One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies

One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies

by Sonya Sones


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Following her mother’s death, Ruby is reluctantly reunited with her estranged movie star father in this stunning free verse novel featuring a new cover and larger trim size.

When Ruby’s mother dies, she’s dragged three thousand miles away from her gorgeous boyfriend, Ray, to live in LA with her father, who she’s only ever seen in movies. He’s a mega-famous actor who divorced her mom before Ruby was even born, and while the rest of the world may love him, Ruby definitely does not.

But as time passes and pages turn, Ruby comes to understand that circumstances are far more complicated than they seem, and sometimes forgiveness is found where you least expect it. This award-winning and bestselling novel in verse weaves a gripping narrative that is accessible as it is compelling.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416907886
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 10/25/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 4.86(h) x 0.73(d)
Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Sonya Sones has written five YA novels-in-verse: To Be Perfectly Honest (A Novel Based on an Untrue Story), Stop Pretending, One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, What My Mother Doesn’t Know, and its companion, What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know. Her books have received many honors, including a Christopher Award, the Myra Cohn Livingston Poetry Award, and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize nomination. But the coolest honor she ever got was when What My Mother Doesn’t Know made it onto the American Library Association’s list of the Top 100 Most Banned Books of the Decade (to see why, see p.46). She lives near the beach in southern California, and only tells the occasional fib. Visit her at or follow @SonyaSones on Twitter.

Read an Excerpt

American Airlines Flight 161

I'm not that depressed,

considering that this

gigantic silver bullet with wings

is blasting me away from my whole entire life,

away from Lizzie Brody,

my best friend in the world,

away from Ray Johnston,

my first real boyfriend.

Not that depressed,

considering I've been kidnapped

by this monstrous steel pterodactyl

and it's flying me all the way to L.A.

to live with my father

who I've never even met

because he's such a scumbag

that he divorced my mother

before I was even born.

I'd say I'm doing reasonably well,

considering I'm being dragged

three thousand miles away from all my friends

and my school and my aunt Duffy

and the house I've lived in ever since I was born,

three thousand miles away from my mother,

and my mother's grave,

where she lies in a cold wooden box

under six feet of dirt,

just beginning to rot.

I'm not that depressed

considering that I'm trapped

on this jumbo poison dart

shooting me away from everything I love,

and there's this real weird guy

sitting in the seat right behind mine,

who keeps picking his nose

and eating it.


Who? Me?

Aunt Duffy Drove Me to the Airport

And there was a second there

when I actually considered

getting down on my hands and knees

and begging her not to put me on this plane,

begging her not to send me away,

pleading with her to let me stay in Boston

and live with her instead.

But Duffy's so nice that I knew she'd say yes

and I knew that that would make me feel

like crawling under a boulder,

because her apartment just has

this one microscopic bedroom

and now that she's finally

got herself a new boyfriend,

the last thing she needs

is to have her fifteen-year-old niece

permanently camped out in her living room,

which is barely even big enough

to fit her couch.

So I contained my urge to grovel.

My Mother Hated Flying

Especially after September 11th.

She used to squeeze my hand so hard

during takeoffs and landings

that she'd cut off my circulation.

She'd screw her eyes closed and whisper this silly prayer someone taught her once. Something about manifold divine blessings being unto the plane or the universe or some hippie-dippy thing like that.

And if there was even

a teensy bit of turbulence — forget it.

She'd start apologizing to me

for every mean thing she'd ever said

or done or even thought about doing.

This morning,

when the plane was lurching down the runway

and I didn't have Mom's hand to hold,

my heart flung itself up into my throat.

And for a minute there,

I couldn't even breathe.

I didn't know how much

I depended on

being depended on

by her.

Peach Fuzz

When the flight attendant

leans in to ask me

if I'd like something to drink,

and the sun splashes across her face,

I notice

all these tiny little

blond hairs on her cheeks,

and tears rush into my eyes.

My mother had them, too.

I used to tease her about them.

Called it her peach fuzz.

