Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review: Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Title: Out of My Mind
Author: Sharon M. Draper
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Release date: March 9th 2010
Pages: 295
Genre: Contemporary MG/YA
Source: Won from MaryAnn from Chapter by Chapter - thanks!
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Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom—the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It makes me sad how few YA books there are about people with disabilities. There's Girl, Stolen about a blind girl, and Five Flavors of Dumb, about a deaf girl, but Out of My Mind is the only YA (or MG? not sure as what to classify this) book I can think of that's about an MC with disabilities as severe as Melody's. And Out of My Mind has shown me that we desperately need books like this one.

It was fascinating to read about someone with cerebral palsy, to see what everyday life is like for them. I feel bad about it, but to be honest, I haven't given it much thought how difficult every little thing must be for someone with a condition like Melody's. It was interesting to see what Melody has to struggle with, but also how those struggles can be dealt with. But Melody is so much more than her disability - I grew to love her as a person. Sharon M. Draper nailed her voice - it is so real, I felt like I'd known Melody all my life. She perfectly balanced Melody's struggles because of her disability with Melody just being Melody, an incredibly strong 11-year-old girl.

What's best about Out of My Mind is how many emotions it evoked in me. It made me sad for Melody, of course, but it also made me hopeful and just happy to be alive. And it made me angry at all those people who don't treat Melody with the respect she deserves - I know I won't look at a kid in a wheelchair the same way I would have looked at him before reading this book.

The family storyline is really well-done. Seeing how this affected the family was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, somehow. I also loved reading about Melody's special needs classmates. I would have liked to know even more about them, but I kind of don't mind that we don't, since this is Melody's story.

I don't even know what else to say. This is an important book, and I know Melody is a character I won't soon forget. Read it - you won't be sorry.

Do you know any more books about a character with disabilities?


  1. This is one of my favorite MG books of all time! It really does evoke so many emotions- I often found myself on the verge of tears one moment and then cheering with a huge smile on my face the next. Most of all, it just made me so, so thankful I don't have to deal with everything Melody did. This book certainly made an impact on me- I have given disabilities like this a lot more thought. This heart-wrenching, beautifully written, thought-provoking story is on the top of my list of books every middle-grader should read:)

  2. What an awesome review! I know it's a book that really stays with you when you said "And it made me angry at all those people who don't treat Melody with the respect she deserves - I know I won't look at a kid in a wheelchair the same way I would have looked at him before reading this book."

    There are few books that have that kind of realness:)

    You're right, there aren't that many YA books about main characters with disabilities, and there SHOULD be. It educates everyone and they're really needed out there. I get so angry when people look down on people with disabilities. It's awful.

    I know this is MG, but it would have been interesting to see how she grows in high school, when it's so much harder to fit in. And where she's have to deal with insensitive boys and love interests as well.

    There's another book that features a blind girl - it's called Blind Spot and it combines a mystery as well.

    Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf has an amazing supporting character who has cerebral palsy, and he's just incredible. And they're in high school so you see him dating and dealing with all that. I loved this book, it's one of my favorites.:)

    1. Yes! I wish there were more books like this one so we can see what it's like. And yeah, I would like to see her deal with high school, too! That would be really interesting.

      Right, Blind Spot - I have that one on my wishlist :) I didn't know that about Breaking Beautiful! That makes me want to read it even more!

    2. There are a couple of contemporaries which are AMAZING!

      Two are issue books with mental illness and psychological trauma - My Beautiful Failure by Janet Ruth Young. It's about a teen boy who volunteers at a suicide helpline and the girl he saves and falls in love with. This is a very new setting, and interesting to see.

      Also What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton (I think I told you about this one) when she copes with a rape she doesn't remember. And the family is very supportive which is not done often.

    3. I have both of those on my wishlist :D

    4. You'll probably also love Hannah Jayne's Truly Madly Deadly. It isn't about characters with disabilities but it's about a girl whose boyfriend abused her, then he dies and then she finds a note in her locker saying "You're welcome"

      It's a great book I think!:)

    5. Oh, I haven't heard of that one - sounds like my kind of book! Adding it to my wishlist :)

    6. I couldn't find the book on Goodreads - are you sure you got the title/author right?

  3. Thank you for bringing OUT OF MY MIND to my attention. Educate me & entertain me.

  4. I recently read one book about guy who became mute... But it was a insta-love romance. This one seems a bit other but interesting :D

  5. That sounds great! I can't even imagine life like this. But I am totally sure that these people don't want our sympathy, they want be for us like every healthy person. I guess :) It have to be really strong story which is full of emotions. I have to put it in my to-read list :)


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