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Sonja K. Solter Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

When You Know What I Know (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Sonja K. Solter is a children’s author best known for her debut novel “When You Know What I Know.” Solter spent much of her vacations when she was a child in Finland, which is where her mother came from. She has also traveled all across the world with her family. As a child, she was a voracious reader and asserts that she at one time packed more than seventy books for a family vacation. She went to Stanford University from where she graduated with an interdisciplinary degree in Human Biology. She then proceeded to Hamline University for her MFA in Children and Young Adult fiction. Solter wrote her critical master’s thesis on writing trauma on young adult and middle-grade realistic fiction. She currently volunteers at the Society of Young Inklings, where she is a creative writing mentor to a class of young adults with a passion for writing. She has also been a teacher and director for the Music Together charity and asserts that the collaborative improvisation that is promoted by the program is one of her highlights as a volunteer. Sonja currently lives with her husband and children in Louisville, Colorado and when she is not writing prose and poetry for children she loves to practice yoga, travel and enjoy walks in nature.

Given her interest in social issues impacting children, Sonja Solter’s first novel tackles a heavy issue. However, she handles it with candor, grace and affirming love that leaves her reader feel uplifted with the tenderness and caring in the story. Her lead is Tori, a girl who experiences abuse when she was very young but tries her best to make the best of her circumstances despite the life-altering trauma. This makes her a very relatable character that the reader just cannot help but cheer on. At its core, her work is about abuse but also tackles the issue of grief. Solter asserts that it is not about what happened in the past but about the light at the end of the tunnel, which is what anyone that has experienced trauma needs to look forward to. Best of all, it is an exploration of what remains when we lose something or someone important and how to make peace even in the mid of pain. While she asserts that most trauma is permanent, she also says that everyone deserves to have their happy days. Solter also emphasizes that the only way to ensure the abuser does not ruin your life is to do everything in your power to cope and then heal from the bad experience.

“When You Know What I Know” is the story of Tori who was abused by her uncle but managed to heal after years dealing with her rage. It had all started out well when as an eight-year-old, she was gifted a hamster by Andy her uncle. But then he turns and molests her in the basement when she was ten changing her life forever. Sonja Solter asserts that once someone knows what Tori knows they cannot undo it though it is worse for Tori who has to deal with the disparate reactions from the people she tells about her experience and emotional pain from the molestation. When she first told her mother about her uncle’s indiscretions, she dismissed her and at that moment she felt a wave of ice-cold combined with fire sweep over her followed with pain that she has never forgotten. The only people that were there for Tori were her eight-year-old sister and when she had the courage to talk, her best friend. The novel is about healing and talks about important things that people need to cope and recover. Solter discusses anger, emotional suffocation, silence and powerless but in the end, the lead goes from wanting to end it all to enjoying her life.

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