Sharon M. Draper is a New York Times bestselling author and recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens. She has received the Coretta Scott King Award for both Copper Sun and Forged by Fire. Her Out of My Mind has won multiple awards and has been a New York Times bestseller for well over three years. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she taught high school English for twenty-five years and was named National Teacher of the Year. Visit her at SharonDraper.com.
Gr 9 Up‘A hard-hitting story of the unraveling of a young black man who was the drunk driver in an accident that killed his best friend. Andy cannot bear his guilt or reach out for help, and chapter by chapter his disintegration builds to inevitable suicide. Counselors, coaches, friends, and family all fail him. The story is artfully told through English class assignments, including poetry; dialogues; police and newspaper reports; and letters. From time to time, the author veers off into overt lessons on racial issues, but aside from this flaw the characters' voices are strong, vivid, and ring true. This moving novel will leave a deep impression.‘Kathy Fritts, Jesuit High School, Portland, OR
Draper's ambitious first novel tackles teenage drinking, suicidal depression and other front-page topics-and relates the action through dialogue or compositions ``by'' the characters. Exuberant after a high-school basketball victory, athletic stars Andy and Robert down a few beers with friends and then ride around in Andy's car. When Robert is killed in an expressway accident, Andy assumes what turns out to be an unbearable burden of guilt. Short chapters in the form of newspaper articles, diary entries and school writing assignments telegraph the community's reactions and Andy's own feelings; these latter are amplified through Andy's conversations with his coach, with his girlfriend and-poignantly-with the psychologist his concerned parents send him to. This quick-cutting, MTV-like approach allows insights into a number of different viewpoints, ranging from Andy's wrenching internal monologues to the ghastly perkiness of the school's ``grief counselor.'' Casting most of the protagonists as African American, Draper also makes some telling (though not terribly new) points about race and racism. Though the issue-oriented plot can get a bit preachy, the combination of raw energy and intense emotion should stimulate readers. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
"As compelling a novel as any published in the last two decades.
Buy it, read it, share it."
"Short chapters and alternating viewpoints provide raw energy and intense emotion."
"The characters' voices are strong, vivid, and ring true. This moving novel will leave a lasting impression."