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When You Know What I Know

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This is an alternate cover edition of this book. A sensitive, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful novel in verse about one girl's journey in the aftermath of abuse. One day after school, on the couch in the basement, Tori's uncle did something bad. Afterward, Tori tells her mom. Even though telling was a brave thing to do, her mom still doesn't believe her at first. Her grand This is an alternate cover edition of this book. A sensitive, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful novel in verse about one girl's journey in the aftermath of abuse. One day after school, on the couch in the basement, Tori's uncle did something bad. Afterward, Tori tells her mom. Even though telling was a brave thing to do, her mom still doesn't believe her at first. Her grandma still takes his side. And Tori doesn't want anyone else—even her best friend—to know what happened. Now Tori finds herself battling mixed emotions—anger, shame, and sadness—as she deals with the trauma. But with the help of her mom, her little sister, her best friend, and others, can Tori find a way to have the last word From debut author Sonja K. Solter comes a heartbreaking yet powerful novel that will strike a chord with readers of Jacqueline Woodson and Tony Abbott.


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This is an alternate cover edition of this book. A sensitive, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful novel in verse about one girl's journey in the aftermath of abuse. One day after school, on the couch in the basement, Tori's uncle did something bad. Afterward, Tori tells her mom. Even though telling was a brave thing to do, her mom still doesn't believe her at first. Her grand This is an alternate cover edition of this book. A sensitive, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful novel in verse about one girl's journey in the aftermath of abuse. One day after school, on the couch in the basement, Tori's uncle did something bad. Afterward, Tori tells her mom. Even though telling was a brave thing to do, her mom still doesn't believe her at first. Her grandma still takes his side. And Tori doesn't want anyone else—even her best friend—to know what happened. Now Tori finds herself battling mixed emotions—anger, shame, and sadness—as she deals with the trauma. But with the help of her mom, her little sister, her best friend, and others, can Tori find a way to have the last word From debut author Sonja K. Solter comes a heartbreaking yet powerful novel that will strike a chord with readers of Jacqueline Woodson and Tony Abbott.

30 review for When You Know What I Know

  1. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    This one hurts, but wow, what an important place in the world this little book has found. As a survivor, reading books about trauma and healing is a very cathartic act for me, so I tend to pick them up every so often. I think this was my first middle grade book on the subject, so I wasn't sure how many punches I should expect to be pulled. Honestly, that answer was practically none. While there's no explicit detail given of the trauma — and there's none needed — Solter still does a tremendous jo This one hurts, but wow, what an important place in the world this little book has found. As a survivor, reading books about trauma and healing is a very cathartic act for me, so I tend to pick them up every so often. I think this was my first middle grade book on the subject, so I wasn't sure how many punches I should expect to be pulled. Honestly, that answer was practically none. While there's no explicit detail given of the trauma — and there's none needed — Solter still does a tremendous job of conveying the pain and fear and self-doubt Tori lives through afterwards. Perhaps the most painful part of this story was the fact that Tori's mother and grandmother wouldn't believe her at first, but I appreciated that, even after they apologize and believe Tori, she doesn't have to move on right away. It's not swept under the rug — she allows herself to still hurt over their reactions, and that's really important. Our loved ones aren't always going to react perfectly to learning about traumas we've faced, and while it helps when they grow and change for the better, we don't have to force ourselves to forget how much pain that caused us. Finally, what mattered most to me here is the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel Tori finds. There's a piece near the end where she asks herself, essentially, "Is it okay to be okay now?" and that answer is a resounding yes. Our traumas never leave us, but we're allowed to have happy days. We're allowed to keep fighting everyday to heal and cope and do everything in our power not to let our abusers ruin it all. Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gemma

