What They Don't Know by Nicole MaggiWhat They Don't Know by Nicole Maggi

What They Don't Know

byNicole Maggi

Paperback | October 2, 2018

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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? allwhile 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.
NICOLE MAGGI wrote her first story in third grade about a rainbow and a unicorn. After working as an actress in NYC, she now lives in Los Angeles with her family and two oddball cats. Visit her at nicolemaggi.com.
Title:What They Don't KnowFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.97 inPublished:October 2, 2018Publisher:SourcebooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1492672653

ISBN - 13:9781492672654


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Powerful and gut-wrenching 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.
Date published: 2018-10-07