Written by: Laurie Halse Anderson
# of pages: 198
My Rating: 4/5
Published: April 1, 2001
Read in August 2014
Summary according to goodreads
Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth.
This was the first book I've read by this author, and although I have owned it for about a year, I never felt motivated to pick it up. I had no idea what it was about, but recently a friend of mine talked about it and I was intrigued. Everything about this novel is relatable - Melinda as a character dealing with a trauma, and the situation as a whole. Unfortunately, rape is very common in our society and does not always get reported.
For some, this might be a hard topic to read about, but I found reading this to feel like I was reading a memoir of sorts because it was just that real. The story focuses more on the after-effects of what happened at the party, but there is a flashback to the incident. If you are wary of picking up the book because you don't want to read about a young woman getting raped, there is not much detail surrounding that - more of the emotional effect it took on her.
I have not dealt with a trauma such as the one Melinda did, but coming from different mental issues I can see that the author was very accurate in how she described what Melinda suffered. She had not told anybody what had happened that night, and became very closed off from people, didn't want to go to school, and other detrimental things. I can also only imagine how this new attitude would lead to people distancing themselves from her, leading her to feel even more isolated. Everything about this book came back full circle, and one thing led clearly into another.
The only issue that I had with this book was I felt at the end there was not a lot of closure. The reader never knows if Melinda gets the psychological help she clearly needs, or if justice is served to the young man who abuses her. Other than that I thought it was a very powerful story that could prove valuable to people to read. I feel that growing up I was sheltered from the harsh realities of the real world, and only recently have become aware of the dangers constantly surrounding us. This novel proved that it does not matter how old you are, what you look like, etc, you need to be aware of keeping yourself in safe situations.
Overall, I did enjoy this book and am glad I finally got around to picking it up. I would recommend this to any reader looking for something quick, that also contains a heavier plot (emotionally).