Bethany's Readers' Advisory

The place to go for readers' advisory on books for children, teens, and adults

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper July 19, 2012

Melody has cerebral palsy.  She is unable to talk or walk.  Many people think she is unable to learn.  They don’t know that she has a photographic memory and has more knowledge in her head than most kids her age.  Because of her physical limitations, she is stuck in a special classroom with a teacher repeating the same alphabet lesson day after day.

Things change when a special device hooked up to her wheelchair gives Melody a voice at last.  Everyone is surprised to hear what she has to say.  But Melody learns that having a voice does not mean people will listen or even give her a chance.

Similar to Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman, Melody is a smart girl who is unable to communicate her thoughts and knowledge to anyone.  However, unlike Trueman’s character Shawn,  Melody has a strong support system and her world opens up when she finally has a voice.  Just when I was starting to wonder if the book was going to have any conflict other than Melody’s disability, the author threw in not one, but two plot twists.  The audiobook had strong narration by Sisi Aisha Johnson and is recommended.

4 out of 5 stars


Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President:  President James A. Garfield is not as well known as Abraham Lincoln or John F. Kennedy, but the story of his assassination is just as dramatic.  Discover how Garfield became president, the madman Charles Guiteau who shot him, and the doctors who unwittingly took Garfield’s life.  This  is a tale of politics, history, human strength and character, invention, genius, and ignorance.

This was a long but fascinating story of James A. Garfield.  I knew very little of this president, but he had an interesting life and an excruciating death.  His peril effected several important inventions from which we continue to benefit.  The book was well-written, both informative and entertaining.  I would highly recommend the audiobook; the reader, Paul Michael, did an amazing job bringing the drama and suspense to life.

5 out of 5 stars


The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen July 15, 2012

Jessica is a runner.  She loves the feeling of the wind in her hair and the way it makes her feel alive.  But after an accident, Jessica wakes up to realize she’ll never run again.  Everyone keeps telling her that it’ll be okay, that things will get better.  But she can’t imagine how her life can ever go back to normal when she’s missing the foot she always took for granted.

This was a moving story of a track star whose life changes forever when an accident results in a below knee amputation.  I felt Jessica’s pain and frustration as she struggles with her new reality.  Her depression and negativity seemed realistic; her strong support system and inner strength are inspirational.

5 out of 5 stars

2012-2013 Golden Sower nominee



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