Speak No Evil

Vesuvian. Jul. 2019. 350p. pap. $17.99. ISBN 9781944109844.
Gr 9 Up–Melody Fisher, a nonverbal 16-year-old, has stabbed a popular football player with a scissors. As she gets to know and slowly trust her court-appointed psychiatrist, she starts telling him her story the only way she can, through the songs on her mp3 player. In nonlinear bursts, readers learn about Melody’s past. Born to two loving parents who are active in a snake-handling church in Appalachia, Melody has both a healthy fear and a mystical connection to the poisonous reptiles that seem to be all around her. When her parents die, she is bounced around the foster system for years—spending significant time in both secure, loving households and abusive and traumatizing ones. The plot hits quite a few lulls, although the time-jumping creates some suspense and intrigue. Melody’s story is grim, but hope is weaved in throughout. Song lyrics are integrated heavily into the narrative, with varied effect.
VERDICT Purchase where highly emotional stories are in demand.

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