    This really is a must read. And I believe should be on school reading lists too. I will certainly be asking my girls to read it. It is so heartbreakingly sad, and unfortunately so real. Very well written.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review purposes. All opinions are my own. This is one of those books that is gut-wrenching. The novel, told in sparse verse, details the year following Tori's abuse. Her uncle did something bad and Tori tells her mom. She didn't want to and her mom didn't believe her at first, so Tori struggles on her own for a while. Then, after some events at school, her mother accepts the truth. But others don't. Her Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review purposes. All opinions are my own. This is one of those books that is gut-wrenching. The novel, told in sparse verse, details the year following Tori's abuse. Her uncle did something bad and Tori tells her mom. She didn't want to and her mom didn't believe her at first, so Tori struggles on her own for a while. Then, after some events at school, her mother accepts the truth. But others don't. Her grandma says there is no way it could have happened. Tori doesn't want her friends to know. And she struggles with how to deal with all of the feelings that her trauma has caused her (shame, anger, embarrassment, confusion, regret). As you read about Tori and her year, you can feel her pain. You suffocate along with her as the shame grows. You regret her decisions and the responses from the adults in her life in equal measure. The abuse is never detailed and the word "molestation" is only used once. This is a book that isn't about the voyeuristic details of abuse, it is about the journey one has to go on to get towards healing. While there are some who might be uncomfortable with the subject matter (EVERYONE is likely to be uncomfortable with it; I mean there will be some who are unsure about having students and youths read about it) there is nothing graphic in this book. And, it showcases an important and often taboo reality of life: sexual abuse happens. And it happens to children. As someone who works to make sure that there is a wide range of topics and subjects covered in my collection, this is one that I will eagerly add to the shelves. It is done incredibly well and is something that is so important. Highly recommend.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chance Lee

    Respectful and realistic. I almost didn't read it when I saw it was a novel-in-verse, but I can't think of any other way it could have been written.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Becky Shaknovich

    #metoo for middle grades. It’s totally depressing that the world needs this book... but it does. Every public and school library should get at least one copy of WYKWIK. This honest, accessible, and age-appropriate novel in verse is a quick read that has the power to soothe and educate.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    Such a beautiful written book with such a hard topic but I truly enjoyed this book. I also love reading books in verse so that was a plus.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cody Roecker

    Absolutely essential. Harrowing, haunting, and hopeful WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT I KNOW is a novel in verse about the aftermath of sexual abuse- and it is stunning

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    What a powerful read. This is a middle grade novel that packs a punch. The topic is heavy and sad, however, the verse text helps make it readable and gives it broad appeal. It is very well-written, with an age-appropriate voice.

  9. 5 out of 5

    shalawilput

    Many thanks to Edelweiss Plus and Hachette Book Group for providing me with a free advanced digital copy in exchange for an honest review. When I finished reading this story I couldn’t move. I sat and considered every word I had just read within the pages of this book. This is a gut-wrenching yet necessary read. Written in verse this story centers around Tori and what happened to her. Tori is touched inappropriately by her uncle. She tells her mother what her uncle had done and sadly her mother d Many thanks to Edelweiss Plus and Hachette Book Group for providing me with a free advanced digital copy in exchange for an honest review. When I finished reading this story I couldn’t move. I sat and considered every word I had just read within the pages of this book. This is a gut-wrenching yet necessary read. Written in verse this story centers around Tori and what happened to her. Tori is touched inappropriately by her uncle. She tells her mother what her uncle had done and sadly her mother doesn’t believe her. Tori then begins to try to decipher what had happened to her on her own. Something no 11 year old should ever have to do but what happened had begun to change everything about her. She stopped doing the things that she once enjoyed. Shame kept her from telling her best friend Rhea what had happened, causing tension between the two friends. This secret began to tear through every aspect of her young life. Her mother finally came around and recognized she was wrong. Though she has a long road ahead slowly with her mother by her side she started getting back to normal As I said before, this book is a hard, yet necessary read. It was written in such a way that I never felt uncomfortable reading about such a tough subject. In my opinion, a book like this has been long overdue. This topic is taboo, unfortunately it’s still a reality for many children. The children that have had to face this should never feel shame. And books such as this just might help them to realize what was done to them wasn’t their fault and no matter what they should always tell someone. Not only would I recommend this book to my students but also to educators, school counselors, social workers, parents and anyone else who works with and/or truly loves a child. Highly Recommend.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kelly McWilliams

