What My Mother Doesn't Know

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An utterly authentic story of first (and second and third) ...

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What My Mother Doesn't Know

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An utterly authentic story of first (and second and third) love, told in accessible free verse and featuring a new cover and larger trim size.

It’s not that I'm boy crazy.
It’s just that even though
I’m almost fifteen
I’ve been having sort of a hard time
trying to figure out the difference
between love and lust.
It’s like
my mind
and my body
and my heart
just don’t seem to be able to agree
on anything.

Get to know Sophie, a freshman in high school who’s struggling through the daily grind and all the crushes that come with it, as she shares her innermost thoughts and feelings in this remarkably relatable novel in verse from Sonya Sones.

Sophie describes her relationships with a series of boys as she searches for Mr. Right.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Entertainment Weekly Winning.

Booklist Starred review Fast, funny, touching.

Kirkus Reviews Starred review A verse experience that will leave readers sighing with recognition and satisfaction.

Publishers Weekly Honest...destined to captivate.

KLIATT Brilliant.

Publishers Weekly
"Drawing on the recognizable cadence of teenage speech, the author poignantly captures the tingle and heartache of being young and boy-crazy," wrote PW in a starred review. "She weaves separate free verse poems into a fluid and coherent narrative with a satisfying ending." Ages 12-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
Drawing on the recognizable cadences of teenage speech, Sones (Stop Pretending) poignantly captures the tingle and heartache of being young and boy-crazy. The author keenly portrays ninth-grader Sophie's trajectory of lusty crushes and disillusionment whether she is gazing at Dylan's "smoldery dark eyes" or dancing with a mystery man to music that "is slow/ and/ saxophony." Best friends Rachel and Grace provide anchoring friendships for Sophie as she navigates her home life as an only child with a distant father and a soap opera-devotee mother whose "shrieking whips around inside me/ like a tornado." Some images of adolescent changes carry a more contemporary cachet, "I got my period I prefer/ to think of it as/ rebooting my ovarian operating system," others are consciously clich?d, "my molehills/ have turned into mountains/ overnight" this just makes Sophie seem that much more familiar. With its separate free verse poems woven into a fluid and coherent narrative with a satisfying ending, Sophie's honest and earthy story feels destined to captivate a young female audience, avid and reluctant readers alike. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
To quote KLIATT's September 2001 review of the hardcover edition: Another story told in a series of short poems. Sophie is the narrator, and she is full of enthusiasm for boyfriends and kissing. First she finds Dylan, after breaking up with Lou. Dylan's kisses are exciting, but as time goes on, they become less so as Sophie gets to know him better. Sophie's friends follow the details of these adolescent passions—Sophie's and their own—so Sophie is somewhat taken aback when she finds the boy of her dreams, but is embarrassed to reveal his identity. Robin Murphy, outcast, reveals his entertaining, witty, and even sexy appeal to Sophie in the Museum of Fine Arts, on the Boston Common, and at the Boston Public Library. They share a love of drawing and people watching—in fact, they discover they share many interests, including kissing each other. Sones' method of telling a story through brief poems is captivating. The reader flies from one experience to the next, enjoying the frequently witty titles of the poems, re-reading the poignant images, laughing at the impossible dilemmas. Sophie is full of life, excited about falling in love, worried about her image, loyal to her friends, trying to understand her parents. Sones' revelation of Sophie's character through poetry is brilliant. KLIATT Codes: J*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 2001, Simon & Schuster, Pulse, 260p.,
— Claire Rosser
This book was very well written. The topic was just right for Sones. Her writing style and the way she incorporates poetry into her stories is really wonderful. I think this is an incredibly good book and I would recommend it along with her other one. I rate it 5Q 4P. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Simon & Schuster, 272p, $17. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Andrea Alonge, Teen Reviewer
Children's Literature
Nearly fifteen years old, Sophie narrates her quest for Mr. Right-and a-half in a novel-length collection of free verse poems. On the way, readers travel through her first and second loves and a secret cyber relationship that she deletes at the first sign of weirdness. The highs and lows of Sophie's life reflect much of the excitement and anguish that mark adolescence¾maintaining and developing new friendships;experiencing first love;despairing of parents in the midst of marital strife and personal transitions;and facing down religious bigotry and collective scape-goating. Sophie negotiates all of these life-events with honesty, openness and humor as she reconstructs her identity and learns to trust her own perspective. 2001, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.00. Ages 12 up. Reviewer:Melissa J. Rickey
From The Critics
What My Mother Doesn't Know is a novel written in verse that reads like a journal. Sophie is a typical 15-year-old girl. She worries about school and likes to hang out with her friends, and much of her energy is devoted to boys. As the story begins, she has broken up with Lou, and is about to go out with Dylan. Then, she meets Chaz while chatting on-line, but quickly becomes disgusted with his perverted remarks. At a Halloween dance, Sophie is swept off her feet by a masked stranger never reveals his true identity. To be sure, Sophie is confused. But Sophie is not as confused as her mother is. Sophie's mom is a stay-at-home mother who cooks, cleans, and watches soap operas. The trouble is that she is moody, and when her feelings are hurt, she retreats to the basement for days on end. Unfortunately, Sophie's dad is away on frequent business trips, leaving Sophie to cope with the mother whom she cannot reach. Restless, she longs for a stable relationship with someone she can completely trust. By chance, at an art museum in her hometown of Boston, Sophie meets just such a boy, Murphy, who proves to be her soulmate in love and conversation. What Sophie's "mother doesn't know" is what Sophie learns on her own in this quirky, yet endearing teen romance: that good, lasting, important relationships must be built on mutual understandings. 2001, Simon and Schuster, 259 pp.,
— Cindy Carey
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up

