Draper, Sharon. Out of My Mind.
Sequel to November Blues. Melody, who was born with cerebal palsy, is unable to communicate with the outside world, although she is very bright and has a photographic memory. This makes her special education classes all the more frustrating, since she is stuck reviewing the alphabet and listening to "baby" songs in the fifth grade. When she finally is mainstreamed for part of her day and receives an aide, the two discover a computer device that will allow Melody to communicate more easily. Once she is, she takes part in a quiz bowl competition and is the only student in the class to get a perfect score, but even then, winning the respect of her classmates is difficult.
Strengths: Melody's struggles are painfully and realistically portrayed. While this has been compared to Stuck in Neutral, it reminded me far more of Marie Killilea's Karen. (If you've read this book, here's an update on the family at Mental Floss.) The reactions of the classmates, while cruel, are also realistic.
Weaknesses: The readers who enjoy this series (which actually starts with The Battle of Jericho) are more interested in the urban gang scene and the teen pregnancy of November Blues; in some ways, this is a much younger book, and I'm not sure if they will check this out. Since it can be read alone, however, I don't regret buying it.
The books from my most recent order that I had to process quickly for students who HAD to have them were the graphic novel version of Vampire Kisses 3 and the Darren Shan manga. I'm still not enjoying these books, but students certainly pick them up, even after they have read the full versions. As one student said about Cirque du Freak yesterday "It's the only vampire series that doesn't have kissing." To this, I have to add that Vampire Rising didn't really, either!