Book Review: What They Don’t Know by Nicole Maggi

Title: What They Don’t Know

By: Nicole Maggi

Pages: 368

Published: October 2nd 2018

By: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: ARC|YA|Contemporary

Buy itBook Depository

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.


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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 greatIt’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.


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 ending

I 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 to

The 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 

Rating (2)

4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

 🌸 Feel free to leave your comment below, I always love to know what you think 🌸 

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12 thoughts on “Book Review: What They Don’t Know by Nicole Maggi

  1. This sounds like a powerful story! The point you mentioned about it being unrealistic to open up to a stranger is valid but I find it kind of easier to talk to strangers. So, I can in away relate to it. See, when it becomes hard for people to share their feelings/secrets with people they know, it can become easier for them to open up to strangers in order to get rid of the isolation.

    Excellent review!

    Liked by 1 person

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