My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For a story about an eleven-year-old quadriplegic, this novel takes a more positive, entertaining, upbeat tone than I thought possible. Draper manages to turn what could be perceived as a depressing or pathetic situation into fabulously fun, creative, uplifting tale by telling it from the unabashed, unapologetic point of view of Melody, the quadriplegic, herself.
Melody's character is what makes this book. She recognizes her situation and its limitations but continually strives for better, for more, for life. She knows she will never be the same as her peers, but rarely does she appear to feel sorry for herself.
My one criticism is that Melody's voice is not that of an eleven-year-old; rather, it seems more that of a sixteen-year-old trapped in an eleven-year-old's body. Granted, I have no idea what an eleven-year-old quadriplegic would sound like, but the voice of this narrator seems too mature for the character to not even have reached her teens yet. However, to change Melody's age would have been to change the entire book, and Draper does a wonderful job capturing what middle school is all about.
To take a story about a disabled youth and tell it with such lack of pity is commendable. To completely change a reader's view of quadriplegic and what they are capable of--that is phenomenal. This was a story that needed to be told, and Sharon Draper has told it commendably.