It’s rare that I start writing a booktalk before I’ve finished reading a book, and it’s rarer still for me to finish writing my booktalk before I’m even halfway finished with the book. But You Know What You Have to Do by Bonnie Shimko was so suspenseful that I knew I’d have to tell classes about this book before I’d even finished reading it!
Maggie’s personality is like the layers of an onion. There’s the person she is around the other kids in school, where she’s called Maggie. Then there’s the person she is at home, where her mother calls her by her real name, Mary-Magdalene. When she’s at home, she’s distracted during the day and she has nightmares at night. In fact, she has such terrible nightmares that she wakes up screaming several times a week, and her screams wake up her family. That’s why her mother sent her to a therapist, to try to get to the cause of her nightmares.
There’s the version of the truth that Maggie tells her family. There’s the version of the truth she tells her friends. There’s the version of the truth she tells her therapist. But deep inside all of those layers is the REAL truth.
The real truth is that Maggie has been hearing a voice in her head, a voice that is telling her to kill people. And that sometimes, that voice is very hard to resist.