What They Don't Know
Three secrets. One decision. A friendship that will change everything.Mellie has always been the reliable friend, the good student, the doting daughter. But when an unspeakable act leads her to withdraw from everyone she loves, she is faced with a life-altering choice―a choice she must face alone.Lise stands up―and speaks out―for what she believes in. And when she notices Mellie acting strangely, she gets caught up in trying to save her...all while trying to protect her own secret. One that might be the key to helping Mellie.Told through Mellie and Lise's journal entries, this powerful, emotional novel chronicles Mellie's struggle to decide what is right for her and the unbreakable bond formed by the two girls on their journey.

What They Don't Know Details

TitleWhat They Don't Know
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 2nd, 2018
PublisherSourcebooks Fire
ISBN-139781492603597
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

What They Don't Know Review

  • Kendall
    January 1, 1970
    WOW. I was definitely NOT prepared for this. Oh my gosh was this novel sad and brutal. I'm going to say right off the bat that this novel delves into some very deep core issues that revolve around rape, pregnancy, abortion, friendship, men vs women gender roles, religion, and safety. Nicole Maggi explores a coming of age story about sixteen year old Mellie who becomes pregnant from being raped. Mellie comes from a strong fundamentalist family... and she thinks that she will ultimately be blamed WOW. I was definitely NOT prepared for this. Oh my gosh was this novel sad and brutal. I'm going to say right off the bat that this novel delves into some very deep core issues that revolve around rape, pregnancy, abortion, friendship, men vs women gender roles, religion, and safety. Nicole Maggi explores a coming of age story about sixteen year old Mellie who becomes pregnant from being raped. Mellie comes from a strong fundamentalist family... and she thinks that she will ultimately be blamed for her choices and the pregnancy. Mellie's classmate Lise thinks that she can help Mellie with her situation. The story is told from alternating POV through diary/journal entries that are written to their English teacher. I really liked the journal aspect to the novel.. I felt that it added more depth and strength to the novel.What I didn't enjoy about this novel was how deep Maggi went into TOO many emotional/deep topics. I think if she would have focused solely on a few topics I would have been able to connect on a deeper level to this novel. I just felt it was a tad bit depressing that I lost some of the interest in the novel.I also felt like the author was pretty much beating a dead horse with the continued same messages throughout the entire novel specifically about feminism, abortion, and pro-choice. What They Don't Know was an enjoyable novel but it was nothing that stood out or memorable for me.3 stars for me on this one.Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my honest thoughts.Publication date: 10/1/18Published to GR: 9/17/18
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  • Adele Shea
    January 1, 1970
    What They Don't Know, is a story told from the point of view of two 16 year old girls. They are set an assignment to write a day to day journal as part of one of their grades in school. Mellie comes from a church going family, her father being Mayor of their town. Mellie, is raped and as a result of that rape becomes pregnant. She must make the decision of what to do about her pregnancy. Lise, volunteers at a woman's clinic that along with women's health procedures, also carries out abortion. Th What They Don't Know, is a story told from the point of view of two 16 year old girls. They are set an assignment to write a day to day journal as part of one of their grades in school. Mellie comes from a church going family, her father being Mayor of their town. Mellie, is raped and as a result of that rape becomes pregnant. She must make the decision of what to do about her pregnancy. Lise, volunteers at a woman's clinic that along with women's health procedures, also carries out abortion. The two girls are bought together and a bond becomes forged that is unbreakable. This book hooked me from the start. It's hard to believe that still in this day and age the argument between Pro-life and Pro-choice still so much of a devide. Very well written book. "Apart, we shine, but together, we're so much brighter"
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  • Zoë ☆
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my god. I was so NOT prepared for that. This is one of the most emotional books I have ever read and I feel like it discusses SUCH an important issue. Definitely a must read for everyone. I am speechless. Thank you to the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read this book!I’m going to cry a little more now 😶
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Abortion is an issue about which many have diametrically opposed opinions. Passions often run high; understandably so as the life of a child is at the center of the debate. Nicole Maggi's young adult novel is most definitely in the pro-choice camp. It tells the story of Mellie, a sixteen-year-old girl raised in a fundamentalist Christian household who becomes pregnant as the result of a rape. She keeps both the rape and the pregnancy a secret, slowly divulging the details through journal entries Abortion is an issue about which many have diametrically opposed opinions. Passions often run high; understandably so as the life of a child is at the center of the debate. Nicole Maggi's young adult novel is most definitely in the pro-choice camp. It tells the story of Mellie, a sixteen-year-old girl raised in a fundamentalist Christian household who becomes pregnant as the result of a rape. She keeps both the rape and the pregnancy a secret, slowly divulging the details through journal entries for her high school English class. Lise, a fellow classmate, and feminist crusader notices something amiss and becomes Mellie's friend and advocate.Without exception every single Christian character in the book is portrayed in a negative light. Mellie's family and long time friends treat her horribly. The Christian pregnancy crisis clinic she visits is run by unfeeling staff members who shame her and use lies to dissuade her from having an abortion. On the other hand, the abortion clinic where Lise's mother is the head doctor, is full of a kind, supportive staff who treat Mellie with the utmost gentleness and respect. Lise and her mother come to bat for Mellie time and time again.When Mellie's secret is eventually brought to light her family reacts by blaming and shaming. They go so far as to disown her when she decides to go through with the abortion. At the end of the novel Lise and her mother are driven out of town by Mellie's father, a politician with "friends" in all the right places. Mellie and her older sister, Hannah, move into their own place, relieved to be free of their repressive parents. (Oh, by the way, it was Hannah's fiancé, son of their pastor, who raped her.) Lise and Mellie remain friends. Mellie has no regrets whatsoever about the abortion, never once wondering about the child that might have been.What was so maddening about this book was the firm black and white stance it took. Mellie's Christian family fit every single stereotype in the book; her father even hunted! With the sole exception of Lise's teenage boyfriend, every male in the book was a jerk. No nuances, no shades of gray here. And therein lies the problem. A person's stance on abortion does not determine his or her character. Not all Christian's are narrow minded. It would have made for a much more compelling novel had Mellie's parents struggled with the issue; having once thought themselves staunch opponents of abortion only to waver when it came to their own daughter. Instead, What They Don't Know comes off as sanctimonious and hypocritical. Attempting to portray the "good" characters as open-minded, kind, compassionate, and supportive and the "bad" characters without any redeeming qualities. Unfortunately, impressionable teens reading this are given only one side of the issue. Pity for the book is actually well written and quite engaging.
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  • Ellie
    January 1, 1970
    This book takes a good, hard look at what it is like for someone to go through the tough decision to have an abortion, with the added trauma of the pregnancy being a result of a rape. The story is told in diary entries between Mellie, the uber-conservative mayor-running-for-senate's daughter, and Lise, her old girl scout friend who is intuitive to her old friend's sadness.
