Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. Always. And there's no delete button. She's the smartest kid in her whole school—but no one knows it. Most people—her teachers and doctors included—don't think she's capable of learning, and up until recently her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool-level alphabet lessons again and again and again. If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows . . . but she can't, because Melody can't talk. She can't walk. She can't write.
Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind—that is, until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice . . . but not everyone around her is ready to hear it.
From multiple Coretta Scott King Award winner Sharon M. Draper comes a story full of heartache and hope. Get ready to meet a girl whose voice you'll never, ever forget.
I really enjoyed this novel. Over the past few months I've happened to read quite a few novels about mental disabilities and illness but rarely do I read one about a physical disability. There are a few teenagers at my school with cerebral palsy and I have never thought of them as people capable of normal mental function with simply a body that doesn't work. (Taking into account that Melody's mental function is above average and unrealistic). This book changed my perspective of how I treat and relate to disabled people; I will try harder to be polite and treat them with more respect rather than just ignoring them in the hallways.
I found many of the characters in the novel to be unrealistic and one-dimensional and was originally going to give the book 3/5 stars instead, but figured that was a bit harsh due to the other wonderful aspects of the novel. I would definitely characterize this as a young-adult rather than middle-grade novel because I think young adults would be able to empathize/sympathize more with the situation looking back on our own middle grade experiences than someone currently attending that school.
Favourite Quote: "How could she understand that I loved the song 'Elvira' by the Oak Ridge Boys when I barely understood it myself? I had no way to explain how I could smell freshly sliced lemons and see citrus-toned musical notes in my head as it played. If I had a paintbrush...wow! What a painting that would be!"
Recommended: The View From Saturday (E.L. Konisburg), Reaching for Sun (Tracie Vaughn Zimmer), Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson), Double Dutch (Sharon M. Draper), Marcelo in the Real World (Francisco X. Stork)
Laura (All the Word's a Page)