  We will see if I am feeling more tolerant after I read the book. . . Stay tuned.
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Wow! What a completely cute book and not at all what I thought it was going to be.  I think that since I've read so many YA Lit books about loose morals and flaky teens, I assumed that this was going to be about a girl who was sleeping around.  To my delight, it's not at all! It's very much about the fickle, love him/hate him feelings that girls have at that age - and all about kissing.   One day the boy's adorable and all-consuming, and the next day everything about him makes the main character (Sophie) crazy. On to the next crush! 

Now that I've read the book, I'd say covers one and five most fit the story.  It is yet another story written in first person, free verse (like Crank, Blankets, and Out of the Dust), but it worked.  I enjoyed Sophie's insights and how she laughed at herself for being so fickle.  There was a sadness in her reflections about her family, but pure joy in her friendships.  The only bothersome aspect of the book was the rather abrupt ending, but I guess it was apropos.  Sophie follows her heart, and for once, her heart and body and mind are all lined-up with the right choice for a boyfriend.  The reader just has to assume that it all turns out great because it was meant to be.

Teenage girls will love this book because it's a very quick read (like an hour, hour and a half despite being 259 pages), the main and secondary characters are very recognizable, and Sophie's self-doubts and also her up & down confidence are something most teens can relate to.  And of course, she finds her love and seems to live happily ever after.

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