What does Melinda want? What are her hopes and goals?

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Melinda Sordino is a traumatized, cynical teenager. She is ostracized during her freshman year after she called the police to a summer party. Melinda was raped by Andy Evans at this party but was too afraid and stunned to disclose any information about her attack to the authorities, her parents,...

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Melinda Sordino is a traumatized, cynical teenager. She is ostracized during her freshman year after she called the police to a summer party. Melinda was raped by Andy Evans at this party but was too afraid and stunned to disclose any information about her attack to the authorities, her parents, or her friends. As a result, Melinda begins her freshman year as an outcast who does not have any friends and is bullied by her peers. She even stops speaking for an extended period of time, trying her best to suppress her negative feelings.

Melinda simply wants life to go back to the way it was before the incident. Melinda desires to be popular again and have a tight-knit group of friends. She wishes to live a carefree life and not have to walk the halls of her high school as an outcast or live in fear that Andy Evans might assault her again. Melinda also wants people to know that Andy Evans is a rapist. She hopes to one day recover from her traumatic experience, find her voice, and stand up to Andy Evans by informing others about his attack. Melinda also desires to improve her self-esteem, love herself again, and form meaningful relationships with her peers.

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This question doesn't likely have a singular, neat answer. Melinda is a very mentally and emotionally distraught character. She is a rape victim, and nobody knows about it. Andy Evans, a high school senior, raped Melinda at a party over the summer, and Melinda called the police in response. The party was ended, and everybody blames Melinda for being a complete killjoy. Nobody knows what happened to her at the party; therefore, I think that one thing that Melinda wants is for people to know what happened to her and understand why she called the police. For most of the book, she is a social outcast because of her phone call. I believe that Melinda would like people to understand why she made that phone call. Achieving that goal would also let Rachel know that Andy Evans is definitely somebody that should be avoided at all costs. For any of these things to happen, Melinda ultimately needs to find enough confidence to speak out. Much of the book is about her struggle to find the courage to speak out against Andy, be an advocate for herself, and speak honestly about what happened to her. I think Melinda wants, more than anything else, confidence in herself and acceptance from everybody else.

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Melinda ultimately wants to find her voice and grow as a person. After being blamed for calling the police and ending a summer party, her classmates abandon and bully her.  Melinda never revealed that the real reason for her 911 call was that Andy Evans, a popular senior boy, had raped her at the party. Throughout the story, she withdraws and chooses not to communicate with anyone. Melinda is only at peace when she is alone. Eventually, she begins to express herself through art class. Her art teacher tells her “I think you have a lot to say. I’d like to hear it.” Melinda finally speaks out when she attempts to warn Rachel, her former friend, about Andy. Realizing that other girls feel the same way about him, Melinda becomes more empowered to stand up for herself. When she finally stands up to Andy, she finds that she has the support of others who will listen to her. Just like the trees that form the focus of her art project, Melinda grows and finally finds her voice.

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