The protagonist of a story is the main character who traditionally undergoes some sort of change. He or she must usually overcome some opposing force. The protagonist in this novel is Melinda Sordino, a ninth-grader at Merryweather High School who must find some way to deal with being raped and labeled an outcast among the students of her school. She spends her entire ninth grade year reacting or not reacting to her pain.
The antagonist of a story is the force that provides an obstacle for the protagonist. The antagonist does not always have to be a single character or even a character at all. One of the antagonists is Andy Evans, a senior who raped Melinda at the end-of-the-summer party when she was too drunk to defend herself. He continues to torture her in subtle, psychological ways every time he sees her. Other antagonists are the girls who have dumped Melinda as a friend, because she is unable to tell them the truth. They believe she has betrayed them. The real antagonist, however, that Melinda faces is herself. She can only become stronger when she learns to speak the truth again and only she can find the way to that strength.
The climax of a plot is the major turning point that allows the protagonist to resolve the conflict. The climax here occurs when Melinda finally confronts Andy as he tries to rape her the second time. The first time she couldn’t find a way to speak or call for help, but this time she does and the evil he has perpetrated on her and other girls in the school finally comes to an end.
Melinda finds out she has a lot to offer and is able to speak once more. She makes peace with her parents and her friends and learns that out of this terrible year, she has become stronger and more mature. The future looks brighter even though IT will always be a part of her memory.
This novel relates the story of a young girl in Syracuse, New York, who is brutally raped at a party given by one of her friends. She calls the police for help and they arrive to find only a teen party with illegal alcohol. Because none of her friends know about the rape, they believe she called the cops to bust them. As a result, they make her an Outcast. She spends her entire ninth-grade year coming to terms with happened to her and finding the voice she lost as a result of her trauma to tell the truth.