Melody is brilliant. She has a photographic memory, and she has spent an abnormally large portion of her life watching educational television programs. After all, it is very difficult for her to anything else. Because of her cerebral palsy, she cannot walk or talk or do many of the things kids her age take for granted, like eating or changing clothes. But not being able to talk is the most difficult. Because she cannot speak, most people outside of her family don’t realize how brilliant she is. They see her in her wheelchair and assume that her mind must be limited—and Melody can’t tell them otherwise! When she starts inclusion classes in fifth grade, Melody struggles with new dynamics of bullying and friendship. But when she obtains a computer that allows her to communicate verbally for the first time, Melody is ready to show her classmates her true mind and prove that she is the smartest of them all.
With compelling, realistic characters, humor, and even a bit of suspense, Sharon Draper weaves a beautiful and engaging story that is difficult to put down. Readers who have experience bullying or the challenges of a disability will find Melody’s struggles and triumphs accessible and inspiring, while many readers will find themselves looking at their community and classmate with a new perspective. I highly recommend this book to middle grade and teen readers who enjoy realistic fiction.