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  • Manon
    January 1, 1970
    *4.25 Stars*I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I have to admit it. I judged this book by its cover. I was certain it was a mystery & thriller.Turns out, it wasn't. This was a contemporary novel about equality, abortion and girl power.Mellie was raised in a very religious family, is anti-choice and wears a chastity ring. But she really starts questioning everything when she gets pregnant after being raped.Lise is hiding a secret from everyone and can tell som *4.25 Stars*I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I have to admit it. I judged this book by its cover. I was certain it was a mystery & thriller.Turns out, it wasn't. This was a contemporary novel about equality, abortion and girl power.Mellie was raised in a very religious family, is anti-choice and wears a chastity ring. But she really starts questioning everything when she gets pregnant after being raped.Lise is hiding a secret from everyone and can tell something is wrong with Mellie. She'll do everything she can to help her.This story is mostly told through journal entries, both Lise's and Mellie. They're addressed to their teacher who made the journal an assignment. We also get to read some notes and letters between Mellie and Lise.I really liked the format. It made for short chapters of sort and that's always good!The story itself was captivating and I couldn't put the book down.I loved Lise and I felt for Mellie.It made me feel a lot.I found the characters layered and deep. The relationship between Mellie and Lise was very interesting and their relationships to their families too.I saw the last twist coming but I didn't mind all that much...I thought the whole abortion subject was well brought up and the entire thing was well constructed.All in all, an important and captivating book.
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  • Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)
    January 1, 1970
    I want to thank to SOURCEBOOKS Fire and NetGalley for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review.OMG this book is really powerful, I feel it was more than I expected and that's great. It's a book about abortion, it focuses entirely on that issue and although it touches other ones as well, I think it's necessary for you to know that's what you will find with. It's such a delicate subject to be touched in a book and even so, the author has done it in an excellent way, I'm really I want to thank to SOURCEBOOKS Fire and NetGalley for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review.OMG this book is really powerful, I feel it was more than I expected and that's great. It's a book about abortion, it focuses entirely on that issue and although it touches other ones as well, I think it's necessary for you to know that's what you will find with. It's such a delicate subject to be touched in a book and even so, the author has done it in an excellent way, I'm really impressed.4/5 StarsYou can find this one and more fo my reviews on my blog A Book. A Thought. The book follows the perspective of two girls, Lise and Mellie, and although they used to be friends, they have separated from each other over time. Today their teacher has given them the work of writing a journal telling to her everything they're going through, so the book is entirely written in the form of letters from the girls to their teacher. Mellie has gone through a horrible moment since she has been raped and she doesn't dare to talk to anyone about it for fear they don't believe her or that people believe that it was her fault in some way, she belongs to a very religious and strict family so this also stops her from speaking. Lise's a very mature girl for her age, she's always ready to fight for what she really wants and together they'll start a very hard journey full of emotions, revelations and teachings I don't believe that there's a correct way of judging this book or talking about it, because I honestly feel that the feelings and emotions that it produces when you read it, is what really matters. So I'll do what I can with this review, I feel very sensitive after finishing it, it's a very powerful emotional journey.I really liked the writing style, I feel that although it touches a very serious subject the author has known to add very sweet and funny moments as well, in a way that fits perfectly and makes it easier to continue reading. There are times when it becomes very difficult though and this is not because it was bad, at all, but because of all the meaning behind the book as far as abortion is concerned. See Mellie going through a situation as frightening as a rape, and then this pregnancy product of it, was really very hard, she was very lonely going through the whole situation and that broke my heart, even though I know that these things sadly happen in the world, it's still difficult to read about them, it's heartbreaking. I loved and I could see clearly the message that the book wants to give and I appreciate it very much how the author talks at the end and share her own story with us, this makes it a thousand times more special the fact that she wrote this book.The main idea was that these two girls write all their feelings and their experiences to her teacher through letters, and although I love the idea and enjoyed it a lot, I feel it's unrealistic. I don't think that anyone really opens up in this way to a teacher that I feel they hardly know, right?. Even so, although this may have been unbelievable, the rest of the book and everything that both girls have to go through seemed very realistic to me, in fact the ending was really great. It was bittersweet but very real, I can really see this story ending as it did, and in some way, I liked that it wasn't the typical perfect endingI loved the main characters both Lise and Millie, they're completely opposite but being into both heads was equally interesting for me, especially because at first they have completely different thoughts from each other and I always enjoy hearing diversity of opinions, even when I already have my own, you know?. I think Lise is my animal spirit, I love her, she's wild and daring, but all in the best way. She has always something smart to say, and in addition to all this, what I liked the most is the way in which she supports other women and her feminist espitiru made me love her, she's also a great friend and once her path intersects with Mellie's, the way in which Lise acts is great, I feel that I admire her strength on many occasions. Mellie's a very sweet girl, she has so many doubts and questions and that makes her a super innocent character, after what she has gone through at her young age I feel that she's the character who grows the most and I really liked going through all that under her point of view. She's the daughter of extremely religious parents, they never pay attention to her and also her father's determined to make clear in his campaign that he wants to close all the abortion centers (I speak of legal places, of course) and all this is obviously heartbreaking for Mellie and she doesn't know what to do, even though sometimes it was so difficult, I think it's a very interesting experience to read this book, I've even cried with her and right now I want all her happiness.As I said before, reading this book has been a great experience, especially since I have found it quite informative on the topic of abortion and everything that surrounds it. I think I would have liked to see a little more diversity of opinions on the subject, but even so it's quite clear to where the book wants to go toThe plot twist was very good, I liked it even when I saw it coming and that's a good thing, I hate that nothing else happened with it, I think I would have liked some kind of consequence, but as I said before, happy endings not always are a thing.It's difficult to talk about this issue for me because only a few months ago the abortion legalization issue was all that was spoken in my country and was finally denied, which's a great retrospective for all that women have fought for. I really hope that if in your country is a fact and abortion is legal, then you should be grateful. Even when you don't agree with, you should remember that all women have rights over our body and this should be another of them as well. I will not try to convince anyone who doesn't agree, because obviously I'm very respectful towards the beliefs of others but I wanted to highlight that situation, since it touches me closely, in the place where I live I recommend this book? YES!, I think it's a very delicate and difficult toppic to touch but still we need more authors who are encouraged and try with it, is very important because of the knowledge that gives you and all the families situations, as the book touches it, It's super interesting to read. If you're looking for a light reading honestly I don't think this is the book for you, and I don't agree with the fact that it's classified as a mystery, I think it doesn't have much of that happening. So if you feel like reading a book that has a meaning and leaves you thinking, then this is a great option
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  • PinkAmy loves 💕 books📖, cats😻 and naps🛏
    January 1, 1970
    ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW by Nicole Maggi in exchange for my honest review.***5 STARSGRADE: A+Pregnant by rape, sixteen-year-old Mellie knows her zealously fundamentalist family will blame her for the attack and take away her choices. Lise, her classmate, senses she can help. Told in letters/journal entries to their English teacher the young women develop a deep, trusting friendship.I knew I was reading something special a few pages into ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW by Nicole Maggi in exchange for my honest review.***5 STARSGRADE: A+Pregnant by rape, sixteen-year-old Mellie knows her zealously fundamentalist family will blame her for the attack and take away her choices. Lise, her classmate, senses she can help. Told in letters/journal entries to their English teacher the young women develop a deep, trusting friendship.I knew I was reading something special a few pages into WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW, I had no idea how significant Nicole Maggi’s would be. She created sympathetic characters, Lise strong, empowered all her life by her mom and Mellie, raised in a home where women and girls were dominated by boys and men.Despite rape, abortion and choice being a central theme, WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW is a sex positive book. Mellie thought she’d be a virgin until marriage, Lise assumed she’d have sex, but isn’t ready. Mellie’s family views sex as sinful, Lise’s mom is all about making wise choices. Mellie’s choice is taken away from her, Lise chooses not yet.Other themes include: and unconditional friendships, women supporting women and sisterly bonds, judgment, bullying, toxic masculinity, religion and safety.#WhatTheyDontKnow gets my highest recommendation.
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  • Patty Smith
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to Netgalley, Sourcebooks Fire and Nicole Maggi for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advanced copy.Boy, this is going to be a tough one. First, this is very sensitive subject matter. The book brings up several issues that will hopefully open the door to many worthwhile conversations, but its main focus is on abortion. I find that it will be really hard to keep my personal feelings on the subject separate from reviewing My thanks to Netgalley, Sourcebooks Fire and Nicole Maggi for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advanced copy.Boy, this is going to be a tough one. First, this is very sensitive subject matter. The book brings up several issues that will hopefully open the door to many worthwhile conversations, but its main focus is on abortion. I find that it will be really hard to keep my personal feelings on the subject separate from reviewing the book. I will be very interested in reading what everyone has to say on this because of the subject matter it is dealing with. Also, this is a rough one to recommend to students. Because of people’s religious affiliations, I don’t believe it is appropriate for a teacher to introduce material that might go against a family’s belief system. On the other hand, open and honest discussion of the right to choose can be the only source of information some teenagers will have access to. I think it should be made available for students to be able to come to on their own, because I think that it is an amazing read.So I’m going to tell you where I stand on this issue. I believe it is the only honest way, for me, to discuss this because how I feel influences how I read the book. I believe that it is a woman’s right to choose - no matter what the circumstances. Younger or older, through violence or consensual sex, no one should have to bear a child if that is not what the woman wants. And she deserves to have a safe, sterile, supported place to be able to abort the fetus, if that is what she chooses to do. Because my views lined up with the book’s, that allowed for me to enjoy it. I’m not sure if I was on the other side, or if the book was purporting the same ideology as Mellie’s parents, I would enjoy it in the same way. Let me recap the story in order to offer some context. This is a book that deals with, among other things, rape and abortion. The style is done in the format of journal entries, alternating between the two main characters, Mellie and Lise. A teacher has assigned them a project of keeping a journal for the school year. This is a brilliant choice on the author’s part because we are privy not only to the events of that time, but to both girls’ deepest thoughts and feelings as they go through something very traumatic. Life changing, for both of them, although Mellie is the one who is pregnant and must decide what her options are. By using the teenagers’ voices, it allows an entry point for kids reading this book to engage in this subject in an open and honest way. Obviously, it is a little unbelievable to think these girls would be this forthcoming in a school assignment, but I was happy to suspend my disbelief because it worked so well. Also, for those that kids that are not the strongest of readers, or people who are just short on time, these small bites of daily entries are doable and will allow access for a larger reading audience. Interestingly enough, we never get to know who this teacher is. I was completely engaged, from beginning to end and found it truthful, honest, emotional, very powerful and even gut-wenching at times. Mellie comes from a strong religious family, with a father who is running for Mayor on a pro-life platform, with a campaign promise to get rid of the last few legal abortion clinics in his town. He works hand in hand with the pastor. The pastor’s son Brandon happens to be engaged to Mellie’s sister Hannah. Brandon also happens to be Mellie’s rapist. Mellie is now pregnant and feels like she has nowhere to turn. She doesn’t feel like her family will believe her and knows that they will force her to have the baby. Although friends when they were younger, Lise and Mellie are not close anymore. But Lise knows enough to know that something is very wrong with Mellie and she wants to help. There is so much more to the story. It’s complex and multi layered. It is really well written. I did find some of the characters nuanced and multi dimensional, however, there were some that were one-dimensional. Characters that were flat - either all bad or all good. The book has a clear slant and I think that it needs to be acknowledged. I’m not sure if students reading it will be able to tell, because although both ideologies are presented, it is clear one is bad and one is right. I also think that by having Mellie get pregnant through rape, it is a much easier way to create sympathy for Mellie to have the abortion. There are many pro-lifers who believe that rape is the exception to their rule. The rape really isn’t explored in detail, it takes a much gentler approach. It is a great story about friendship, reaching out to help someone, and what happens when the beliefs that you have grown up with are challenged. It also touches on issues of bullying and losing your virginity. There is only one positive male in the whole story, Lise’s boyfriend, I wish there had been more. Even the minor male characters were rotten. It also did a great job of showing how difficult a decision to have an abortion is and no matter what anyone decides, no one comes to this conclusion easily or light-heartedly. It also highlights the positive role that Planned Parenthood has in society. It is not just for abortions, but provides much needed health care to women who can’t otherwise afford it. I did think it did an excellent job in portraying how alone Mellie felt. Teenagers often feel alone and that no one will understand what they are going through. On a side note, I was sad that there wasn’t one adult that Mellie felt she could turn to, or came to Mellie’s rescue. I highly recommend this book, both for young adults and for adults. It is sad and beautiful but at its core it is heart-warming, having people who care and help in extraordinary ways and that you can survive something traumatic and come out the other side stronger.
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  • Madalyn (Novel Ink)
    January 1, 1970
    This review originally appeared on Novel Ink.I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Content warnings: rape, sexual assault, rape resulting in pregnancy, pregnancy, talk of miscarrying, abortion, description of abortion, victim-blaming, unsafe home environment, misogyny (challenged), homophobic behavior (challenged), anti-abortion rhetoric (challenged), religion, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, grief, This review originally appeared on Novel Ink.I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Content warnings: rape, sexual assault, rape resulting in pregnancy, pregnancy, talk of miscarrying, abortion, description of abortion, victim-blaming, unsafe home environment, misogyny (challenged), homophobic behavior (challenged), anti-abortion rhetoric (challenged), religion, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, grief, threats of violenceWhat They Don’t Know might appear, on the surface, to be an “issue book” focusing solely on a main character’s experience with teen pregnancy, rape, and abortion. And while these kinds of stories are undoubtedly important, What They Don’t Know feels to me, at its core, to be a friendship story above all else.This book is told exclusively through diary entries from two different girls connected only by the fact that they were childhood friends, then grew apart. They each write these journals to their English teacher as part of a class assignment, and the journals quickly become the only place the two can confide their secrets. Mellie is the daughter of the uber-conservative mayor of their small Colorado town who’s hiding a huge secret, while Lise is an outspoken feminist with a heart of gold. One day, Lise sees Mellie crying in the school bathroom and quickly realizes she needs help, and that Lise herself is in a unique position to help Mellie.Some might think of this as a spoiler, because the blurb is quite vague, but I think it’s important to know what you’re getting into when you go into a book, so I’ll say it anyway: Mellie is raped in her own basement by someone close to her family and her church, and this rape results in her becoming pregnant. It’s a traumatic situation for anyone, let alone someone who is constantly having to deal with anti-choice, victim-blaming rhetoric in her home and her church. Something I think What They Don’t Know conveys wonderfully is that you truly never know what decision you might make in a certain situation until you are in that situation. And, although Mellie does ultimately decide abortion is the only viable choice for her, this book emphasizes above all else a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body. It in no way glorifies abortion or presents it as the right choice for everyone. Additionally, despite the traumatic sexual assault, it’s a very sex-positive book! We see Lise and Mellie coming to vastly different conclusions about sex and working out where they stand on it without pressuring the other girl to change her own mind.The subject matter was heartbreakingly timely, what with a woman’s right to choose constantly under siege from (cis male, ahem) lawmakers. And it’s heavy, undoubtedly. Mellie agonizes over her decision, and above all lives in constant fear of her parents finding out about her pregnancy or her plan to terminate it. What makes it all the more gut wrenching is the knowledge that, for many young women, growing up in hostile home environments like Mellie’s is reality. It so often seemed like there was no clear path, no right answer for Mellie.This brings me to the friendship at the center of the story, which provided the hope such a bleak narrative needed. Lise is an incredibly caring, supportive friend who never gives up on Mellie. And she’s not just there to function as Mellie’s support; she is a character with hopes and dreams and opinions and thoughts of her own that I so enjoyed reading about through her journal entries. Lise’s mom, boyfriend, and friends were also all total angels and I loved how supportive they were of one another– not just of Mellie, although of course that was great and much-needed! But it’s also wonderful to see characters who support each other in small ways as well as big ways.Overall, I think What They Don’t Know did an excellent job of approaching such sensitive subject matter carefully and thoughtfully. Plus, the epistolary format was effective and helped the reader really get inside each character’s head. The friendship is one I’ll remember for a long time, and this was an excellent example of the importance of having and finding a support system. If you can handle the subject matter, I highly recommend giving this a try!
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  • Maureen
    January 1, 1970
    This was a very well written novel about a young girl who becomes pregnant after being raped and the decisions she makes as a result of living in an ultra conservative home. It is an epistolary novel, which I love. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me an opportunity to be an early reader in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Sue Holmes
    January 1, 1970
    *Review copy received from the publisherThis story covers a vital topic and a message that will resonate with a target audience. But the storyline is very one dimensional which I think reduces the impact on the reader.
  • Jenni Frencham
    January 1, 1970
    Maggi, Nicole. What They Don't Know. Sourcebooks Fire, 2018.Mellie's family is very conservative, so when she discovers that she is pregnant, she isn't sure what she should do. She has always believed that abortion is wrong in all circumstances, but she is certain that she doesn't want to carry this baby, even to give it up for adoption. Lise used to be friends with Mellie before Mellie's family took her out of Girl Scouts. They are still classmates, but their lives couldn't be more different. W Maggi, Nicole. What They Don't Know. Sourcebooks Fire, 2018.Mellie's family is very conservative, so when she discovers that she is pregnant, she isn't sure what she should do. She has always believed that abortion is wrong in all circumstances, but she is certain that she doesn't want to carry this baby, even to give it up for adoption. Lise used to be friends with Mellie before Mellie's family took her out of Girl Scouts. They are still classmates, but their lives couldn't be more different. When Lise hears Mellie crying in the bathroom, she wonders if she can do something to help her childhood friend.This story is told from both Mellie's and Lise's perspectives, in the form of journal entries they complete for their English class. Mellie's family rings true for the most part, although I have questions about some things, particularly Mellie's reference to the Apocrypha being like an addition to the Bible. From my fundamentalist Christian upbringing, which seems to mirror Mellie's, the Apocrypha was not considered to be Scripture, nor was it anything we ever read or studied. Lise and Mellie also sounded very similar in their journal entries. I was reading a digital ARC, so I am hoping the publisher will use a different typeface or something for each girl, as it was occasionally difficult to remember who was telling the story. The story itself was also a bit didactic and afterschool special-esque at times, which I found grating when the topic itself is so important. Nonetheless, I could see the teens at my library thoroughly enjoying this story and wanting to read and discuss it. Recommended.Recommended for: teensRed Flags: discussion of rape, verbal abuse, threats of violence, description of an abortionOverall Rating: 4/5 starsRead-Alikes: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson; Quiver by Julia Watts; Hush by Eishes ChayilI received a complimentary copy of this book through Edelweiss for the purpose of review.
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  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    You can find this review and others on my blog SleepySamReads!Special thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. TRIGGER WARNINGS: rape, rape resulting in pregnancy, abortionI believe the message in the book is an important one, but I don't know that I agree with the execution all that much. Everything in the book seems to be so black and white. Which is kind of ironic because one of the things in the book that Mellie realizes is how many shad You can find this review and others on my blog SleepySamReads!Special thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. TRIGGER WARNINGS: rape, rape resulting in pregnancy, abortionI believe the message in the book is an important one, but I don't know that I agree with the execution all that much. Everything in the book seems to be so black and white. Which is kind of ironic because one of the things in the book that Mellie realizes is how many shades of grey there are in pro-life vs. pro-choice argument.Mellie's family are devout Christians and are about as cliche as you can get, where Lise's family is the exact opposite. Mellie's family is painted as the bad guys, Lise's the good. As someone who is a huge supporter of the pro-choice movement, as well as an atheist, it surprises me how annoyed I got at how religion is portrayed. It shows the absolute worse parts of Christianity without showing any of the good parts. I wouldn't mind seeing the bad stuff, if it was just balanced out a bit. I did feel reallly bad for Mellie and it pains me to know that her story does happen all the time. I did appreciate seeing how Mellie grows throughout the book. I enjoyed how compassionate Lise was. The format of the novel was pretty neat too. It's framed as a school assignment. A journal assigned for an English class. I probably wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. I'm sure there's better books out there that deal with the subject matter in a better way.
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  • Tahlia
    January 1, 1970
    Blog Post: https://museofnyxmares.wordpress.com/...*I was provided with an ARC of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.This book is definitely one that will catch you off guard, I was not expecting what I just experienced at all. The very first chapter had me gripped, and I stayed that way throughout the whole book. This was a very easy read, in terms of flying through it, but not in the subject matter. I struggled in reading some parts, as they were just so sad and raw Blog Post: https://museofnyxmares.wordpress.com/...*I was provided with an ARC of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.This book is definitely one that will catch you off guard, I was not expecting what I just experienced at all. The very first chapter had me gripped, and I stayed that way throughout the whole book. This was a very easy read, in terms of flying through it, but not in the subject matter. I struggled in reading some parts, as they were just so sad and raw. The author definitely didn’t hold back and I’m glad that she didn’t, because the women that go through these things aren’t coddled, or spared the grizzly details. Bravely, the author tackled heavy issues such as; abortion, rape, religion, dysfunctional families and Misogyny. Nicole Maggi did not pull any punches when delving into these subjects and so the reader should be prepared when they pick up this book, for some harrowing scenes. I would of liked a little warning myself, so please make sure you’re in the right frame of mind to pick up this book. I haven’t personally experienced what the characters have been through, but it was difficult for me to read at times and because it’s such a realistic and honest depiction, it could be triggering for some people.I’m not sure what is considered as a spoiler for this book and what isn’t, because something that I thought was a spoiler has been openly discussed on many reviews, so I’m assuming it’s safe territory. Mellie is raped in the family basement by someone she knows and we basically see her dealing with the aftermath of that. The physical details aren’t discussed in a way that’s too graphic about how it happened, but enough to make you shudder. To convey just how much of a terrifying phantom this man has become to Mellie, anytime he is referred to, it is with a bold and sometimes capitalised, him, he and his. This was powerful indeed, as it almost felt like those words were him, leering at you from the page in their boldness, it also showed how she can’t block him out, how he’s become (to her) the defining thing about her life. As a result of this rape, Mellie falls pregnant and hearing her thoughts on the pregnancy was unsettling to say the least, but I completely understand why she felt this way.It was fantastic that all of the options that a women has, if she becomes pregnant were highlighted, and how some of these aren’t real options for some women. Mellie is from a strict, Christian household that is pro-life, and so she experiences huge inner turmoil with what to do about her unwanted pregnancy. She considers all of her ‘options’, but they all could have dire consequences for her. If she keeps the baby she feels that it would be a constant reminder of her rapist, if she gives it up for adoption she’ll always wonder if she’d pass them on the street in later life, or they might seek her out and she’ll have to explain who their father is. She even worries that it could turn out like it’s father, and having an abortion would go against her religion and her parents would never forgive her. Mellie has to deal with this all alone, as she knows that her parents would force her to have the baby and blame her for her rape, if they even believe her, which is heartbreaking. Mellie does some pretty troubling things to try and get rid of this baby, although uncomfortable to read, this is probably what some girls do in their desperation.The thread of hope throughout this book, was Lise, I absolutely adored her! She was such a positive light, good, to the core of her being. It was really inspiring to see her push for women’s rights, whilst actually wanting to help all women, she championed the idea of girls supporting girls and practiced what she preached. Lise and Mellie’s friendship was the best part about What They Don’t Know, it showed just how powerful female friendships can be and how important it is to be there for each other, with as little judgement as possible. Their love for each other was so heart warming, and in an ideal world, every women in Mellie’s position would have a Lise by their side. They both learnt so much from their friendship, Mellie learnt to look past people’s religion, or lack there of, she even started questioning all the values and beliefs that her parents had bestowed upon her and Lise learnt more about what she wants in life through Mellie. The diary entry form and alternating chapters were brilliant, as we got to see events through both of the girls perspectives, it beautifully highlighted how you can never know what someone is going through unless you’re in their shoes.Overall this book was written impeccably, it was despairing most of the time, but this meant that it was probably a very accurate portrayal of life after rape. However, what was vital is that it displayed that you can reclaim your life after rape, that you don’t have to be like your family and that help can come from the most unlikely of places. People may not agree with how far the author went with the issues raised, but stories that don’t sugarcoat are necessary in sparking emotion and consequently change. This book is important! It didn’t shy away from difficult topics, educating about women having agency over their bodies and minds, consensual consent (even in relationships), rape and abortion. I’m so impressed that a YA contemporary is dissecting such relevant issues. For example, as I was writing this review a notification came up, saying that a man had been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for sexual assault, this is as relevant as it gets, but unfortunately most cases don’t end up with a man behind bars. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who feels emotionally ready to go on this difficult journey with these two heroines.
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  • Jennilyn
    January 1, 1970
    The journal writing was supposed to be just a school assignment. But for two months, it became a sort of Mellie’s confidante and Lise’s sound-board. In Mellie’s first journal entry, she revealed that she was raped and...wait...I think I’ve said too much already. I have to stop giving any background ‘coz it’s much better to dive blind into this book. Fortunately the Goodreads synopsis is very vague, so I will also try to be vague as much as I can to avoid spoiling anything.The synopsis hinted at The journal writing was supposed to be just a school assignment. But for two months, it became a sort of Mellie’s confidante and Lise’s sound-board. In Mellie’s first journal entry, she revealed that she was raped and...wait...I think I’ve said too much already. I have to stop giving any background ‘coz it’s much better to dive blind into this book. Fortunately the Goodreads synopsis is very vague, so I will also try to be vague as much as I can to avoid spoiling anything.The synopsis hinted at some secrets surrounding our characters. One such secret is that Mellie was raped. As a daughter of the mayor with tight moral values, Mellie cannot bring herself to tell anyone about it. So, she used journal-writing as her emotional outlet. Through this journaling style, the book was able to play out effective stunts of dramatic irony. As a reader, I am privy to these info and secrets before some characters do and I read in anticipation on how these characters will react when these things unfold upon them. Like, I know before Mellie and Lise know themselves that their paths SHOULD cross and they SHOULD become friends. Highlight, emphasis and all-caps for SHOULD because this friendship is simply PERFECTION. After a slow-burn build-up to their relationship, I felt rewarded for waiting for their friendship to blossom. Also, the rapist’s identity is heavily hinted at pretty early that at 11% of the book, I am pretty much sure of who he is. But the longer his identity was held unknown to the other characters, the longer the tension is for the impending family confrontation. When Mellie finally reveals it to her family, it was a glorious moment of release for me as a very invested reader.Let’s talk about Lise, who is a dynamic character in her own way. Lise’s experiences in the book lead to her journey of self-discovery about what career she wants to pursue in the future. She is the source of a much needed comic relief and woke wisdom. Her first journal entry is a gripe about the school board that turned down her petition for a gender-neutral dress code. She is the organizer of a Women’s Day Fair in school. Being a youth activist is part of her personality. But she has her own secret which holds her back from fully helping Mellie. She became more endearing as a character when she decided to take the risk of revealing this secret just to be a real friend to Mellie. Basically, I have a big space in my heart for both girls in this book.The most important thing about “What They Don’t Know” is how it showed me a perspective that challenged my own prejudices. The book pointed out to me that I have never ever been in Mellie’s situation before so I have no right to judge her. Yes I have my own set of beliefs, one of which is that I am a Christian. But being religious does not give me any excuse to condemn anyone for making a choice about a horrible experience that never happened to me. The overarching theme of the book is choice. Not a few times did Mellie end her journal entry with a heart-wrenching, “I don’t have a choice. Do I?” I teared up for all those times when Mellie felt ashamed, alone, isolated, and out of options. I walked into this book with a set of opinions prescribed by the social norms and walked out shookt, confused and asking: Why should us women feel awful when deciding for our own bodies?
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  • Audrey
    January 1, 1970
    This review is based on an ARC of What They Don't Know which I received courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher (Sourcebooks Fire). You probably think you know who I am, but I'm here to tell you that you don't. What They Don't Know is a story of two high school girls, two unlikely friends, told through alternating journal entries as a part of Ms. Tilson's English assignment. The synopsis says something about "three big secrets", but really there's just one of any significance, and that is Mellie This review is based on an ARC of What They Don't Know which I received courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher (Sourcebooks Fire). You probably think you know who I am, but I'm here to tell you that you don't. What They Don't Know is a story of two high school girls, two unlikely friends, told through alternating journal entries as a part of Ms. Tilson's English assignment. The synopsis says something about "three big secrets", but really there's just one of any significance, and that is Mellie's. (Since I don't want to spoil anything I'll leave it at that, but the secret is revealed to the reader in the first chapter.) I'm still just a girl, but I'm starting to feel how hard it is to be a woman in this world. I am all for feminism and the featured topics (rape, abortion, pro-choice, etc.) and how they are handled in this book. However, the author was really beating a dead horse with the same message over and over and over. Yes, women should have a choice regarding their own bodies. Yes, many people are confused, close-minded, sexist, or just simply don't understand their stance on the matter. Pro-choice is an important thing that needs to be discussed, but not with the exact same lecture every other chapter. It was tedious. I know some people will say things happen for a reason or are fated, but I think we all have a choice. This is your life. You have a say in how you want to live it. I do admit that this is an intensely modern coming-of-age, which I really enjoyed. The writing was so-so, nothing special to me. I do think I would recommend this novel, depending on the reader. What I kept thinking while I read What They Don't Know is that it is a novel-version of something Ellen Hopkins would write. Imagine Burned meets Crank but written as a full novel (rather than in verse poetry) and you basically have What They Don't Know. What They Don't Know is enjoyable for what it is, but certainly not a very memorable or a favorite book for me.
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  • S.M. Harshell
    January 1, 1970
    **I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.**This is one of the most emotionally raw books I've read recently. I wasn't expecting for a book geared toward teen to have the subject matter to be so deep and hold you until the end. Mellie finds herself pregnant, a product of rape. Her family is extremely conservative. She's been taught and believes abortion is wrong. She knows she doesn't want the baby. Mellie carrying until adoption would have her reliving the rape c **I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.**This is one of the most emotionally raw books I've read recently. I wasn't expecting for a book geared toward teen to have the subject matter to be so deep and hold you until the end. Mellie finds herself pregnant, a product of rape. Her family is extremely conservative. She's been taught and believes abortion is wrong. She knows she doesn't want the baby. Mellie carrying until adoption would have her reliving the rape constantly. She's not prepared to do that. Mellie feels alone and lost.Lise and Mellie are in the same class. When Lise starts noticing Mellie pulling back and acting out of the ordinary, she feels like she has something to offer to help her. Lise has her own secret and while wanting to help Mellie, it may be exposed. What They Don't Know is definitely a deep read while discussing rape, abortion, religion. All subjects that are up for debate, depending on your beliefs. The author goes into some detail readers may find hard to read but has you asking what would you do in that situation. Overall I did enjoy the read.
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  • Angeline
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 4.5/5I was given this book by Edelweiss for an honest review.This book was so powerful and I was very emotional, especially towards the end. I'm in a sorority and our national philanthropy is RAINN (Rape Abuse Incent National Network) and we do a lot of fundraising and spread awareness for sexual assault on campus so since this organization was mentioned in this book, it hit close to home. Sadly, many women go through the things that the main character, Mellie, went through. She's raped Rating: 4.5/5I was given this book by Edelweiss for an honest review.This book was so powerful and I was very emotional, especially towards the end. I'm in a sorority and our national philanthropy is RAINN (Rape Abuse Incent National Network) and we do a lot of fundraising and spread awareness for sexual assault on campus so since this organization was mentioned in this book, it hit close to home. Sadly, many women go through the things that the main character, Mellie, went through. She's raped and ends up being pregnant. She's also in a very religious and political family, who's very against abortion. I appreciated how this book mentioned pro-life and pro-choice. I think it's so relevant in the world today and it's not mentioned as much as it should be. This book is written in journal entries by 2 girls, Mellie and Lise (who's badass and a feminist, and is someone I aspire to be honestly). I think this had a more powerful way of telling the story since we're listening to the real thoughts of these 2 girls who have different beliefs when it comes to love, sex, religion, etc. but it also showed how much they have in common. When this book comes out, I definitely recommend it. It's absolutely heart wrenching and beautiful.
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    Well, it’s a hot-topic book, and there will be some polarized views, no doubt it, but I think that’s a good thing -something to get readers seeing multiple points of view on a complex topic. The journal entry format gives the two protagonists ample opportunity to confide their deepest, most private thoughts (Maggi and her deft pen must have a direct line to the teenage girl mindset). Also, we see Mellie’s (the victim of rape from a non-stranger) complete change -crumpling and folding inward- as Well, it’s a hot-topic book, and there will be some polarized views, no doubt it, but I think that’s a good thing -something to get readers seeing multiple points of view on a complex topic. The journal entry format gives the two protagonists ample opportunity to confide their deepest, most private thoughts (Maggi and her deft pen must have a direct line to the teenage girl mindset). Also, we see Mellie’s (the victim of rape from a non-stranger) complete change -crumpling and folding inward- as she internalizes her agonizing struggle and wrestles with the choices of abortion or not, coming from her hard core Christian values background. The consequences of her rape and her choices are hard, and change her forever. I’d give this thought provoking and intelligent book to the right teenage girl to read. I think it would help with discussion and ideas of great importance for that reader group. It’s an entirely sensitive and thoughtful book about a serious topic. In the end it’s a book of survival and strength.
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  • sophie
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, I was totally not prepared for that. This was a very deep and very important story that I feel everyone should read. It was so gripping, I literally could have read it in one sitting but had to stop myself😂 My one minor complaint is that I feel like the whole diary entry thing wasn’t necessary (I mean who would open that much to their teacher?). Anyways, I highly recommend this! Trigger warning: rape & abortion
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  • Tonyalee
    January 1, 1970
    I really loved this book. It’s emotional, yes. It’s difficult to read, yes, but it’s an important read. It’s been on my mind since finishing; hitting me close to home in more than one way. Highly recommend.See my full review on my blog, Vivacious Bibliophile
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  • Brooke
    January 1, 1970
    is book was incredible. I wasn’t expecting it to be about what it was but I’m so glad it turned out the way it did. The story is beautiful and heartbreaking. I think all young women should read this book because this is something that could happen to any of us.
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  • Meghan
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book as an advanced reader's copy and I was curious when I first read the summary of the book because it fit right in to the books our patrons like to read. I got excited when the book was written as journal entries with the point of view of Mellie and how open she was with all of her issues and the life choice she is facing. However, the reason we are giving this book 4 stars is the character of Lise. In the summary it made her to be the most reliable and the only friend Mellie I received this book as an advanced reader's copy and I was curious when I first read the summary of the book because it fit right in to the books our patrons like to read. I got excited when the book was written as journal entries with the point of view of Mellie and how open she was with all of her issues and the life choice she is facing. However, the reason we are giving this book 4 stars is the character of Lise. In the summary it made her to be the most reliable and the only friend Mellie has that can help her but throughout the book she seemed rather indifferent to the situation and her guidance really surprised us in not the best way. Other than that, we enjoyed the book and it will definitely be a book our patrons will be interested in and that is why we are giving it 4 stars!
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  • Olivia Farr
    January 1, 1970
    "What They Don't Know" was quite an emotional ride. What the summary doesn't state but what you find out within the first couple chapters is that Mellie was raped and has just found out she is pregnant (and is considering her options). This is something you may want to consider before picking up the book. That being said, it was definitely worth the read and is pretty much as emotional as you'd expect considering rape, pregnancy at 16 years of age, and abortion as topics. This is not an easy rea "What They Don't Know" was quite an emotional ride. What the summary doesn't state but what you find out within the first couple chapters is that Mellie was raped and has just found out she is pregnant (and is considering her options). This is something you may want to consider before picking up the book. That being said, it was definitely worth the read and is pretty much as emotional as you'd expect considering rape, pregnancy at 16 years of age, and abortion as topics. This is not an easy read but it was, in my opinion, worthwhile.Mellie is one of six children, and her father is the mayor, running for the state senate. To add onto that, her family belongs to a strict Christian church which is aggressively pro-life. In fact, it's the members of her church that stand outside the women's health clinic in town all day every day to yell at the women entering it. Mellie has always thought pregnancy and her virginity was her choice, and she has followed her family's beliefs, as most children do. The rape and subsequent pregnancy have really opened her eyes to what her family's beliefs really mean. She is suffering in her pain, and completely alone- all her friends are those her family approves of from her church. Her parents even say that abortion is unacceptable even in cases of rape and that pregnancy from that is very unlikely (at political rallies, her father emphasizes his stance on abortions). However, things are not as black and white as they seem to her family (and they did to her before this happened).Lise is fierce about her beliefs, women's rights, and trying to make a change. She volunteers at the women's health clinic to escort women past the protesters. She wants to make a difference in the world. She and Mellie used to be friends before the child of two gay men joined and Mellie had to leave. Since then, she has loosely watched Mellie from a distance. However, lately, she notices that something is wrong and Mellie seems to be alone. Lise tries to figure it out in order to help her.Both girls have a school assignment to write in a journal and both end up using the journal to talk about what is most on their minds- Mellie's problem. The book is told in alternating entries between the two girls. The journal idea was interesting in theory, but in practice, it felt like alternating points-of-view without a journal premise- conversations and dialogue are told in detail and the feel of the writing/writing style is very similar between the two sections. I could have done without the journal entries (and I am surprised that they would have submitted to their teacher what they are writing- these deep secrets seem surprising in the context of a journal for a class project. Then again, maybe they are bursting at the seams and willing to share in what feels like a safe space. They just don't quite read like journal entries. However, this is a small complaint. The overall book is hard to put down and so engaging and emotionally charged that it was quite the read.The characters are also really strong and felt very full and real. We see Mellie's internal debates and emotions and fears. She is a very strong and well built character. Lise's life is less well-built, but we get glimpses through her interactions with family and her boyfriend. She provides an interesting outside perspective, and together, we really see the power of friendship and caring for people who may not make it easy to do so. It's really the power of thinking about another person and taking actions to help them- which is true friendship.This book was more than I expected and I really think it was worth the read. Emotional, engaging, and a valuable discussion to be had. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
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  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    ORIGINAL POST: http://www.nerdprobs.com/books/book-r...**A copy of this novel was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**Nicole Maggi’s What They Don’t know will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions that leave you feeling some kind of way at the end. The story follows Mellie and Lise, both holding secrets of their own that could have life changing consequences. Mellie is from a conservative home with a politician father and a mother who will do just a ORIGINAL POST: http://www.nerdprobs.com/books/book-r...**A copy of this novel was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**Nicole Maggi’s What They Don’t know will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions that leave you feeling some kind of way at the end. The story follows Mellie and Lise, both holding secrets of their own that could have life changing consequences. Mellie is from a conservative home with a politician father and a mother who will do just about anything to back up her husband. Very religious, Mellie finds herself stifled at times and then it a bind when she feels she has a secret that they would not side with her on if told. Lise notices that Mellie has changed in behavior, and being previous friends, takes it on herself to help her out no matter the consequences.Without spoiling everything, I think it is important to point out that this book centers around the pro-life/pro-choice debate. The synopsis of the book does not give that away at all, and I feel that could potentially surprise some that might not be comfortable for some readers who are strongly pro-life. So fair warning, if you are not okay with pro-choice decisions or even conversations, this is not a book you will want to read if you are offended by topics such as that. With that said, I loved this book. I really think Maggi nailed that inner struggle I can only imagine people have after an assault and not knowing what to do when their previous beliefs collide with their current situation. Maggi showed that understanding that comes with “walking in the shoes” of someone in a different situation. Mellie had her firm beliefs until her situation caused her to question them. It’s a hard hitting topic that a lot of authors skirt around or choose not to use in their work. Maggi took the topic by the horns and took us on a journey in the minds of these incredible teenagers. Lise was an amazing girl who had found her place in the world early. She knew she wanted to help people and found a place she was useful in doing so. Even though it put her at risk, she stuck up for her beliefs and was willing to help anyone, even someone who had all but shunned her for years. I will definitely be checking out more of Nicole Maggi’s work. She has a smooth writing style that transitions well from one moment to the next. What They Don’t Know had a slow rise to the peak of the story and then was like riding a roller coaster down as you watched everything settle into it’s final moments. I love how this isn’t necessarily a happily ever after story. It’s just a story where lives continue, not everything is perfect, and you want more when you are done. Fantastic writing. Well developed characters. A gripping story.
