cover image Out of My Heart

Out of My Heart

Sharon M. Draper. Atheneum/Dlouhy, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-66590-216-8

Melody Brooks, a smart, determined 12-year-old diagnosed with cerebral palsy, returns in this sequel to 2010’s Out of My Mind. Melody, whose ethnicity is never specified, uses a wheelchair to get around and a device called a Medi-Talker to speak. Longing for independence from her family and daily routines, she persuades her parents to let her attend Camp Green Glades, a summer camp for kids with disabilities in her home state of Ohio. With the help of her Jamaican American counselor Trinity and three cabinmates, Melody navigates new experiences—including zip-lining, horseback riding, and a first crush. Melody’s voice is as wryly funny as ever, and the supporting cast, which features kids and adults of various ethnicities and disabilities, treat her with respect and empathy. If the narrative sometimes lacks tension, Melody’s experience is presented compellingly—it’s impossible not to be charmed by the witty protagonist’s affirming, frequently ecstatic discovery of what it means to be part of a community that truly understands her. Ages 10–up. Agent: Tanya McKinnon, McKinnon Literary. (Nov.)