"My name is Sophie. This book is about me." With these words, Sonya Sones's novel (S & S, 2001) draws listeners into the private thoughts and longings of a ninth grade girl on the verge of finding love and learning what it means to mature. Dealing with a mother who immerses herself in the lives of her favorite soap stars, Sophie finds herself thinking about all the things her mother doesn't know about her, such as the fact that she's dating socially acceptable Dylan, though she has started daydreaming about a dorky boy named Murphy. When everyone else seems to leave town on a school break, Sophie has a blast with Murphy, and wonders if he is Mr. Right. Thoughts of her friends' reactions to the boy almost bring the new relationship to a halt. Told in Sophie's own free verse poems, the story moves and evolves quickly in a satisfying and tantalizing manner. Kate Reinders perfectly portrays Sophie's teen angst. Although the reading is sometimes too rapid for listeners to absorb the changes in topics, girls will relate to the author's honest prose and Sohie's angst. An excellent addition to YA collections .-Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT

School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-A story written in poetry form. Sophie is happily dating Dylan, "until he's practically glued himself to my side." Then she falls for cyberboy ("if I could marry a font/I'd marry his"). Imagine her surprise when he becomes downright scary. In the satisfying ending, Sophie finds the perfect boyfriend-someone she's known all along. Sones is a bright, perceptive writer who digs deeply into her protagonist's soul. There she reveals the telltale signs of being "boy crazy"; the exciting edginess of cyber romances; the familiar, timeless struggle between teens and parents; and the anguish young people feel when their parents fight. But life goes on, and relationships subtly change. Sones's poems are glimpses through a peephole many teens may be peering through for the first time, unaware that others are seeing virtually the same new, scary, unfamiliar things (parents having nuclear meltdowns, meeting a boyfriend's parents, crying for no apparent reason). In What My Mother Doesn't Know, a lot is revealed about the teenage experience- ("could I really be falling for that geek I dissed a month ago?"), clashes with close friends, and self-doubts. It could, after all, be readers' lives, their English classes, their hands in a first love's. Of course, mothers probably do know these goings-on in their daughters' lives. It's just much easier to believe they don't. Sones's book makes these often-difficult years a little more livable by making them real, normal, and OK.-Sharon Korbeck, Waupaca Area Public Library, WI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This year's umpteenth novel in verse begs the question, if the narrative were told in conventional prose, would it be worth reading? The answer in this instance is, maybe not, as it does little more than chronicle one ninth-grade girl's progression through boyfriends until she arrives at last at an unlikely Mr. Right. Laid out in a series of mostly free-verse poems, however, the text gets at the emotional state of this girl so completely and with such intensity that a conventional narrative framework would simply dilute the effect. Sophie's romantic travails take her from sexy Dylan (" . . . when he kisses me / all I feel is / the overwhelming / overness of it") through cyberdude Chaz ("If I could marry a font / I would definitely marry his") and friend-from-preschool Zak ("I hope I didn't embarrass him / when I laughed. / It's just that I thought he was kidding") to class dork Murphy ("I mean, / we're talking about Murphy here. / He's not exactly boyfriend material. / Is he?"). Along the way she must contend with casual anti-Semitism, her parents' failing marriage, and her mother's depression, but she is also bolstered by her friendship with Rachel and Grace. The verse format allows Sophie to interrogate and explore her feelings and relationships with quintessentially teenage ferocity: "I guess it wasn't how [his eyes] looked / that got to me. / It was how it felt / when they connected with mine- / like this door / was opening up inside of me / that had never been opened before, / and his soul was walking right in." If the threads involving Sophie's parents are left hanging somewhat, readers will forgive this oversight. Romantic and sexy, with a happy ending that leaves Sophie togetherwith Mr. Right, Sones (Stop Pretending: What Happened when My Big Sister Went Crazy, 1999) has crafted a verse experience that will leave teenage readers sighing with recognition and satisfaction. (Fiction/poetry. YA)
