Out of My Mind

Sharon M. Draper, Author . S&S/Atheneum $16.99 (295p) ISBN 978-1-4169-7170-2

Melody Brooks, in a wheelchair and unable to speak, narrates this story about finding her voice. The first half of the book catalogues Melody's struggles—from her frustration with learning the same preschool lessons year after year to her inability to express a craving for a Big Mac. Draper, whose daughter has cerebral palsy, writes with authority, and the rage behind Melody's narrative is perfectly illustrated in scenes demonstrating the startling ignorance of many professionals (a doctor diagnoses Melody as “profoundly retarded”), teachers, and classmates. The lack of tension in the plot is resolved halfway through when Melody, at age 10, receives a talking computer, allowing her to “speak.” Only those with hearts of stone won't blubber when Melody tells her parents “I love you” for the first time. Melody's off-the-charts smarts are revealed when she tests onto her school's quiz bowl team, and the story shifts to something closer to The View from Saturday than Stuck in Neutral . A horrific event at the end nearly plunges the story into melodrama and steers the spotlight away from Melody's determination, which otherwise drives the story. Ages 10–up. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/15/2010
Release date: 03/01/2010
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4169-8045-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4407-5615-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4407-5611-5
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-986-6104-13-8
Prebound-Sewn - 295 pages - 978-1-61383-133-5
Prebound-Sewn - 320 pages - 978-0-606-25672-8
Paperback - 295 pages
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