It used to make her laugh.

If I could reach out

and stroke those little hairs

on the flight attendant's face,

without totally freaking her out,

I'd close my eyes

and I'd do it right now.

I'd touch my mother's cheek

one more time.

Maybe You're Wondering About It

But that's just tough.

Because I'm not even going to go in

to how she died.

Let's just say she knew that she was sick,

that she felt it burrowing,

felt it gnawing at her insides.

But the doctors wouldn't listen.

And when they finally found it,

there was nothing they could do.

Nothing she could do.

Nothing I could do.


Let's just say

she wasted away into a toothpick,

and leave it at that, okay?

That after a while

she was just a shadow

lying there on her bed.


And I guess we can say

that I was holding her hand

when it finally happened.

I Love to Read

But my life better not turn out

to be like one of those hideous books

where the mother dies

and so the girl has to

go live with her absentee father

and he turns out to be

an alcoholic heroin addict

who brutally beats her

and sexually molests her

thereby causing her to become

a bulimic ax murderer.

I love to read,

but I can't stand books like that.

And I flat out refuse

to have one of those lives

that I wouldn't even want

to read about.

And Speaking of Fathers

As soon as I was old enough

to notice that I didn't have one,

I started asking questions.

Like, "Where's my daddy?"

And, "How come Lizzie has a daddy,

but I don't?"

Mom's face would sort of slam shut

and all she'd say was,

"He divorced me before you were born."

If it wasn't for my aunt Duffy

I'd never have even found out

who my father was.

Copyrights & © 2004 by Sonya Sones

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A satisfying, moving novel."

Booklist, starred review

"A winning portrayal of a teenage girl's loves and losses."

Publishers Weekly

"Ruby's voice is pitch-perfect."


Customer Reviews

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One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 208 reviews.
Corbella More than 1 year ago
I absolutly fell in love with this book! It was so hilarious to me! But yet it was serious. Weird, but a good mix. I told one of my friend to read it, but she didn't like the way in was writen in a long paragraph instead of a chapter (I really didn't like that either, but I got over it), so I started to read it to her, and she fell in love with it!! This book is about Ruby, who has to go live with her movie star dad, Whip Logan, since her mother died and her Aunt is going away with her new boyfriend. Now to me that would be heaven!! Living next to movie stars, going to a cool school (where teachers actually let you call them by their first names!), and having lots of money to buy anything you want!But to Ruby it's torture! She has to move away from her best friend, and her more than awesome boyfriend,Ray! Once Ruby gets to "Less Angeles" she is forever hating Whip. But Whip is bound to get her to like him. But little does Ruby know Whip has some secrets. What are they? Like I'm going to tell you!! Read it for yourself!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing I read it about 5 times and it never got boring. I don't care about haters so if you don't like it don't bother with it. :)
luckeyBARE More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely amazing, its very great. Its very emotional, funny, and thrilling. Its truly unforgettable, I enjoyed reading this book, Its just so FANTASTIC. I recommend this book for ages 13 and up. This is probably the best book i've read in years!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was amazing! Not writing in paragraphs annoyed me at first, but I got over it quickly! The characters weren't developed the best, it might leave you wanting to know more about Ruby's personality, and past like it did with me! I didn't feel the love for Max like Ruby did, but I didn't despise him. I liked how the author got you to dislike characters quickly! *cough* Ray *cough* Lizzie *cough* But in the end I did like Lizzie. I wish there was more of Colette though. She seemed like an iffy character, like you wanted to have a trio of best friends, and Colette was there just to be another number. The plot was fresh, interesting, and cute! I haven't read anything like it!
ygonzalez on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The setting of the book is in Hollywood between summer and winter. Almost all the action of this book takes place in Ruby¿s house and school. Ruby, Ray, Lizzie, and Ruby¿s dad Whip are the main characters of this book. All the characters are very believable especially Ruby, because she puts so much feelings into what she says. Ruby is my favorite character, because she¿s the only character that actually lets her voice be heard. The story was very cool and fun, but unfortunately, I couldn¿t relate to any of the characters in the book. Of course, I haven¿t done any of the things that any of the characters did, and I don¿t plan on ever doing such things. The conflict of the story is that Ruby¿s mother died, and that she¿s got to go live with her father, a person that she doesn¿t even know. All Ruby knows about her father is that he is a Hollywood actor known as Whip. When Ruby¿s mother dies, her Aunt Duffy takes her to the airport since she has to go live in Hollywood with her father. When Ruby arrives at Hollywood her father Whip is already in the airport waiting for her. While Whip is trying to be nice to his daughter, Ruby just ignores and is rude to him. Ruby¿s first day at her new school, wasn¿t very good according to her, since Whip doesn¿t let her walk to school, instead he takes her in one of his cool and expensive cars with plates that read ¿RUBYZDAD¿. Whip also comes for his daughter, Ruby after school, this action causes Ruby, to be even madder and to yell at Whip for everything she¿s got against him. Whip¿s feelings get hurt real bad, so obviously Max, Whip¿s assistant who lives in the same house with Ruby and Whip finds out and goes talk with Ruby. After the talk both Ruby and Whip apologize to each other. However, this isn¿t enough for Ruby, she still wants to keep hurting Whip, since Whip has hurt her all her life since he divorced from her mother. At the same time that all this fighting is going on, Ruby has a dream about her mother, asking for her to run out of the house in the middle of the night. Ruby have asleep obeys to the dream and walks out the house and doesn¿t stop walking until she arrives to her school, which is like 4-5 blocks to him. Right away when Whip notices that Ruby, has left the house, he goes and looks for her, he of course finds her in front of her school. Outside the school, they start talking of all that has happen, but all of a sudden the ground starts to tremble, so Whip quickly finds shelter for Ruby and protects her, seconds later everything is back to normal. When they arrived home Whip explains all his life to Ruby, he tells her the entire true, and the reason that he divorced her mother. After the explanation that Whip gives his daughter, Ruby really and truly forgives her father for everything.I would have liked the ending better if Whip, Ruby¿s father hadn¿t revealed to his daughter that he was gay. What I most liked about this book is that it felt like everything was real, and not just a made- up story. If I could change a part on this book, it would be the part of Whip being gay. This book actually does teach its audience a lesson, it teaches, that we should learn to listen to the persons first, before judging them. I think everybody should read this book, especially the people who are used to judging others before knowing what¿s wrong. RATING: IT WAS PRETTY GOOD, AND I WISH THE BOOK HADN¿T ENDED SO SOON.
pmunoz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The setting of this story is in Hollywood. This book takes action on summer vacatons and at school. My favorite character was Ruby, because we can comprehend each other as teenagers. Other main characters from this story were: Ruby's mother, Whip, Max, Rey, and Lizzie, I can not relate myself to any of this characters. I have felt the same way as the characters in some of their problems. The conflict of this story is that Ruby's mother died of cancer and she needs to move to live with her father, whom she doesn't even know, Ruby didn't like her father, resulting he is a famous movie star. The resolution of the story is when Ruby finally discovers the importance of her father, and likes him by no matter what qualities she doesn't like about him. The problem got solved when Ruby and Ruby's father "Whip" communicate and talked more about themselves. The major events of this story were, since Ruby was a little girl, her aunt took her to the movies every birthday to see her father ¿Whip¿ a Hollywood star, because Ruby¿s major wish was to know her father, even though it wasn¿t in person. Ruby¿s mother dies of cancer, and Ruby needs to move to live with her father while not knowing anything about him, she discovers a lot of secrets not tolled from her mother. Denying almost all the secrets, tolled she finally recognizes each problem. I liked the ending, it is not a very common ending, resulting that her father is gay by having a boyfriend named ¿Max¿, however Ruby accepted his decision. I liked everything about this book, because it is not a very common book that I or anyone has read. I wouldn¿t change anything about this book, because it is perfect in my personal opinion. What I learned about this book is to accept other people¿s decisions. I think everyone including students, teachers, parents, etc, should read it, because there is some people still that don¿t accept their or other people¿s sexuality decisions, and also for the ones they do too. RATING: I couldn¿t put it down, it was so good!
DF1A_NataschaM on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The sassy title tells readers right away that this book is NOT like one of those hideous books where the mother dies, even if the whole story starts with Ruby's mom¿s death. Ruby¿s whole life changes immediately when she is sent from Boston to L.A. to live with the father she has never met. All that she knows is that he is a world-class actor, and more important, a world-class jerk who abandoned her and her mother before she was even born. She is sure she will never be able to like or even love him. She decides to rebel against her father for the pain he had caused her, only to find out that every story has two sides. This book is a great story which tells of friendship, betrayal, and parent-child relationships. The story is written in a series of brief poems interspersed with e-mails and letters which make this book an amusing read.
kbell12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. I think that Ruby is a character that people can connect to and understand her feelings throughout the story. I wanted to keep reading to see if her feelings towards her father would change. I feel that the format of the book makes it an easy and quick read. I think the plot could have been a little more exciting and less predictable.
4sarad on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A cute, funny, quick read. Definitely not something there's any sense in ever reading again, but it was entertaining enough. The plot was pretty predictable, but the book was funny and short enough to avoid being horrible.
shamille on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found out about this book by going to the Amazon site in a half-attempt to try to figure out how to put the links on here (and failing). So, I knew nothing about the book.I'm SO glad i got it.It's a novel, and it's in my favorite type of format, like it's Diary and emails. The odd thing is that the diary (i think it's a diary) is in poetry format or something. Really cool.Anyway, the main character, a girl named Ruby, has suffered a tragedy when her mom dies. So she has to move all the way from New England (because I can't spell Massachusets) to L.A., with her famous father, Whip Logan.And she hates everything. Including her father, who feels the same way she does about things and she hates it when he does this.But her father's assistant is nice, so she thinks she can deal from being away from her best friend and boyfriend and aunt (all of them turn out to be almost completely useless wastes of carbon).But it's a really good, fast paced, funny book. You'll like it. read it.
aemurray on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A little unbelieveable at times, but enjoyable just the same. Teen girls would love this. What a fantasy life!
laruby on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fifteen year old, Ruby, is sent by her aunt to live with her absent movie star father after her mother dies. A novel in verse, this book moves readers through the sadness and loss of Ruby losing her mother as well as the anger and bitterness Ruby feels toward her long absent father. Readers will be drawn by Ruby's sense of keeping things real in her new Hollywood home as she tries to find a new normal with her celebrity father.
elissajanine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a book full of humor and creative storytelling. I loved the way Ruby's story unfolded, and I loved it that there was real emotion without getting too sappy.
AsRa6 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is really sad and is telled by the point of a yound girl names Ruby.
sb631 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sonya Sones is such a great write. This is my favorite book by Sonya Sones. It's just a really great book. I recommend it to everyone.
paulafonseca530B on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Audience: Grade 7 to 10Fifteen-year-old Ruby has left a small house in Boston to live with her A-list Hollywood star father in a mansion in Los Angeles. What seems to be a dream come true is anything but. Ruby just lost her mother, and now she must live with a father whom she believes left her when she was a baby. She leaves her mother¿s grave, her best friend Lizzy, her first love Ray, the house where she grew up, and the twisted maple tree to live with Whip Logan, a man whom she strives to hate. She struggles to deal with her mother¿s death and the absence of her best friend and beloved boyfriend. Ruby works hard to show her father how much she does not care about their relationship, and the resentment for being abandoned poisons any possibility of a real father-daughter bond with Whip. Once she learns the reason behind her parents¿ divorce, she realizes that things are not always what they seem. Ruby is now ready to start the healing process denied for so long by anger and resentment.Sonya Sones¿ One of Those Hideous Books Where The Mother Dies is a book about how lies can impact people¿s lives negatively. Ruby¿s mother denies her daughter a real relationship with her father by keeping from Ruby the truth about the divorce. When Ruby learns the truth, she is able to make her own mind about Whip. The book is also about learning how to accept that people make mistakes and moving past resentment to embrace life. Written as a verse novel with some prose in the form of letters and emails, the book is a quick and pleasant read, and teenagers will find it easy to relate to Ruby¿s thoughts and feelings.
elizabethholloway on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For the first page, this book had me hooked. In first-person verse, Ruby describes how her mother died and how now she she is on her way to California leaving behind the only people she has ever known to live with the movie star father who abandoned her and her mother before she was born. Ruby faces culture shock as she goes from a middle-class life in Boston to a privileged life in LA with new and subtle rules of behavior. She is isolated in her new huge house with a seemingly narcissistic father she wants nothing to do with. She tries to maintain long-distance friendship and long-distance love with mixed results. The end is touching, surprising and uplifting.
dgutierrez54 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This girls mother dies and she has to go live with her father who abandoned her mother before she is born bu then she finds out that he isn't that bad. She has a boyfriend named Ray and a best friend named Lizzie she has to move away from them because her father is a huge movie star and he lives in LA
megmcg624 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Ruby's mother dies, she has to move to Hollywood to live with the famous actor father she doesn't remember ever meeting. This novel is written in the form of Ruby's diary and emails to her friends, which has a distinct disadvantage in Ruby's self-pitying, woe-is-me drama teen queen voice. Her narrative is constructed on the page like a prose poem, which is also difficult to read.This could be construed as authenticity; most teen girls probably do express themselves exactly like Ruby does. However, most teen girls are not published authors for that very reason. The most glaring drawbacks to this novel, however, lie in its wish-fulfillment construction (what teen girl wouldn't want to move to Hollywood to live in a mansion with a loving father and every material object she can desire?), and in the predictability of the plot. The ALA awarded this a Top Ten Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. It may be just the ticket for a certain demographic of 14-year-olds, but parents might be uncomfortable with 15-year-old Ruby deciding she's ready to be "de-virginized".
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading this book, you will want to rush to the library to get your hands on every novel-in-verse you can find, even if you didn¿t used to like poetry.But of course, you will be let down, because no other novel-in-verse can really compare to this one.Reading the title, I had expected something depressingly deep and serious. However, Sonya Sones¿ third novel-in-verse is surprisingly snarky and fun, all the while managing to be poignantly real. 15-year-old Ruby¿s mother has just died, and she¿s going all the way across the country to L.A. to live with her Oscar-winning actor father, Whip Logan, who abandoned her and her mother before she was even born. Needless to say, Ruby is excited not a whit, especially as this move takes her away from her boyfriend Roy, her best friend Lizzie, and her mother¿s grave.At Whip¿s extensive mansion, Ruby determinedly avoids Whip¿s bonding advances, instead favoring his personal assistant, Max, who has a big heart. She also has trouble adjusting to her very ¿unique¿ school, especially her Dream Interpretation class, because her head is almost always wrapped up in missing Roy, Lizzie, and her mom. Perhaps, though, a shocking severance from her East Coast life will wake her to new possibilities in her new home.Ruby is funny, emotional, and someone you definitely want to be friends with. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book a couple days fter my mothers deaf. I thought this was a stupid cliche book.... telling you ways how to cope and didnt really understand. But this book is amazing.. its like someone took MY feelings and thoughts and put it into a book... BUT this book is also funny and the way it is written really gets your attention. Loved it :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a good book couldn't put it down, the twist in the book was litteraly the best! I read it when I was 13 and I read it in maybe two days! Its so good.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
The first half was good, a little slow but it was good. Then it got a little better in the second half. And liked book title references, some I either read or heard. However with the ending, I kind of liked, since like with the What My Doesn't know books endings, the ending for this one I kind of like but felt ended abruptly. But still liked it at the same time. If that make, again makes sense. Do I recommend these verse books, I guess? Actually, sure, why not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books ever