Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy by Sonya Sones
Publisher:  HarperTempest
Published  February 28th 2006
Paperback, 149 pages  
Challenge:  100 Books in 2011, Support Your Public Library 

It happens just like that, in the blink of an eye. An older sister has a mental breakdown and has to be hospitalized. A younger sister is left behind to cope with a family torn apart by grief and friends who turn their backs on her. But worst of all is the loss of her big sister, her confidante, her best friend, who has gone someplace no one can reach.

In the tradition of The Bell Jar, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, and Lisa, Bright and Dark comes this haunting first book told in poems, and based on the true story of the author’s life.

2000 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA) and 2000 Quick Picks for Young Adults (Recomm. Books for Reluctant Young Readers)

In celebration of National Poetry Month I am devouring Verse Novels all month long.  Stop Pretending is an amazing read and a great place to start this month off right.  Cookie is forced to deal with something that many pretend does not exist, or at least many can ignore.  Cookie can’t ignore her sister’s mental breakdown and her stay in the Psych Ward.  When her sister is committed Cookie’s world starts to unravel – her parents are either fighting or pretending everything is alright.  She becomes silent at school and her friends start to drift away. 

While Cookie’s outer-world is greatly affected it is her inner-world that is turned upside down the most, and forever changed.  While the outside world moves on she starts a very personal journey, one in which she sometimes questions her own sanity… Cookie has lost her sister, her best friend, the one person in the world she feels understands her the best.  But has she really lost her sister?? She knows her sister is sick but cannot understand why she is not her normal, fun, laughing self.  She clings to the past in hopes she will return.  Cookie learns that her sister will never be the same she once was, and neither will Cookie. She loves her sister no matter what, accepting her for who she is. 

Sonya Sones paints a heartbreaking yet empowering story through poetry.  While her sentences may be short and small, her words are heavy with emotion literally dripping off the pages.  During Cookie’s visits with her sister in the Psych Ward you feel you right there beside her, feeling her fear and sadness, and then hope.  Stop Pretending was inspired from Sonya Sone’s personal experiences.  Her personal emotions are clearly translated into every page, urging you to walk her journey with her. Stop Pretending is also a great companion for those who are experiencing the same – no matter what things are bright, loving, and accepting.  

My Rating:


Find more information about Sonya Sones and all her amazing books at her WebPage

Check Out All Of Sonya Sones’ Verse Novels: