Sones, Sonya. 2004. ONE OF THOSE HIDEOUS BOOKS WHERE THE MOTHER DIES. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0689858205 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-10]
When Ruby’s mother dies, she must move across the country, from the east coast to the west, to live with her movie star father, Whip Logan, a man she has never met and who has been notably absent in her life. Her grief, bitterness, and teenage cynicism is played out poignantly in this verse novel by master poet, Sonya Sones. Equal parts poignant and funny, this novel moves quickly in a series of free verse poems that pulse with rhythm and irony. Poem titles even hook the reader and forecast Ruby’s shifting attitudes.
Teen readers fascinated with the Hollywood film scene will be intrigued by the mock “behind the scenes” view of life in Los Angeles where Ruby moves into a movie star mansion and attends a private Hollywood high school. But they will also be drawn into her struggles with leaving a best friend and boyfriend behind, making new friends in a new place and forging a relationship with a dad who has his own surprises to reveal. Her slow thaw and believable healing are movingly portrayed.
Teens may enjoy contrasting Sones’ book with the movie star magazines that reflect celebrity lives mentioned in the book—like Cameron Diaz, Eminem, etc. What might it be like to grow up as the child of a famous parent?
Sones also excels at conveying the complex experience of grieving the loss of a loved one. Share resources with readers that provide support through the grieving process, such as 800 phone helplines, local counselors, therapists and clergy, teen support groups, and related books.
Other novels with characters grieving:
SPEAK. ISBN 014131088X
THE FIRST PART LAST. ISBN 0689849222
Other books by Sones that could be compared to this one:
STOP PRETENDING: WHAT HAPPENED WHEN MY BIG SISTER WENT CRAZY. ISBN 0064462188
WHAT MY MOTHER DOESN'T KNOW. ISBN 0689855532
By Sylvia M. Vardell