Sunday, January 25, 2009


Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 211
Format : Teenage Fiction
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge

Melinda Sordino is starting high school as Outcast. During the summer she went to a high school party with her best friend Rachel and something happened which caused her to call the cops. This broke the party up and some of the kids attending were arrested making the whole school hate her before she even started. Her first day of school has Rachel mouthing to her that she hates her and from there things get even worse.

The affects of the party have had a deep impact on Melinda. She feels she can't speak out about what happened and can hardly bring herself to speak to anyone at all. She finds places to hide around the school to avoid dealing with people (including an old janitors closet). She cuts classes and her grades really start to suffer getting her in trouble with the teachers, principle and her parents who have no idea what is really going on.

Her only release is art. There is a new teacher Mr Freeman who encourages them all to get more in touch with their emotions and seems to have a special understanding of Mel. He tries to get her to put down how she is feeling into her art and express her rage, sadness etc in a healthy way so she can begin to deal with them. This centres around her trying to draw a tree for her project. Ultimately though the only way to deal with what has happened to her is to speak up and tell the truth and whole story to people.

Very well written and full of dry humour. I loved Mel as a character and it was great to see an author able to write about high school without it being patronising or idealised. This book definitely makes an impression on the reader and the story stays with you long after you have put the book down. I hope it will encourage others to speak out about and it is ultimately a book of hope, strength and ultimately triumph.

Other Reviews: Becky's Book Review (where I first heard of this book)

8 comments:

Nymeth said...

I have this on my tbr pile and I really think I'll love it too.

carmen alexis said...

I loved this book! It was one of my first teen novels that I bought for myself. =)

Kailana said...

Yeah, I read this book and I wasn't super amazed by it... I am so picky about teen fiction! It doesn't always work well for me.

samantha.1020 said...

I've heard lots of good things about both this book and this author. Great review!

jehara said...

i finally read this last year and i loved it. glad you enjoyed it too. they also made a movie of this.

Andi said...

I read this one for a class a couple of years ago, and I really enjoyed the dry humor you mentioned. I need to re-read it, and try some of Laurie Halse Anderson's other stuff.

joanna said...

I loved this one too, it was so real and so powerful! Apparently she wrote another one that is set at the same school but deals with over-achievement and getting into college etc. Sounds interesting.

Debi said...

I've had this one on my TBR pile for a while, but haven't felt compelled to pick it up until I just read your review!