Sunday, June 24, 2007
What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
Picking up exactly where What My Mother Doesn't Know ended, but switching viewpoints from Sophie to Robin, this sequel tells the continuing story of the romance of the unlikely beauty-and -the-beast pair of teenaged artists. It is hardly a happily-ever-after story as Robin gets an opportunity to audit an art class at Harvard and discovers that there is life after High School. And both of them must struggle with the problems of a popular girl dating an unpopular boy.
The first book is among my very few four-star books and my absolute favorite of Sones's books. Sequels always have a tendency to disappoint (or at least lack the novelty of the originals). But what really killed this book for me was the change of perspective. Sophie was a fascinating character, Robin simply is not. I think there are two reasons for this. One is that Sones really doesn't have as good of a hold over adolescent boys (as she does on adolescent girls). But I also think that the teenaged male psyche doesn't lend itself as well to free verse poetry as her girls do. A stereotype to be certain, but it is honestly hard to find Robin's voice to be plausible. It's an interesting experiment and a lot braver writing than Sones has done before, but it falls flat.