I read Out of My Mind last spring and absolutely fell in love with it!! In fact, as soon as I read it, I knew it had to be the final read aloud to share with my class last spring.
I liked so much about it, but I will admit it was mostly the characters that continued to draw me further and further into the book. Melody, with so much in her mind that no one knew about. Mrs. V, the next door neighbor who babysat Melody and was one of the first people to understand how much knowledge Melody had within her. Penny, the little sister who is born perfectly normal and adds a lot of drama to the story. Butterscotch, the pet dog who loves Melody unconditionally. Melody's mom and dad, parents who live a very real life with a less than typical child but who love Melody more than anything. Molly and Claire, the mean and unkind girls who make them so easy to dislike. Rose, the girl who is one of the first students to reach out to make Melody feel included.
The action in the story is equally compelling. The Whiz Kids quiz team and all its drama. Penny's accident. The first time Melody could "talk". Melody having a fit over learning ABCs again. Mom standing up to the doctor who wanted Melody sent away. Mom standing up to the teacher who hadn't bothered to find out what Melody was capable of. All the afternoons with Mrs. V, learning so many new things; the sky was the limit. Melody starting be part of "regular" classes in an inclusion model.
But, the part that "hooked" me from the beginning and never let me go was the lead; the first chapter. This past November, at NCTE, I got to hear Sharon Draper read this part out loud. I had goosebumps, it was so beautiful!
I blogged about Out of My Mind two other times this year. The first was my initial reaction to the book. The second blog post reflected my students' reactions to Out Of My Mind at the end of the read aloud.