Children's Literature - Christy Devillier
Fifteen-year-old Sophie is the introspective narrator of this emotionally-rich novel in verse. Concise, easy-to-read passages capture the drama of her life as she falls in and out of love, copes with emotionally distant parents, makes mistakes, and struggles down the uncertain path of self-discovery. Sophie shares the bliss and heartache of her romance with handsome Dylan, an infatuation that dissolves with the realization that they have little in common. Luckily, she has support from her two best friends, Rachel and Grace. Sophie details how the three young women love, annoy, and unintentionally influence each other. Readers learn Sophie's innermost feelings about a variety of memories and experiences—a near-miss with a cyber-predator, her first time buying tampons, painful clashes with her mother, and a titillating dance with a masked stranger. Sophie also confesses something she won't tell another soul: She is fascinated with Murphy, the least popular and homeliest boy at school. While her friends are out of town, she runs into Murphy at a museum. A shared passion for art and sketching brings them together, and Sophie finds herself falling hard for a guy widely derided by her friends and everyone she knows. How will she tell Rachel and Grace about this new love? Finding a true connection with someone is rare and wonderful, but Sophie isn't sure it's worth the risk of losing her best friends. She faces a difficult choice, and readers will be rooting for her in this honest, heartfelt novel. Sones' convincing portrayal of Sophie will resonate with teen and pre-teen readers. Her well-written, poetic prose effortlessly draws readers into Sophie's world. The wide appeal of this engaging title makes it an ideal choice for young adult collections. A sequel, What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know, continues the journey. Reviewer: Christy Devillier
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442493858
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 5/7/2013
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 259
  • Sales rank: 160,465
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sonya Sones has taught animation, worked as a photographer, and edited movies. Her first book, Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and won a Christopher Award, the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award, and the Myra Cohn Livingston Poetry Award. Sonya lives near the beach in California, with her family. Visit her at www.sonyasones.com.
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Read an Excerpt


Most people just call me Sophie
(which is the name
on my birth certificate),
or Sof,
or sometimes Sofa.
Zak and Danny think it's cute
to call me Couch,
as in:
"How're your cushions doing today, Couch?"
Or sometimes they call me Syphilis,
which I don't find one bit funny.
My parents usually call me
Sophie Dophie or Soso.
And Rachel and Grace call me Fifi,
or sometimes just Fee.

But Dylan calls me Sapphire.
He says it's because of my eyes.
I love the way his voice sounds
when he says it.
I like whispering it to myself.
His name for me.
It's like the secret password
to my heart.

Sixth Sense

Sometimes I just know things.
Like when Lou asked me to go on that walk
down by the reservoir last year
on the last day of eighth grade.
I knew he was going to say
he wanted to break up with me.

And I knew my heart
would shatter
when he did.

I just know things.
I can feel them coming.
Like a couple of weeks ago
when I went to the Labor Day party at Zak's.
Something perfect was going to happen.
I just knew it.

That was the night I met Dylan.

