Out of My Mind
By Sharon M. Draper
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010. 295 pgs. Middle grade fiction
Ten-year-old Melody is fascinated with words. She has a remarkable memory, is highly intelligent, and no one knows it, because Melody also has cerebral palsy and can't speak and has very limited physical capacity. However, she longs for a voice of her own, a way to share her thoughts and feelings with others and to be a "normal" kid. When Melody gets a special computer that allows her to type and speaks her words, suddenly, the world opens up for her...but not always as much as she'd like.
Overall, I really liked this one. It's a great story about a girl with a disability who wants to be seen as more than her disability. There are some heartbreaking moments as other children are unkind, but also some great moments as Melody realizes how strong she is. At the same time, there were some parts of the book where the writing had me rolling my eyes a little; for example, "...there's no one like me. It's like I live in a cage with no door and no key. And I have no way to tell someone how to get me out. Oh, wait! I forgot about Mrs. V!" Um...first, if there's no door, why would you need a key? Second, really, really, she forgot all about Mrs. V. (a very integral part of the story). Why not just say something like, "Well, except maybe Mrs. V.," or something like that? Still, it's a book worth reading. Great for kids with special needs, and also for kids who are insensitive to others, and even for adults who sometimes just don't get it.