Banned Books #11 What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

banned books

Welcome to this month’s Banned Books feature where Beth and I have read What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones.



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 that even though
I’m almost fifteen
it’s like
my mind
and my body
and my heart
just don’t seem to be able to agree
on anything.

In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2011 (Source)
Chosen by: Chrissi
Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: Okay so we are on to our eleventh of the Banned Books in our series and this is one of the books where I really cannot understand why on earth it was challenged/banned. To me, it was very inoffensive and captured the teenage girl struggling with her raging emotions perfectly. Looking at the reasons for why it was banned I still don’t have a clue. I can’t recall any instance of nudity (perhaps there was but it was so mild I glossed over it) and don’t feel it was sexually explicit in the slightest.

CHRISSI: Not one tiny bit. It is ridiculous that this book has been challenged/banned. I was expecting to find something really offensive, but I certainly don’t think there was anything. There was a little bit of cheeky teenage behaviour but it was so mild that it barely even registered! So no!

How about now?

BETH: This book was published fairly recently (2001) and I don’t think things have changed drastically since then so again, no I don’t see any reasons for it being challenged. Sophie is a typical teenager whose feelings are all over the place now she has discovered the wonder of boys. Trying to understand and work through those feelings I think is very important for teenagers today and I think this book speaks to them on a level they understand and can work with. Perhaps it is aimed more towards the female of the species and goes into quite a lot of detail about kissing but it’s a beautiful and unique take on first love.

CHRISSI: Not at all. It should be definitely promoted to teens in my eyes, because I think it’s a beautiful look at love from a teenager’s point of view. It was so easy to read and I think even those that aren’t keen on reading would get something from this book, and that’s totally what it should be promoting!

What did you think of this book?

BETH: I was surprised about how much I enjoyed this book actually. It’s presented in verse, which we also saw in Banned Book #9 Crank by Ellen Hopkins. I’m not sure exactly why, but I preferred this books style of writing compared to Crank which felt a bit disjointed at times. It sent me right back to being a teenager and how it felt when I thought I was in love. The author has captured the teenage voice amazingly and I think it will speak to many kids today.

CHRISSI: When Beth told me that this book was in verse, I have to admit, I was a little worried. I didn’t enjoy Crank which was in verse too, as much as I wanted to. However, this book had a totally different vibe to it and I very much enjoyed reading it. I flew through it in one sitting. I agree with Beth that the teenage voice has been captured wonderfully. This book is a perfect read for teenagers in love!

Would you recommend it?

BETH: Of course!

CHRISSI: Of course!

7 thoughts on “Banned Books #11 What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

  1. I really like this feature!
    Also, sometimes I just don’t get life.
    From what I can gather of this book from your opinions, it seems to be an average book, why ban it and not Fifty Shades of Grey. Sorry fans of FSG but your book in my opinion is a slaughter of those bamboo trees.

  2. Pingback: Birds and the Big Dipper // The Beautiful Blogger Award | Nut Free Nerd

  3. Hello, my daughter is 11, and has already been on her emotional Rollercoaster called puberty for over a year. She’s in a 7th grade reading level, and I’m trying to dims bonds for her. Do you think she is too young for this book? Definitely not trying to have her grow up too soon, but also don’t want to necessarily hide things from her. Something that could let her work out her own emotions in the future would be great. Let me know what you think.

    • That’s a really hard question to answer as it really depends on the maturity of your daughter. It doesn’t have anything too explicit, but I would recommend that if you’re worried you have a little scan of the book before you give it to her. Some 11 year olds are very mature and able to cope with the content. I hope that helps!

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