    This is a gem of a book that deserves to become a classic of children's literature. If you're afraid of the heavy topic, don't be: Tori's journey is handled with such grace, such candor, and ultimately with such affirming love that you can't help but feel uplifted by this sweet, tender novel in verse. As a reader, I was rooting for Tori every step of the way, cheering her on as she struggled to overcome a life-altering trauma. While this novel importantly and urgently tackles the subject of abuse This is a gem of a book that deserves to become a classic of children's literature. If you're afraid of the heavy topic, don't be: Tori's journey is handled with such grace, such candor, and ultimately with such affirming love that you can't help but feel uplifted by this sweet, tender novel in verse. As a reader, I was rooting for Tori every step of the way, cheering her on as she struggled to overcome a life-altering trauma. While this novel importantly and urgently tackles the subject of abuse, it's also a novel about grief: about the path through it and the glimmer of light we find on the other side. In that way, it's a moving read for anyone who has experienced any kind of loss. Best of all, Solter's novel explores what remains after loss--and how we make peace with the presence of pain in our lives. If you're looking for a transcendent experience, you'll find it here. I look forward to the day I can discuss the beauty inside this book with my own daughter. This is one to treasure.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    When You Know What I Know deals with a serious topic (the aftermath of child molestation) with grace and sensitivity at a level appropriate for middle-grade and up. It is in the first person from the perspective of the child who was abused, and is written in free verse. For me reading it was an emotional experience, as the writing and the structure of the novel drew me so effectively into the narrator's head that I felt as if I was feeling and going through everything she was. The arc of the nar When You Know What I Know deals with a serious topic (the aftermath of child molestation) with grace and sensitivity at a level appropriate for middle-grade and up. It is in the first person from the perspective of the child who was abused, and is written in free verse. For me reading it was an emotional experience, as the writing and the structure of the novel drew me so effectively into the narrator's head that I felt as if I was feeling and going through everything she was. The arc of the narrative is beautiful and moving, ending with a sense of hope without erasing or minimizing everything that Tori went through. It acknowledges the lasting impact of abuse (or any trauma) but allows for a possibility to feel some lightness again. I highly recommend this book not only for middle-grade students, but for teenagers and adults as well. (Full disclosure: the author is my sister-in-law. However, I did not read any earlier drafts of this book and only knew generally what it was about going into it.)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    This book...wow...just incredible. WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT I KNOW (releasing 3/24) by Sonja K. Solter is a powerful novel in verse about surviving sexual abuse. Yes, a heavy topic, but utterly real and most regrettably, relevant and necessary. When we meet Tori, who is almost eleven, it’s immediately after the devastating and traumatizing molestation by her uncle (never explicitly revealing what exactly happened in the basement). Her journey to healing is full of raw emotion and she struggles to cope This book...wow...just incredible. WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT I KNOW (releasing 3/24) by Sonja K. Solter is a powerful novel in verse about surviving sexual abuse. Yes, a heavy topic, but utterly real and most regrettably, relevant and necessary. When we meet Tori, who is almost eleven, it’s immediately after the devastating and traumatizing molestation by her uncle (never explicitly revealing what exactly happened in the basement). Her journey to healing is full of raw emotion and she struggles to cope with the everyday—especially things that use to bring her joy like singing or her favorite holiday. The heartfelt prose is poignant, honest, and completely absorbing over its 204 pages. Impactful and important, WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT I KNOW provides hope and demonstrates that healing is possible over time. The author’s note encourages readers to listen and be there for one another even though it may be difficult to understand and provides resources for more information or to get help.

  13. 5 out of 5

    bjneary

    This was such an important book to read; Tori is eleven years old when something awful happens to her by a favorite uncle. At first her mom does not believe her and also her grandmother; devastating to say the least and the author does a great job in her novel in verse with the many stages that Tori experiences within herself (fear, loathing, anger), her family, in school, and with her best friend. Tori for the longest time can only think about and agonize over it; she is frozen in time, back wh This was such an important book to read; Tori is eleven years old when something awful happens to her by a favorite uncle. At first her mom does not believe her and also her grandmother; devastating to say the least and the author does a great job in her novel in verse with the many stages that Tori experiences within herself (fear, loathing, anger), her family, in school, and with her best friend. Tori for the longest time can only think about and agonize over it; she is frozen in time, back when it happened. She languishes more and more each day----until her mom believes her (sounds the alarm to school and officials) and when Tori begins to get help, resources (a therapist), confiding in her sister, slowly Tori begins to hope. A must read for all- kids, parents, teachers!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    ‘When You Know What I Know’ by Sonja K. Solter is a book that will stick with me for a long time. . Written in verse, this book follows ten-year-old Tori and the aftermath of her being molested by her uncle. She is brave enough to tell her mom what happened but it puts stains on the family and her school life begins to suffer as she closes herself off. . This book is significant and deeply moving. I could feel the pain and sadness Tori was going through and just wanted to reach out and give her a hu ‘When You Know What I Know’ by Sonja K. Solter is a book that will stick with me for a long time. . Written in verse, this book follows ten-year-old Tori and the aftermath of her being molested by her uncle. She is brave enough to tell her mom what happened but it puts stains on the family and her school life begins to suffer as she closes herself off. . This book is significant and deeply moving. I could feel the pain and sadness Tori was going through and just wanted to reach out and give her a hug. While this book deals with a tough subject, I feel it is an important read and can make a big impact in the YA (and book) world. . This book will be released March 24, 2020. Go check it out!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ayla Bergeron

