Cover Image: Say It Out Loud

Say It Out Loud

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this book, the main character was very relatable and allowed me to picture myself back as a middle schooler. I did feel like the other character on the other hand could have used a little more development. All in all I really enjoyed the message of the book, and can see myself recommending it to any middle schoolers I know.
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This a book about a girl with a stutter. Her parents sign her up for musical theater because they think it will help her build the confidence to speak up. She finds inspiration to speak up when bullies arrive.
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This book was an excellent read.  I feel it would be a great for children grade 4-7.  The story centers around bullying but looks at it from the perspective of the bystander.  There are not too many books from the bystander point of view in middle grade fiction.  It felt fresh.
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Say It Out Loud is a heartwarming middle grade book about making mistakes and working to take responsibility for them. It centers a young girl who stutters, a friendship fracture, as well as a middle school musical. This story scores points for positive relationships between parents and their kids and helping readers recognize that people are rarely ever just good or bad. I would definitely recommend this one.
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We all know we should speak up when we witness bullying or any sort of injustice. Right? But what if speaking up draws attention to our own flaws? What if we can’t get the words out right and people laugh at us? Charlotte Andrews has chosen to stay quiet for most of her life to keep people from hearing her embarrassing stutter. However, when she refuses to speak up over a school bus incident she witnessed, she damages her relationship with her very best friend. Is protecting your pride really worth ending a friendship?

This story highlighted the power of the written word. Because even when we’re nervous about saying things out loud, we can still write! Also emphasized is the importance of being a friend who LISTENS. There are multiple ways to support those who are bullied and oppressed and this book was a real call to action. This is also an #ownvoices book as Allison Varnes has struggled with stuttering. If, like me, you enjoyed reading Allison Varnes’s Property of the Rebel Librarian, I dare say Say It Out Loud was even better! I’m happy to recommend this one.
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"It's hard to admit when you're wrong. It takes a lot of courage to do something about your mistakes.... Being brave means doing the right thing even when you're scared. Be brave anyway."
What a wonderful middle grade story with valuable lessons about bullying, being brave, friendship, forgiveness and having the courage to do the right thing when it is not the easy thing.
Charlotte Andrews loves to sing because it is the only time she doesn't stutter and even though she would rather stay quiet she finds that words can be very powerful. Young and old alike could read this and come away with very valuable and even practical ideas to use words in a way that heals instead of harms. Highly recommend! Thanks NetGalley for the advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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OMG I loved this book!  I think all adults can relate to one or more characters here!  I loved Charlotte's honesty with her feelings, I loved the drama teacher, I loved the notes Charlotte wrote.  All of this!  As a mama to a middle schooler and a mama to a kiddo with a speech challenge, this book hit home in a very big way!
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What a great book! I really enjoyed how the message came across well, but not too preachy. I think my students could read this and then get the message but not realize they're getting a message. 
I loved Charlotte's development throughout the book and love how she began to understand herself more and more as the book went on. I also loved how she connected with and made friends with kids she hadn't chosen to spend time with before and as a result, gained friends who liked her for who she was. 
Looking forward to purchasing this one for my 2 elementary school libraries.
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I have learned far more about life from reading middle grade and young adult fiction than from adult books. Say It Out Loud was a wonderful book about finding your voice. 

Let's face it, kids ARE CRUEL! Middle school is rough and there are some who don't leave unscathed. Charlotte Andrews enters middle school with her best friend Maddie. Charlotte and Maddie are bullied on the school bus and Charlotte also stutters. I felt for this poor girl. 