How It Happened

After Zak's party,
Rachel's big sister
came to drive a bunch of us home,
with her friend
and her friend's younger brother.

I was the last one to get in the car
and it turned out
all the other laps were taken,
so I had to sit on
Rachel's sister's friend's brother's lap.

It was
Dylan's lap,
but even though he goes to my school
I'd never seen him before.

And he had such smoldery dark eyes
that I felt like I'd been zapped
smack into the middle
of some R-rated movie
and everyone else in the car
was just going to fade away
and this guy and I
were going to start making out,
right then and there,
without ever having said
one word to each other.

But what really happened
was that he blushed and said,
"Hi. I'm Dylan."
And I blushed back and said,
"I'm Sophie."
And he said, "Nice name."
And I said, "Thanks."

After that we didn't say anything else
but our bodies seemed to be
carrying on a conversation of their own,
leaning together
into every curve of the road,
sharing skin secrets.

And just before we got to my house,
I thought I felt him
give my waist an almost squeeze.

Then the car rolled to a stop
and I climbed out
with my whole body buzzing.

I said good night,
headed up the front walk,
and when I heard the car pulling away,
I looked back over my shoulder
and saw Dylan looking over his shoulder
at me.

When our eyes connected,
this miracle smile lit up his face
and I practically had
a religious experience.

Then I went upstairs to bed
and tried to fall asleep,
but I felt permanently wide awake.
And I kept on seeing that smile of his
and feeling that almost squeeze.

Distracted in Math Class

All I have to do
is close my eyes

and I can feel his lips,
the way they felt
that very first time.

I can feel the heat of them,
parting just slightly,
brushing across my cheek,

moving closer
and closer still
to my mouth,

till I can hardly breathe,
hardly bear to wait
for them to press onto mine.

All I have to do
is close my eyes.

Between Classes with Dylan

We fall into step
in the crowded hall
without even glancing
at each other,

but his little finger
finds mine,
hooking us

and all the clatter
of the corridor fades away
till the only sound I can hear
is the whispering of our fingers.

In the Cafeteria

Sitting alone
with Dylan.
Eating my sandwich,
but not
tasting it.

I'm only aware of
the sparks in his eyes,
the sun in his hair
and the spot where his knee's
touching mine.

Then, over his shoulder,
I see Rachel and Grace waving at me,
grinning like pumpkins,
holding up this little sign
with "Remember us?" written on it.

In the Girls' Bathroom

"Is he a good kisser?"
Rachel asks.
"Unbelievable," I say.

And it's true.
Dylan's kisses
seem like something
much better than kissing.

It's like
I can feel them
with my whole body.

That never used to happen
when Lou kissed me.
And he's the only other boy
I've ever made out with.

"Has he tried to get to second base?"
Grace wants to know.
But the bell rings just in time.

It's Been Rachel, Grace and Me

Ever Since
That September afternoon,
when third grade had barely begun
and we were just getting
to know each other,
we skipped through
the first fallen leaves,
weaving our way through
the quiet neighborhood
to Sage Market for Häagen-Dazs bars.

That September afternoon,
when we saw the four older girls
pedaling towards us,
we didn't expect them to stop
or to leap off their bikes
and suddenly surround us.

But they did.

And we had no idea that the biggest one,
Mary Beth Butler,
who had these glinting slits for eyes,
would ask Rachel
what church she belonged to.
That September afternoon,
after Rachel mumbled, "Saint James's,"
we didn't know that Mary Beth
would ask Grace the same question,
or that Grace would squeak out,
And it's none of your business."

But she did.

And when Mary Beth asked me the question
and I said I didn't go to church
because I was Jewish,
I didn't think she'd start shouting
at Rachel and Grace,
"Don't you know you aren't supposed
to play with anyone
who doesn't go to church?"
while her friends glared
and tightened their circle around us.

That September afternoon,
when Rachel kicked Mary Beth in the shin
and the three of us
crashed through the cage of bikes,
racing off together
across the nearest lawn,
scrambling through the hedge
and into the alley,
not stopping till we
were locked safely behind
the heavy oak of Rachel's front door,
we didn't know that we'd just become
best friends.

But we had.