    This story was short, but utterly heart-wrenching. It's told in poems by a young girl whose uncle abused her. The poems are so well-written and seem like Tori really wrote/thought them. The use of different fonts and punctuation make them read very emotionally. I especially appreciate that this is a middle grade book because this is a topic considered "too taboo" for that age group. However, this book handed it very well and age-appropriately. I definitely recommend picking it up.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sasha

    I finished this book in one sitting. It's absolutely heart-rending and awful, but it's necessary. The author is very kind to their reader and makes the reading experience of this horrific thing tolerable with her format choice, simple but clear vocabulary, and straightforward movement of the plot. The story hits close to home (not mine but close enough) and I'm glad it exists for all the people who need it to heal. Thank you for existing.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Meag McKeron

    This covers such a heavy topic for such a young age (elementary/middle school) but it’s an important book to have out there. It’s written in a way that it can speak to any child who has experienced what Tori has - while it’s clear that she was molested by her uncle, it doesn’t go into details and moreso focuses on Tori’s struggles to understand what happened and how to cope with it. A valuable book for both victims and their friends and loved ones to read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lorie Barber

    Powerful in-verse novel about an almost-11-year-old who’s uncle touches her inappropriately. The aftermath is devastating to her - obviously - and to her entire family & friends. Make no mistake; this is a middle-grade. And while it’s heart-wrenching, we need stories that show our kids that you can come out of darkness and into the light. Powerful in-verse novel about an almost-11-year-old who’s uncle touches her inappropriately. The aftermath is devastating to her - obviously - and to her entire family & friends. Make no mistake; this is a middle-grade. And while it’s heart-wrenching, we need stories that show our kids that you can come out of darkness and into the light.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chari

    Short powerful book. May help our MG girls to find their voice and speak out about sexual abuse.

  20. 4 out of 5

    abi

    ouch ouch ouch

  21. 4 out of 5

    Venus Reads

    Simple but powerful and full of emotion. Full RTC!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Rawson Hill

    Powerful and necessary. I'm so glad this book exists!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Fari

    contains sexual assault of a child by a relative When You Know What I Know is a middle-grade novel written in verse about Tori and how she deals with being the aftermath of her uncle touching her inappropriately. The thing about middle grade is that books can talk about such hard-hitting topics in simple words without taking away nuance or impact. I read this during a very busy time and only had time to read it during my commute but I kept having to stop because I was afraid it would make me cry contains sexual assault of a child by a relative When You Know What I Know is a middle-grade novel written in verse about Tori and how she deals with being the aftermath of her uncle touching her inappropriately. The thing about middle grade is that books can talk about such hard-hitting topics in simple words without taking away nuance or impact. I read this during a very busy time and only had time to read it during my commute but I kept having to stop because I was afraid it would make me cry in public. This book deals with Tori's trauma and how she can't forget what happened. The mirror, her hamster, the stain on the carpet all remind her uncle and it haunts her. It affects her performance in school and her friendship with her best friend because Tori has a hard time being present. Please believe children when they come forward. Neither Tori's mother nor her grandmother believed her when she first told them and that breaks my heart. Regardless of how well you think you know the perpetrator or how it would tear apart the family, children deserve our support and to be heard and to be protected from such criminals. Despite the heavy topic, the book is still full of hope and healing and I hope you'll pick it up. I took a photo on IG of this book with a new, tiny tree in the middle of snow because that's truly what this book was like. Hope blossoming the midst of harsh winter. Thank you so much to HBG Canada for the review copy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Port

    ARC READ Review to come.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Meliss

    Such a good verse novel. Heartbreaking and realistic, and such an important subject matter.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This was short, yet hard hitting. Listened to this in one sitting! tw: sexual assault, anxiety

  27. 4 out of 5

    Caelea Armstrong

    Super-gentle approach. Accessible. Age-appropriate language. Will be in my school library as soon as we get back.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    A sensitive middle grade story about a girl’s journey after sexual abuse - told in verse. Appropriate for ages 10 and up. It’s gentle, yet heartfelt and real.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cherakye Lopez

    Absolutely ESSENTIAL reading!!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Ingle

    Simple yet powerful. Sad yet hopeful.

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