Sones, Sonya. Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy. Harper Teen, 2016 (reprint). ISBN 978-0064462181 160 pp. $10.99
In Stop Pretending, the unconventional (for the times of the original publication date) topic of mental illness is addressed in a unique way from a new voice: narrator Cookie uses poetry to express her confusion, grief, rage, fear, and hope when the older sister she idolizes checks into a mental hospital. This trauma overshadows and flavors the traditional struggles of being a teen: peer acceptance, family squabbles, first love.
Sones’s simple poems reveal raw emotion with immediate honesty and eloquence. Teens will empathize with Cookie and her family’s experience. A brief author’s note describes her personal experiences the book grew out of. Organizations that provide and support are listed. A must have.