I love Sonya Sones’s work and was shocked I didn’t even know this was coming out and had to just come across it on the shelf! Well, no matter, because I got it into my hands and quickly read it up (is it wrong that one of the things I like about her books is how quick they are to read? it also helped that I had a hair appointment last night and lots of time to read).
Like her other books this one is also in poetry form. I think she is a master at making this form suit her story and be able to convey so much of the characters, as well as the unfolding of the story. I checked this out without even reading what it was about and it’s been quite a while since I read or booktalked What My Mother Doesn’t Know and thus it took me a while to realize that this is a sequel! Yep, this is the story of Sophie and Robin (Murphy), who get together at the end of What My Mother.. It’s definitely a stand alone book because this was from Robin’s point of view and such a separate story.
Robin is head over heels for Sophie, a kindred spirit who loves drawing as much as he does. They’ve gotten together over vacation and he is sure that when they return to school it will be all over. You see, he is an utter reject at school. So much so that his name, Murphy, has become a synonym for someone who is an idiot or loser. Happily Sophie is made of strong stuff and her feelings for Robin are strong too. So much so that she stays with him, losing her two best friends and subjecting herself to ridicule. I have to say that these kids go to the world’s worst high school. The students there are abominably cruel. Just awful. And while the art teacher is the requisite understanding sensitive adult figure (I don’t mean that to sound as bad as it does-he was a wonderful character and I’d love him to be my teacher), I was so angry that no other adults in the school were noticing what was going on. Seriously, I kept thinking “this is the kind of school where someone is going to commit suicide because other students were so awful to some poor kid and they did nothing to stop it.” I always feel that when I get that heated up about people and have to step back and say “they are made up. it’s fiction”, that the writing must be very good to evoke such an emotional reaction.
Anyway, I really liked how funny and smart Robin and Sophie were, how they explored their sexual feelings for each other, and how they coped at school. But what I really liked best about this book was the parts where Robin gets to audit a college class. Outside of his high school he meets people who don’t know the baggage associated with him. Who don’t think he’s a loser. Who think he is just a funny talented artist. I hope that every high school kid who feels like he or she doesn’t fit in reads this and realizes that after high school you get a new start, with new people, where you can be yourself and be appreciated for it. That’s a powerful message and while I liked the romance of this story, that message is what rings truest and most loudly to me.