Melinda Sordino, a freshman at Merryweather High, is an outcast because during a summer party she called the cops, breaking it up. Why? Well – that’s what this book is all about – the real why of the reason for the call. She keeps this locked tightly in her head, staying mute throughout much of the school year. In dealing with her pain she skips school, refuses to talk to her parents about it, and is on the verge of failing most of her classes – except art, her passion. In her art class, the teacher has students randomly choose their theme. Trees become Mel’s raison d’etre. She struggles with how to present the tree as an art form just as she deals with truth of what happened that fateful night of the party. And during the school year, she grows in spite of the nightmare and discovers strengths and gifts she didn’t know she had.
It takes a confrontation where the truth of the matter rears its ugly head. In a terrifying conclusion where Melinda almost falls prey to another attack of It, The Beast.
It’s not surprising that this book is on the Best 75 Books in the Last 75 Years List.