by Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Synopsis: Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-the-summer party by calling the cops, so her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't know hate her from a distance. It's no use explaining to her parents, they've never known what her life is really like. The safest place for Melinda to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she admitted it and let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have no choice. Melinda would have to speak the truth.
from the book jacket
Review: This book follows the life of Melinda, a high school freshman, through her first year of high school. From the beginning of the book we know that something tragic happened to Melinda but we don't know what (unless you read reviews on GoodReads beforehand like I did and know what happened to her) but we do know it causes her to change and shut down. Melinda enters high school with no friends and decides that she is not going to speak. She retreats inside herself and stops caring about things we assume she used to care about. Since Melinda doesn't really talk, there is almost no dialogue. What we get is her internal monologue and her feelings about her school, former friends, her troubled home life and so much more. She clearly needs help but yet no one recognizes it except for the art teacher which is somewhat cliche as are other parts of this book. The fact that no adult in the school recognized that Melinda was depressed even though she had many meetings with her guidance counselor really made me angry. Her parents made me angry as well as they did nothing to help her except for berate her about her lowering grades. From the author's interview at the end of this book I learned that high schools are now teaching this book which I think is a smart move. It may be a little cliche and may be outdated a bit but the message is important.
Rating: 4 stars