Charlotte endures a rough time for awhile but then decided to turn lemons into lemonade. This was such a feel good story and I was rooting for her. Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this well written story.
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I can't say enough good things about this book. I laughed, I cried, I felt all that Middle School angst all over again.
You should buy this book. buy it for yourself, for your kids, for the children and grownups in your life.
I really, really, really loved, loved, LOVED this book!
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Say it Out Loud tackles bullying from the bystander’s perspective.  Charlotte is a shy, reserved middle schooler whose friend is a target of bullying. Rather than take a stand, Charlotte tries to disappear and not be heard because of her stutter. When Charlotte decides to finally speak out, she does it in her own way.
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This is a largely character-driven book, a feature less common in work for a middle grade audience. Plenty of things happen in the story but Charlotte's desire to avoid attention is always at the center of things. It informs every action and interaction. It is both the source of conflict and her resolution. And Charlotte is a genuinely likeable character. She may be a bit frustrating at times in her reluctance to act, but she's also very observant and sees the goodness in her peers even when they appear cruel or otherwise unlikable. And through this plot Varnes shows the reader not only the power of simple acts of kindness to affect change but also how easy it is to be a part of the problem. How easy it is to be unkind or allow others to be cruel. A solid read.
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What an amazing Middlegrade story! Charlotte and Maddie are nervous to enter middle school, and quickly realize those nerves are justified! After watching a boy get bullied on the bus, Maddie chooses to do the right thing and reports the incident to the principal. However doing the right thing makes Maddie and Charlotte the new victims. 

Desperate to find some relief from the incessant bullying, Charlotte soon deserts her friend. You see, Charlotte has a stutter. She is desperately self conscious and is not equipped to deal with any form of ridicule. Her parents push her to join musical theater where she finds her people, and she slowly starts making amends.

I loved how this book highlighted how mean kids can be in middle school and how kindness always wins. The adults were all so wonderful in this book. I loved how they both pushed the kids to make the right choices and also helped them to get there. The writing style would be perfect for younger readers but as a 35 year old mom, I absolutely loved it too!

I also loved how they highlighted the arts, especially musical theater and English. The arts so often get looked over in schools and this book shows how important creative writing and theater can be for students’ self expression and overall well-being.

I hope this book becomes a staple in every school’s library!
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Say It Out Loud is the second middle-grade book I’ve read in the past month that has someone with a stutter as the protagonist. The first book, The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh, by Helen Rutter, features a boy who uses humor to help people see beyond is stutter. In Say It Out Loud, Charlotte finds her voice though pen and paper.

While Charlotte’s stutter is part of her story, the main theme of Say It Out Loud is bullying. Charlotte may initially hide because of her stutter, but it’s the trauma of harassment that keeps her silent. Author Allison Varnes does an excellent job creating these scenes. The feelings practically leap off the page. She helps readers to see why people would choose silence while showing a path to speaking out.

Some of the characters are fairly stereotypical — the bullies, the mean girl in the musical, etc. — but they’re all relatable, too, which sort of balances everything out.

Say It Out Loud is a fairly quick read that will speak to readers on a number of levels.
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Middle-schooler Charlotte and her best friend Maddie find themselves on the bus with two bullies. When the bullies target Ben by throwing a wad of gum that lands in his hair, Maddie speaks up. Charlotte, who has a stuttering problem, prefers to remain unnoticed. When the bullies set their sights on Maddie for snitching, Charlotte knows she should stand up for her friend. She chooses to protect herself instead, a choice that becomes A Bad Thing. 
     Through caring teachers and challenging writing and theater classes, Charlotte finds her voice. When she sees the power of her written words as a force for good, she gains the courage to use her spoken words, as well. 
     Though middle school was many years ago for this reader, the story transported me back to those hallways as if I were there yesterday. I related to Charlotte's fears, her desire for self-preservation, and the difficulty of speaking out when you already feel like an outsider. Once I began Charlotte's story, I could not leave her! I was engaged from page 1 and finished the book in two sittings. The themes of kindness, forgiveness, and the power of words are needed now more than ever.
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I have read some good YA titles in the past. Some that really made me think.
Say It Out Loud falls into that area. It's a great story with a big message.

Middle school is hard for everyone. 
Some just seem to have a harder time of it.
Between changing bodies and needing to find where you fit in, it can easily become a few years worth of material to fill your nightmares. 

Charlotte finds this out rather quickly as she and her best friend, Maddie, end up getting attention from some bullies on their bus. This happens after Maddie speaks up about them bullying another boy.

