Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy

Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy

by Sonya Sones


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Continuously in print for nearly two decades, this groundbreaking and profoundly moving story told in verse, from award-winning author Sonya Sones, has been repackaged with a striking new cover and bonus content.

When her beloved older sister is hospitalized after a sudden mental breakdown, Cookie is left behind to cope with a family torn apart by grief, friends who shun her, and her fear that she, too, might one day lose her mind.

Based on award-winning author Sonya Sones’s own true story, this novel explores the chilling landscape of mental illness, revealing glimmers of beauty and of hope along the way. Told in a succession of short and powerful poems, it takes us deep into the cyclone of the narrator’s emotions: despair, anger, guilt, resentment, and ultimately, acceptance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780064462181
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/12/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 173,304
Product dimensions: 0.00(w) x 0.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Sonya Sones has written seven novels in verse: The Opposite of Innocent, Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy; What My Mother Doesn’t Know and its companion, What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know; One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies; To Be Perfectly Honest; and Saving Red. Sonya’s books have received many honors, but she was especially thrilled when she learned that she was on the American Library Association’s list of the Most Frequently Challenged Authors of the 21st Century. She lives near the beach in California. You can visit her at or write her at

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Stop Pretending: What Happened when My Big Sister Went Crazy 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 84 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was heart-warming. it had such depth and soul, i couldn't put it down. it takes a toll on your emotions you never thought possible and you'll welcome it. i couldnt put it down and i finished this book in literally two hours. Sonya Sones uses few words but they are definitely the 'write' ones.
CarolyneBegin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this poetry book. I found it to be a very interesting way of documenting the authors feelings. It chronicles the months of Cookies life after her big sister has a mental breakdown and is institutionalized. It is full of emotion and demonstrates the grieving process that she goes through as she loses her sister, her family, and some friends. It describes the events that she is going through as well as wonderful memories that she has of her sister. The emotions described vary from grief, to anger, to guilt, and acceptance. They are extremely realistic and well documented. I wish this book had been out when I was growing up as it hit really close to home. I feel that it would be beneficial to read for anyone who may be going through a similar experience. The effect it has on a family is heartbreaking and a book such as this one could really help children. It is very memorable and well written. The poems often stand alone but put together tell a story. I highly recommend it.
jeaxra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was in about 5th grade and again in 8th. It's still stuck with me. I love the way Sonya tells this story and how well she's able to create so much depth and feeling in very few words. Love this story.
LilyMoayeri on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have never read about mental illness written in such a beautiful way. Sonya Sones' falling rhythm poems tell the story of when her eldest sister (by seven years) had a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized. These short and powerful, easy-to-read and even easier to understand poems explicitly detail the author's feelings towards her situation, her sister, her mother, her father, her friends, herself. Devoured in a quick sitting, the impact of these poems are lasting. A beautiful way to deal with mental illness.
dgutierrez54 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A girls sister goes crazy on Christmas and she doesnt know why she is mad because her sister has forgotten her name and her sister acts like she doesnt know her which makes her mad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
About mental illness , i dont remember what i paid but hope i didnt pay too much for 100 plus pages
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
A little short but the tone was there and the writing was good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book really moved me...especially because I'm going through something similar now. My favorite part, though was the Author's Note at the end... her sister was able to live a relatively normal life. I hope I can look forward to that in my situation too. 
miztrebor More than 1 year ago
Sonya Sones grew to be one of my (recent) favorite authors after I read What My Mother Doesn’t Know, and soon after, What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know. I went out and bought all her books after I read those two. But what I didn’t expect is that Stop Pretending, Sones’ first book, is an even better book than those that came after it. Sones’ free-verse novel, Stop Pretending, does two amazing things that I haven’t witnessed in other free-verse novels so far. A majority of this book’s poems can be read separately from the others. They stand alone as very powerful works of poetry and don’t need the support of the “larger story.” At the same time, they all mesh together into that “larger story” that is hard to step away from, even with it being an emotional read. It’s the combination of these two effects that makes Sones such a great novelist and poet, all in the same work. Being that this is strongly influenced by the author’s life growing up, I feel that it helped her create the very real main character. The poems bring the reader deep into the mind of this teenager who doesn’t know how to deal with her sister’s hospitalization. This can only come from someone who’s dealt with similar issues in real life. It also allows a reader, and even society in general, to consider all sides of the situation. It’s not just the patient who needs therapy, or just someone to talk to in general. It’s all members of a family, no matter how much they try to hide it. Sonya Sones’ first book is by far my favorite of hers so far. It’s no wonder her books have gotten the attention they have.