Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Out of My Mind

Draper, Sharon. Out of My Mind.
March 9th 2010 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers 
Library copy

N.B. This is NOT the sequel to November Blues, but I labored under this delusion for a really, really long time. I left the review as originally writtern. 10/5/21.

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!


  1. My students really enjoyed OUT OF MY MIND when I read it last year. I'm planning to read it again to this group, too.


  2. What about Oliver Nocturne? Or is that too young for you guys? I admit I haven't actually read it, just stuck it on our series shelf.

    I had no idea Out of my mind was a sequel to anything! I bought it under the mistaken belief it was a YA book about a girl with a crazy mother. I have no idea how I got this idea. Then I glanced at it and somehow....I had read the whole thing.

  3. I had no idea either this was part of a series! I will check out the other titles. I really enjoyed this book--one of my favorites for 2010.