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Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy

Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy
Author: Sonya Sones
ISBN 13: 9780064462181
ISBN 10: 64462188
Edition: Reprint
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: 2006-04-25
Format: Paperback
Pages: 160
List Price: $8.99

It happens just like that, in the blink of an eye. An older sister has a mental breakdown and has to be hospitalized. A younger sister is left behind to cope with a family torn apart by grief and friends who turn their backs on her. But worst of all is the loss of her big sister, her confidante, her best friend, who has gone someplace no one can reach.

In the tradition of The Bell Jar, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, and Lisa, Bright and Dark comes this haunting first book told in poems, and based on the true story of the author's life.

2000 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA) and 2000 Quick Picks for Young Adults (Recomm. Books for Reluctant Young Readers)


This revised edition of Sones's highly praised poetry/novel (her first publication) closely relates to Sones's personal history, and the Afterword explains how her older sister (at 19) was placed in a mental institution with manic-depressive illness when Sones herself was 13 years old. She explains that her sister eventually recovered with the help of medication and therapy and that she fully supports this book because it will help teenagers understand mental illness and the family crisis such illness causes. There is a list at the end of the book of organizations to contact if readers are worried about their own mental health or that of a member of their family. The poetry is compelling. It is so heartfelt: the pain and confusion of a young teenager when her family life dissolves into chaos because of mental illness. The older sister in Stop Pretending is hospitalized for months. Today, most patients are in a 72-hour hold situation, with medications and therapy used on an outpatient basis. This only means that a family today will have their ill family member living in their household, not "put away" in a hospital—so the poetry of Sones is relevant whatever the ultimate therapy. This book is an ALA Best Book for YAs; it won the Christopher Award and several poetry prizes.