Text copyright © 2001 by Sonya Sones

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 519 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 521 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2008

    A Book Every Girl Should Read

    My teacher was reading this book with a small reading club at school,but I decided to read it on my own,I'm very glad I did.It was a funny,entertaining and captivating book.Once I started reading it,I could not stop! I TOTALLY recommend this book to everyone and anyone who's trying to find a satisfying and pleasing story with a touch of romantic adventure.

    74 out of 76 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2008


    It will grab your attention I read in like 1hour it's great!!

    31 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 18, 2009

    this book rocks

    i raed this book and its a very awesome book. i just think it just is very detailed and one of the best teenage books i ever read . this girl is fifteen her name is sophia aka saphire she has so much things goin on in her life its just really undescribable .. one of the best books i ever read from sonya sones

    24 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2012

    Taylor Swift made a book?

    Taylor Swift made a book?

    22 out of 57 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 29, 2011

    Little weird, but still good

    I like this book because it shows what true love really is. Sophie shows that love isn't about looks, it's about personality. The only thing wrong with it is that some of the book is a little gross and inappropriate for younger kids. This is a high school book definitely, even though it is easy to read and is very short. I had to write sticky notes for this book, and it was harder than trying not to spill a cup of tea when running on a treadmill. It was hard to find appropriate material. I was surprised to find it in my middle school library. Although it is a little unacceptable for little kids, it's a good book.

    16 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 18, 2011


    Nook prices should be a lot lower 4 books! 8 dollars is too much. Its only 100 pages! If they dont change the price people wont buy it, then there'll be no point of selling it.

    14 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2011


    Not inapropriot. I read it two years ago when i was 11. My middle school has it in the library. Good book! Second one is strange but ok too.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2012

    I love it!

    I dont read chick books, but i did read this one. I loved it! It was funny, and a good, fast read. Put this on your must read list!!

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2011


    Best book i ever read

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    What My Mother Doesn't Know

    The main characters are Sofie and Rachel and Grace. They are good friends. The story takes place at school. Rachel and Grace are on vacation and Sophie meets a boy. He goes to the same school as the girls. They really like each other. Rachel and Grace don't really like the boy. So Sophie is afraid to tell them who the guy is because she doesn't want her friends to make fun of the guy that she met at the dance. When the girls get back from the vacation she wants to have a talk with them about the guy. His nickname is Murphy so all of the students at the school call him that, so Rachel and Grace are gonna know who he is right away. Rachel and Grace are so excited to know who Sophie is hanging out with. Sophie is kind of nervous of what her friends are gonna think of her going out with Murphy. This book was so good and the characters all have there own personality, so I feel like I am actually someone in the book. This book was very good. I recommend this book to girls that are ages 12 and up or even 13 and up. You will love this book.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2012


    You need to read this it can help you ALOT i read it for one hour straight i love it you will too!!!!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2012


    This book is good for girls who love books and are between the age of 11to16 i love it

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2011

    I loveee this book!

    This was a really good book i think it is deff for older girls like in high school but i loveed it it was amazingg i read it all in one day i couldnt put it down at all i think you all should read it!!!!!<3

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2006

    What My Mother Doesn't Know

    What my mother doesn't know is by far the very worst book I have ever read. Only an extremely shallow person would ever enjoy it. In one word: Horrific. Do yourself a favor and never read this.

    7 out of 66 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2012

    The book What My Mother Doesn't know is very entertaining and re

    The book What My Mother Doesn't know is very entertaining and realistic. I can understand her side of the story and why she didn't tell her mother anything. The book was short and a very easy to read. I needed some time to adjust to the inverse way of writing. Even though the mom was into her child, the girl could of at least consult her mom and her friends. The book was a fun and easy read and i really enjoyed it. I recommend this book to young girls in middle school.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Good quick read

    This was a really good book and i finished it in one day! Very good story.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2012


    This book is spectacular, most girls can have some connection to this. You have the homely sweet heart and the hunky jerk... which to choose??? Amazing book, but keeps freezing on me for some reason

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2012

    The best nook ever

    Best book ever!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012


    Love every bit it makes me feel like one of tjose teenage girls on tv. Every thing is so perfect. From the font to everything else...i love it. But just to let you no its only 57 pages...but incredibly worth it.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012


    It was amazing o luv this book!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 521 Customer Reviews

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