On My Bookshelf // One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones

Happy Friday! It’s the weekend! Do you have any exciting plans?

This week I was jumping back and forth between two different books (well, three if you count the audiobook I listened to) and I’m really looking forward to talking about the second book that I was reading very soon!

For today, I’m excited to talk about One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, by Sonya Sones. I recently reorganized one of my bookshelves and pulled this one out. I think it was about two years ago I discovered some new verse novelists and was so excited that for a month or two that’s pretty much all I read. I bought all of Sones’s books and read the other two, but I guess I didn’t get to this one and it was shoved to the back of my bookshelf. I haven’t read a verse novel for awhile, so I was excited to read this one.

If you haven’t heard of a verse novel before, it’s pretty much what it sounds like: a novel written in verse.

One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies is about Ruby, who has to leave her best friend and boyfriend and move to Los Angeles after the death of her mother to live with the father she’s never met, because he left her mom before she was even born. And it just so happens that her father is Whip Johnson, the famous actor that everyone in the U.S. loves, except for Ruby, of course, and she hopes that her story won’t turn into one of those hideous books where the mother dies.

“Suddenly I’m one big goosebump.
 I’ve never seen a dolphin in the ocean before.”

I love verse novels. I know that they can be really hit or miss with people, but when they’re well-written, I think they can be perfect for contemporary novels, particularly in YA. There’s just something about the format that really lends itself to the turmoil of teenage emotions, especially when they’re going through something big, like Ruby losing her mother and leaving her home. The reader is in her thoughts right away, feeling what she’s feeling.

The premise of this book is a little far-fetched–teenage girl moves in with world famous actor father after mother dies–but that didn’t bother me at all. I like it when books take the reader into a setting like that.

I grew to love the characters right away. I enjoyed following Ruby as she dealt with mixed emotions over everything in her life; she was drawn to her dad but hated him for never showing an interest in her, she had mixed feelings about her mom. It was such a realistic characteristic for Ruby–and for any teenager, I think. I also loved Whip. I wasn’t sure if I would, but from the start there was something about his character that drew me in. He didn’t act like an uninterested father, so from the start I was excited to see how the story would play out.

There were a few “surprises” in the book that didn’t catch me off guard at all. Still, having an idea of what was to come didn’t prevent me from enjoying the novel. This book is really about following along with Ruby as she grieves for her mother and deals with how she feels about her dad and the move to LA.

I loved this novel and would recommend it, especially if you’d like to try a verse novel.


PS – Check out my most recent On My Bookshelf and my book-to-movie review of Love, Rosie!

// Nominate a book for August’s book club read!

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