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh wow. Last year at my school library I found "What my Mother doesnt know" "What my Girlfriend doesnt know" and "one of those Hidious books where the Mother dies". I loved all three and when I saw this book I bought it without looking at reviews. The other night I reread it and cryed so hard I didnt think I could stop. It is written in short unryming poems. What happens when a young teenage girls best friend and sister loses her mind? See how this book based on real events changes your life. I hope you love it!! XOXOXO OliviaZB
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Sonya Sones books, but this was simply not her best! Although her poetry never ceases to captivate a reader, the story was not as interesting as others. If you want to read a story you can finish in an hour, then I recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Again HAPPYBIRTHDAY to anyone whose birthday it is i rekamend this book lol omg
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book wasnt that good. Honestly it could have been been extended some. The book could have been extended by adding more about John. The author kinda just stuck him in the story. He visited the sister once and after that, they dont mention him again. The author could have talked about how John changed Cookie and her family and they started growing closer to the sister. This book was way to short. It was an interesting plot but it wasnt used well. BOTTOM LINE: This is more of a short read definately not worth tons of money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome story but make it seven pages please! Keep it up
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zig zag
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Garbage annyoing i just dont get it its sad thats why its garbage
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lanah squeals happily as she sees the movie taking place before her eyes(forgot to mention Lanahs HUGE crush on Lando Calrisian). "Before you run off on me remember we have to use the names we made up okay?" Lanah nods. "Youre Leisah Billud & im Srey Ledesk, right?" "Yep thats right" Lanah replies, snapping into her character. I run off. "Come on Leisah, Lets go see what Luke is doing." I call. "Coming Srey." Leisah replies. We run over to where Luke is walking back into his uncles house with two droids. "Hey Luke!" Leisah yells. "HEY LUKE!!!!" I yell louder. Luke turns around & sees us running toward him. He waits for us. When we catch up he says"Hey Srey. Hey Leisah." "Whats going on?" Leisah asks. "My uncle just bought these two droids from the Jawas & ive got to clean them up." "We'll help." I say quickly. "Yeah." Leisah adds. "Okay. Let me ask my uncle. Hey uncle Leisa Billud & Srey Ledesk want to help clean the droids." "Thats fine Luke as long as the droids get clean." He said. We walk into a small side hut & begin working. Luke starts on the droids & Leisah starts sweeping the floor while i begin sorting tools & parts. Suddenly Luke falls back onto the ground from where he had been clraning the small droid. Leisah & i turn around to see whatmade Luke fall. Leisahs jaw dropped & i gasped.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so great i had stayed up all night cause i couldnt sleep so i bought a bunch of books to keep my mind off things and read and finished it in like two hours and went to sleep after that
My-favorite-books More than 1 year ago
My English class read this novel together. Af first I did not think that I would like it, but I was wrong. It was excellent! The protagonist, Cookie, must come to terms with the fact that her sister is mentally ill and needs some help. At first she thinks her sister's behavior is just a little strange. But on Christmas Eve when her sister goes to mass in her nightgown, and hides 70 bars of soap in her bedroom Cookie knows that there is a serious problem. Cookie's parents must put her sister in a mental institution. Cookie must deal with taunts and teasing by her friends when they find out her sister has been committed. Cookie tries to keep it from them, and when she finally confides in them they make fun of her sister. Along with getting adjusted to her sister being in a psychiatric ward, Cookie also gets her first boyfriend. It is a confusing time for Cookie because good and bad things are happening in her life. The first time Cookie brings her boyfriend home to meet her parents they can hear them fighting inside the house. Cookie becomes very embarrrassed, but her boyfriend comforts her. Later in the novel, Cookie even takes her boyfriend to meet her sister. Ultimately, this is a novel about growing up, and learning to accept what cannot be changed. I think teenagers will be able to identify with Cookie and her struggles to understand her sister's behavior. This was a great book.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
my english class has been reading stop pertendig and its a really good book it really shows you what an teenager may go through how her sister went insace was crazy but cookie keept her head high and didnt let anything bring her down in this book it should you how your friends may turn on you when you need them the most but friends come and go but your familiy will be there through it all . i think any teenager would like to read this book .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
T_Harrison More than 1 year ago
This book is really good. The format is unique and it is really is to understand. Anyone can cope with Cookie, because we all have someone we love very much, and would just be depressed if something ever happened to them. This story helped me realize that I'm not the only one dealing with someone that is ill, and that I can live my life while taking care of them. This book is for the type of reader who has feelings the author would feel as she was writing it. Like they can actually feel what the writer was feeling.