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Summary

A couple of weeks before her freshman year of high school, Melinda Sordino and her group of friends are thrilled to be invited to a "high school" end of the year party at a rural barn/farm. During the party Melinda becomes drunk and walks outside where she meets a rising senior, Andy Evans. Andy takes Melinda to a secluded part of the woods and rapes her. Melinda calls 911 and soon after, police cars arrive at the party and break it up for underage drinking, arresting some of the kids. Numb and all alone, she walks miles home to an empty house and takes a long shower to try and forget. In the following weeks she tells no one what happened and it is clear that all her friends and the partygoers are angry with her for calling the cops and getting everyone in trouble. No one realizes that Melinda was raped and she does nothing to set the record straight.

When school starts, it is clear that she is being ostracized by all of her former friends and other high school students who only know her as the girl who broke up the party. Formerly "a Solid B Student," Melinda's grades sink to D's and F's as she becomes very ambivalent toward eating and withdrawn from friends and family. She begins to skip school and classes that she does not like, and aspires to nothing more than a nap at home. She even makes a sort of hide-away in an old janitor's closet at school, where she can come to nap during the day or just hide when she is feeling anxious. There is one class that seems to be her saving grace, though--Art. Mr. Freeman, the art teacher is seen as a bit eccentric, but kind of cool by the students. Each student is given one assignment to work on the entire year, they will blindly pick a slip of paper out of an old Globe and be responsible for mastering that object in artistic media through the year. Melinda is disappointed that she gets "tree." But it turns out that expressing herself artistically helps her.

Desperate for friends, Melinda becomes friendly with a new girl, Heather, who becomes self-centered and peppy. Heather clings to Melinda until one of the school's cliques (whom Melinda calls the Marthas) accept her, then she ditches Melinda, only to come crawling back when the Marthas set her a difficult task. As the year progresses, Melinda's resolve to not speak and stay withdrawn melts and her confidence is built up. When the school year is almost up, she regains some of her former friendships, including a new friendship with David Petrakis, her lab partner. When her former best friend, Rachel, begins dating Andy, Melinda feels obligated to reveal her story about Andy raping her. The response is intense hostility, but eventually Rachel acknowledges the truth and dumps Andy.

As the school year comes to a close, Melinda returns to the janitor's closet to gather some things she left inside it. Andy confronts her, telling her that she lied about the assault, saying that he did not hurt her and that she asked for it. He suggests that jealousy of his relationship with Rachel was her motivation for "lying" about being raped, and he attempts to rape her again, despite her physical attempt to stop him. Suddenly, a sound explodes from her: "NOOOOO!!" She breaks a mirror and holds a shard of glass up to his neck. She slightly lets a drop of blood drip from his neck as a warning. "I said NO." she finally says. This is a major turning point for Melinda because she has been reluctant to speak following the rape—and because while telling Andy "no" before the first assault, she was too intoxicated for it to come out forcefully. The Lacrosse team, including Melinda's former friend Nicole, hears her scream in the closet and comes to her aid.

On the last day of school, Melinda stays after to finish her art project....she then finishes with an A+. As the student body hears the story and realizes the truth about what happened at the party, Melinda goes from social pariah to something of a hero. Mr. Freeman prompts her to tell her story, thus freeing her from its grasp.

  Source by Wikipedia and Sparknotes

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