From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up—This sequel to What My Mother Doesn't Know
(S & S, 2001) stands completely on its own. Robin's life at Cambridge High School is miserable. The arty outsider's last name becomes the pejorative slang of the school—as in, "Don't be such a Murphy." His lot improves, however, when popular Sophie becomes his girlfriend despite the detriment to her reputation. Better still, the freshman is invited to audit an art class at Harvard. It is his homecoming; for once, he is the comedian rather than the butt of jokes. One of the college freshmen even shows some romantic interest in him. Written as a novel in verse, this title is a fast-paced, page-turning romp that gives authentic voice to male youth even when it is painfully truthful.—Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL
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*Starred Review* In What My Mother Doesn't Know
(2001), 14-year-old Sophie, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, teen, describes her surprise when she is drawn to Robin, the school-appointed loser who makes her laugh. In this sequel, Robin picks up the narrative in rapid-fire, first-person free verse as he describes their school's reaction to the relationship: "They're gawking at us / like Sophie's Beauty and I'm the Beast." Sophie compares the two to outlaws: "It's just you and me against the world." But after Sophie's friends dump her, Robin feels guilty for the "random acts of unkindness" she endures: "Sophie may feel
like an outlaw, / but thanks to yours truly, / what she really
is / is an outcast
." A talented artist, Robin finds escape in a Harvard drawing class, where a new friendship threatens his closeness with Sophie. The story of a thrilling and faltering first love may be familiar, but Robin's believable voice is distinctive, and Sones uses her spare words (and a few drawings) to expert effect. From bad puns to breathless accounts of locking lips to anguished worries about losing Sophie, Robin reinforces the picture of an awkward, likable, intelligent, and realistically flawed young man. Many teens will see themselves, and they'll cheer when Sophie and Robin thwart the bullies and reclaim their social standing. Like Sones' other titles, this is a great choice for reluctant and avid readers alike. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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