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  • Ash
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a bit in shock with this book by Nicole Maggi.Not in a good or bad way, but just in shock in general.First: Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.For a Young Adult book, this novel is VERY heavy and has a LOT of trigger warnings.HIGH warning for rape, bullying, & abortion.I'm not sure where to begin, but let me start with the plot summary.We follow the story of Mellie, who becomes pregnant after being raped. (already more heav I'm a bit in shock with this book by Nicole Maggi.Not in a good or bad way, but just in shock in general.First: Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.For a Young Adult book, this novel is VERY heavy and has a LOT of trigger warnings.HIGH warning for rape, bullying, & abortion.I'm not sure where to begin, but let me start with the plot summary.We follow the story of Mellie, who becomes pregnant after being raped. (already more heavy than I expect for a YA)I really can't say more without giving away items.So fair warning, if you couldn't tell, this book is a bit of a downer. LOL"I know some people will say things happen for a reason or are fated, but I think we all have a choice. This is your life. You have a say in how you want to live it."- Nicole Maggi, What They Don't KnowTo preface things for all parties reading this review and considering this book. Please be aware that this deals with heavy subject matter as stated above. It also involves abortion, bullying, religion discussion, mental health (In my opinion), etc... If you are not emotionally prepared to take that type of journey. Take a breather and come back to considering this book, you'll need all emotional faculties on full for this read.That being said I feel like the above subject matter is very rough to put into a YA book. It is something that causes high passion and emotion in all ages across the board. Especially with how some views are presented in here as one dimensional and unmovable. I'm a believer of shades of grey in all aspects, as the world is made up of variety. I realize that not everyone has this view, but in a book that deals with heavy subject matter and will be read by a younger audience. It can be upsetting and traumatizing to a younger reader only seeing a polarized view. (Adolescents are still developing trust and this book doesn't really have an adult....anywhere...that they can trust.)Now onto the good part!I think this book addresses an EXCELLENT topic and the presentation is well done. The friendship between Mellie and Lise is wonderful and every sentence pulled on my heart strings. I picked up this book and it kept me involved until the end. Gripping and engaging the whole time. I love the growth of the main two characters and also the format that the book was written in.Overall, I would probably recommend this to friends but with a grain of salt and a few warnings, as this will make emotions run high. Also, again, due to how some characters are portrayed, I would warn readers to keep in mind the world IS done in shades of grey but this is book shows a very EXTREME set of people.Overall Rating: 3.25 StarsPlot: 4  StarsCharacter Development: 4 StarsDialogue: 3 StarsWriting: 2.5 StarsHappy reading!!~Ash
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  • Carissa
    January 1, 1970
    In the very beginning of this book there is a note from the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire. They say their goal is to find books with authentic teen voices. This book absolutely does just that. It is an honest look into the lives of teens today, especially teenage girls. It is realistic, relatable, riveting and best of all readable and insightful book. The writing style is fantastic throughout and there are so many messages that abound in this book. Clearly there is abortion, which at first glance In the very beginning of this book there is a note from the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire. They say their goal is to find books with authentic teen voices. This book absolutely does just that. It is an honest look into the lives of teens today, especially teenage girls. It is realistic, relatable, riveting and best of all readable and insightful book. The writing style is fantastic throughout and there are so many messages that abound in this book. Clearly there is abortion, which at first glance seems the main focus. However, even though the author herself says this book is about abortion, it was SO MUCH MORE! The focus on female friendships and empowerment is great. YA readers and teens and even older women should be reading more novels where there is a focus of female energy being used to form a support network for each other, instead of women tearing one another down. This book handles very emotional topics like rape and abortion, teen sex and finding your way through life as a teen girl and it addresses all of these issues that we may wish teens wouldn’t have to face, but unfortunately they do face them every single day, and this book walks us through all of those touchy topics with truth, grace and comfort. Comfort that even young women facing insurmountable strife, guilt and sexual stigmas can overcome—can find their own voice, their purpose and true friendships and support in a sometimes crushingly cruel world. I will be reading all of the books Nicole Maggi has written and all books she writes in the future because I find her writing honest, humble and extremely human. This book is something I think all young girls should read in hopes that they may feel not so alone in some of their struggles and as a parent I’m glad a book that is this down-to-earth, honest and relatable exists. It gives me hope that strong messages are accessible to girls and when delivered in such an entertaining and easy way as this book broaches these topics, girls won’t feel lectured, belittled or shamed for their feelings or experiences. Maybe with strong voices being heard and shared like the one the author clearly has and the strong voices she gives her characters, girls and women can move away from the shame and guilt of merely being female that society too often forces upon us. This book is great. Through and through the reading was fun and I haven’t read a YA book this good in a very long time, or any book of any genre for that matter!Thanks to NetGalley for providing me an advance copy of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. All thoughts and opinions I’ve shared about this book are entirely my own and nothing influenced my 5 star review except for the amazing talent of an exceptional author who delivered a novel that spoke to my heart.
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  • Bonnie Wells
    January 1, 1970
    *2.5*Thank you to Net Galley for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review!Heavy trigger warning for rape/pregnancy due to rape, toxic family environmentLet me start out by saying the message of this book is so important and I stand by it completely. The novel follows two girls: Mellie, who suffers a rape that results in pregnancy and struggles with what to do about it due to her family's fundamentalist Christian/extreme anti-abortion views, and Lise, who represents basically the opposite, pro-c *2.5*Thank you to Net Galley for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review!Heavy trigger warning for rape/pregnancy due to rape, toxic family environmentLet me start out by saying the message of this book is so important and I stand by it completely. The novel follows two girls: Mellie, who suffers a rape that results in pregnancy and struggles with what to do about it due to her family's fundamentalist Christian/extreme anti-abortion views, and Lise, who represents basically the opposite, pro-choice, very feminist and openminded, etc. When Lise realizes that something's off with her once friend Mellie, she decides to step in and try to help her. I loved the message of learning to realize that your body is your body, and the overall pro-choice themes. I also loved the theme of friendship. Lise reaches out to Mellie even when she's certain her advice and offers are unwanted. She stays beside her through everything and is so, so understanding. I'm such a fan of supportive friendships and this was absolutely one of them.My problem comes with the execution. It just felt so poorly done to me. First of all, everything was way too extreme. I understand that there are likely towns like this, with mayors like Mellie's father who act this way. But it just felt like it made the whole situation too dramatic, the drama of how her family will disown her and go around town looking for her. It took away from the message, which was the most important part of the story. It would of made for a more interesting, and perhaps realistic, dynamic if things weren't so extreme on both ends. Even more so than that, however, I didn't like the journal style. I'm not sure why, but it just didn't work for me. For one, it's hard to believe that a teen would realistically write all of this to a teacher (especially when Lise would talk about her near-sex encounters with her boyfriend). Also, there were times where they had written an entry, and the timing of it felt so strange. It just didn't work for the way this story was being told, especially at the end. Maybe it would of been better to use a mix of journal entries and traditional narrative, or change the timing of the entries and the fact that it was all to a teacher, especially since there were a couple notes and letters here and there that weren't written to the teacher, so how they fit into the novel just didn't make sense to me.Overall, the message of this story is so important, which is why it makes me sad to rate this so low. But the execution just wasn't there.
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  • Cheryl M-M
    January 1, 1970
    It’s an incredibly poignant story, and so relevant to our current political atmosphere when it comes to the patriarchal system trying to take women back into the dark ages and keep us there.Imagine being a frightened teenager growing up in a house where women have no voice and religion dictates her life. In the middle of a family who will force her to make a choice she would rather not make. A family who will blame her for the violation she experienced.Mellie finds her opinions and beliefs chang It’s an incredibly poignant story, and so relevant to our current political atmosphere when it comes to the patriarchal system trying to take women back into the dark ages and keep us there.Imagine being a frightened teenager growing up in a house where women have no voice and religion dictates her life. In the middle of a family who will force her to make a choice she would rather not make. A family who will blame her for the violation she experienced.Mellie finds her opinions and beliefs changing as she finds herself in a situation without an apparent solution. Being on the other side of the fence puts an entirely different spin on things. It’s also the beginning of new friendship when her religious do-gooder friends turn on her when she starts to rebel against the system. The only light at the end of the tunnel is someone who is the exact opposite of Mellie, but in fact they find they have more in common than they think.Listen up pro-lifers it is statistically proven that getting rid of abortion clinics, making abortions illegal and taking the choice away from women, does not reduce the number of abortions. It just raises the number of young girls and women putting their lives in danger by seeking abortions from backstreet abortionists or attempting old wives tale remedies.The story is a series of diary entries written to a teacher by Mellie and Lise. It begins as a school assignment, which leads to a friendship and a salvation. The entries are slotted into the story in a way that is so smooth the reader can almost forget what they are.It’s an emotional story full of desperation, and unfortunately also a statement about how we treat young girls and women in the 21st century. It’s a book I would buy for both my sons and daughters. My daughters so they can read and recognise the oppression, and my sons so they will understand how not to treat the women in their lives.It’s sheds a light on the hypocrisy of pro-lifers, especially the ones hiding under the umbrella of Christianity. The people who think Mellie doesn’t deserve a choice or a say in her own life and her own body. It’s a thought-provoking read.(I received a copy via NetGalley)
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