Say It Out Loud

Random. Aug. 2021. 256p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781524771515.
Gr 4 Up–The author of Property of the Rebel Librarian (2018) has written another thought-provoking title for middle school readers. Charlotte dreads the beginning of middle school. She has to ride the bus for the first time and everything else is different. One thing remains the same for Charlotte and that’s her stuttering condition. Because she doesn’t stutter when she sings, Charlotte’s parents insist that she take musical theater as one of her electives. And when the teacher announces The Wizard of Oz as the year’s show (her favorite musical), things in middle school don’t seem quite as bad. Best of all, Charlotte still has her good friend Maddie. Then a bullying incident on the bus involving another student Ben occurs and Maddie bravely reports it to school administrators. When the bullies then seek revenge on Maddie, Charlotte is afraid to defend her friend and that inaction drives an impenetrable wedge between the girls. In despair (and because of her English class), Charlotte finds her voice in the written word and even though Maddie won’t talk to her, the little notes of affirmation she sneaks into backpacks and lockers of her other classmates begin to make a difference. Charlotte realizes that not everyone has it easy in middle school and that the collective voices of all students can make a difference. Charlotte is cued as white.
VERDICT Varnes’s got a knack for capturing the middle school experience and readers in this age group will see themselves reflected in the cast of characters and situations that make up the story. The book could also serve as a springboard for topics such as bullying (cyber and physical) and even plagiarism.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing