Fourth Marking Period Summary
Spring is beginning, and Melinda is going to most of her classes. She passes a few tests and pays attention somewhat to the world around her. Andy Beast, her private name for Andy Evans, begins hanging around with Rachel.
One afternoon, Melinda goes to the mall. She runs into Ivy, who actually speaks to her. Ivy is working on her clown project for art. The two girls sit together for a while. Ivy draws clowns, and Melinda draws trees. Ivy says Melinda is better at art than she thinks.
Melinda begins to worry about Rachel, who clearly has a crush on Andy Beast. One part of Melinda feels that Rachel is a traitor who deserves to suffer for being cruel. However, the larger part of Melinda is worried that Andy will hurt Rachel. Melinda follows the two of them one day, watching them flirting and kissing.
Melinda goes to her broom closet to figure out what to do. The poster of Maya Angelou that covers the mirror looks down on her, making her feel guilty. Melinda knows she needs to tell Rachel. She settles for sending Rachel a note: “Andy Evans...is not what he pretends to be. I heard he attacked a ninth grader.”
Satisfied that she has done her best, Melinda goes back to thinking about her own life. She is still struggling with her trees in art, but she is doing better in some of her other classes. In social studies, she gets excited about a report on the women’s suffrage movement. When she learns she has to deliver the report out loud, she refuses. Instead, she writes a message on the board. The message ends, “No one should be forced to give speeches. I choose to stay silent.” After the class reads the message, Melinda hands out written copies of her report. For this stunt, Melinda is again sent to in-school suspension.
After Melinda’s suspension, David Petrakis tells her he thinks the punishment was unfair. However, he also says that staying silent is no way to make a statement. “Don’t expect to make a difference unless you speak up for yourself,” he says.
One day after school, Melinda sees Andy Beast and Rachel together. She is upset, and she finds out Ivy is upset too. “Believe me, that creep is trouble with a capital T,” Ivy says. Melinda wants to talk about this, but she is too much in the habit of silence. Instead of talking, she leaves.
The next day, Melinda plays sick. She stays home watching daytime TV and thinking about what happened with Andy. She imagines the daytime talk show hosts talking about it. For the first time, she admits to herself that she was raped.
One Saturday morning, Melinda rakes the leaves in the yard. Her father, who has been avoiding the job, tells her the yard looks much better. Melinda remains silent as he talks. She shakes her head when he invites her to the hardware store. Then, when he turns to leave, she speaks: “Can you buy some seeds? Flower seeds?”
At school, Melinda’s tentative friendship with Ivy is growing. One day in art, Ivy accidentally makes pen marks on Melinda’s shirt, then offers to help wash it out. While Ivy works, Melinda hides in a bathroom stall and reads the graffiti. She adds her own note: “Guys to Stay Away From.” She puts Andy Evans’s name at the top of the list.
Heather and Melinda have not spoken since before Valentine’s Day, so Melinda is surprised one day when Heather drops by for a visit. Heather cries and says the Marthas have been cruel to her. Prom is coming up, and the Marthas have left her in charge of decorating the ballroom alone. She begs Melinda to help. Melinda quietly says, “No.”
After standing up to Heather, Melinda feels more confident. She resolves to talk to Rachel, who is still dating Andy Beast and even planning to go to prom with him. Melinda sits down with Rachel in study hall, and the two girls talk civilly for the first time all year. When the librarian forces them to end their chat, Melinda continues it on paper.
In her note, Melinda confesses what happened over the summer. “I didn’t call the cops to break up the...
(The entire section is 1,348 words.)