Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
This long-overdue audio narration of Draper's 2010 middle grade novel is a breakout performance for voice actress Johnson, who skillfully brings together childlike sensitivity and grown-up gravitas as she gives life to Draper's character Melody Brooks. Confined to a wheelchair, Melody is physically trapped by cerebral palsy, but the condition hasn't slowed her prodigious mind; Melody is a genius, as her parents have always suspected and her fifth-grade classmates and teachers are about to find out. Johnson captures Melody's frustration when she cannot communicate, her elation when technological advances finally allow her to, and her sadness when others still regard her with fear or suspicion. Johnson also voices the novel's other characters with wisdom and compassion, including Melody's parents and the tough-as-nails neighbor who pushes the girl to excel. Older children and their parents will enjoy the way Johnson brings life to this unforgettable character. Ages 10-up. An Atheneum paperback. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
Gr 4-6-Melody is an intelligent 11-year-old girl with a photographic memory and cerebral palsy. She can't walk or talk, but she is hungry to learn and eager for language to express herself. Draper has crafted a likable protagonist with typical tween thoughts and emotions-Melody dreams that she will be the first chosen for school projects and games-all of which are compounded by the difficulties of living with cerebral palsy. Her patience and persistence are inspiring traits that will encourage and affirm the efforts of her readers. Sisi Aisha Johnson has created a charming Melody and successfully voices the girl's parents, teachers, and doctors. VERDICT This is a recommended purchase for all school and public libraries. ["Kids will benefit from being introduced to Melody and her gutsy, candid, and compelling story": SLJ 3/10 review of the S. & S. Atheneum book.]-Mary Lee Bulat, Harwinton Public Library, CT © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Fifth-grader Melody has cerebral palsy, a condition that affects her body but not her mind. Although she is unable to walk, talk, or feed or care for herself, she can read, think, and feel. A brilliant person is trapped inside her body, determined to make her mark in the world in spite of her physical limitations. Draper knows of what she writes; her daughter, Wendy, has cerebral palsy, too. And although Melody is not Wendy, the authenticity of the story is obvious. Told in Melody's voice, this highly readable, compelling novel quickly establishes her determination and intelligence and the almost insurmountable challenges she faces. It also reveals her parents' and caretakers' courage in insisting that Melody be treated as the smart, perceptive child she is, and their perceptiveness in understanding how to help her, encourage her, and discourage self-pity from others. Thoughtless teachers, cruel classmates, Melody's unattractive clothes ( Mom seemed to be choosing them by how easy they'd be to get on me ), and bathroom issues threaten her spirit, yet the brave Melody shines through. Uplifting and upsetting, this is a book that defies age categorization, an easy enough read for upper-elementary students yet also a story that will enlighten and resonate with teens and adults. Similar to yet the antithesis of Terry Trueman's Stuck in Neutral (2000), this moving novel will make activists of us all.--Bradburn, Frances Copyright 2010 Booklist
Horn Book Review
Narrator Melody is a fifth grader with cerebral palsy, but she is much more than that. Like her hero Stephen Hawking, Melody is damaged on the outside and brilliant within. It takes awhile for the adults in her life, especially her teachers, to see just how much life there is behind those stiff arms and hands, wobbling head, and "slightly out of whack" dark brown eyes. While her parents and babysitter know that Melody has a rich intellect, few people realize just how bright she is until she receives "Elvira," her Medi-Talker computer. Claire, a classmate in Melody's inclusion class, says what many of us think when we see a person with cerebral palsy, "I'm not trying to be mean -- honest -- but it just never occurred to me that Melody had thoughts in her head." Draper paints the picture of a real fifth grader, a girl with tantrums and attitude, problems with mean girls and oafish adults. Hearts will soar when Melody makes the quiz team and plummet when her classmates end up leaving her behind at the airport. When Melody sees danger and cannot get others to understand, we feel her frustration and terror. This is a powerfully eye-opening book with both an unforgettable protagonist and a rich cast of fully realized, complicated background characters. From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
Melody, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, cannot walk or talk. Despite her parents' best efforts, the outside world has defined her by her condition. Melody's life changes when inclusion classrooms are introduced in her school, and she interacts with children other than those in her special-needs unit. To these children, Melody is "other," and they are mostly uncomfortable with her sounds and jerky movements. Normal problems of school friendships are magnified. Preparation for a trivia competition and acquisition of a computer that lets her communicate her thoughts reveal Melody's intelligence to the world. Melody is an entirely complete character, who gives a compelling view from inside her mind. Draper never shies away from the difficulties Melody and her family face. Descriptions of both Melody's challenges"Going to the bathroom at school just plain sucks"and the insensitivities of some are unflinching and realistic. Realistically, Melody's resilient spirit cannot keep her from experiencing heartbreak and disappointment even after she has demonstrated her intellect. This book is rich in detail of both the essential normalcy and the difficulties of a young person with cerebral palsy. (Fiction. 10 up) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.