Charlotte doesn't want to be seen or be a regular target. So, the next day she just walks past Maddie on the bus to sit in the back. And witnesses how Maddie is the new target of the 2 bullies. Shunning her friend becomes the "bad thing" which she now considers insurmountable to overcome. So for months, she is without her best friend because a simple sorry isn't enough to bridge the divide.

in the meantime, she has to navigate potential perils while stressing out about her 'flaw', stuttering. And realizes that through writing she can find her voice and use it to make the world a better place.

Overall, this was a good read even if I'm well outside the age range the book primarily targets. And that's okay because I think there are many of us who need a reminder to speak up for others. To find our voice and use it.
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Say It Out Loud
by Allison Varnes
 Random House Children's,  Random House Books for Young Readers
 Middle Grade
 Pub Date 24 Aug 2021



I’m reviewing a copy of Say It Out Loud through Random House Children’s and Netgalley:



Charolette Andrew’s doesn’t mind being quiet, in fact she prefers it.  When she isn’t speaking people can’t make of her stutter. But when she witnesses bullying on the school bus and doesn't say anything, her silence comes between her and her best friend.


To make matters worse her parents signed her up for musical theater. Charlotte doesn't want to speak onstage, but at least she doesn't stutter when she sings. Then, just as she starts to find her voice, the arts program is cut. Charlotte can't stay silent anymore.



To in order to ease her guilt and to help her classmates Charlotte begins to write anonymous encouraging notes to her classmates. Letters to the school board to save the school musical. And an essay about the end of her best friendship--and her hope that she can still save it.



Words could save Charlotte Andrews and everything she believes in if she just believes in herself enough to speak up.



I give Say It Out Loud five out of five stars!


Happy Reading!
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Charlotte is a very relatable main character -- the scenes at school and on the bus brought back vivid memories of my own years in middle school, dealing with bullies and shifting relationships with friends.

The inclusion of musical theater was SUPER fun, and the author's experience with stuttering as a child made the story even more powerful.
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Charlotte Andrews is nervous about starting middle school. Not only is she riding a school bus for the first time, but her mother insisted she take musical theater class and she just knows that the speech teacher is going to pull her out of class to work on her stuttering. She’s been working on her stuttering for years, and she is embarrassed when she gets singled out. And what if she’s not in any classes with her best fried Maddie? 

And then it starts, and things are not okay. Charlotte and Maddie see Ben get bullied on the school bus. Two older boys start making fun of him, and no one stops them. Charlotte wants to speak up, but what if stutters? She’d be so embarrassed, and they might start teasing her about that. But Maddie wants to tell someone who can help, and she ends up going to the principal’s office. 

Charlotte chooses not to speak up, but she gets called to the office anyway. She still doesn’t say anything, but she does write out what she saw and hopes that it helps Ben. And the next day, when she goes to sit on the bus, she sees that the bullies are sitting right behind Maddie, like they know that she’s the one who got them in trouble, and Charlotte doesn’t sit with her. She chooses to walk by and sit further back. It’s a big mistake, and she regrets it immediately, but she can’t find the courage to change seats. 

She tries to apologize to Maddie later, but saying sorry isn’t enough, and days go by with Charlotte feeling like a bad friend and a bad person. Charlotte finds that she enjoys her classes, especially her English class where she gets to write every day. And in musical theater class, she finds out that they’ll be performing The Wizard of Oz, which is one of her favorite movies, and she immediately starts on her audition piece for Glinda the Good Witch. 

But nothing she does can make up for the Bad Thing she did to Maddie. Not when she writes Ben a note, saying that she thinks he’s brave. Not when she starts anonymously leaving encouraging notes in lockers and backpacks all over the school. And when the school board decides that this year will the last for the musical theater class, and Charlotte decides to start writing letters to the school board and local media outlets, that’s still not enough to make up for the Bad Thing. 

The only thing that will help is to apologize to Maddie and see if she can forgive her. But does Charlotte have enough courage to find her voice and say those words to her former best friend? 

Say It Out Loud is a charming novel that takes on all the difficult feelings of middle school. For a lot of kids, this is the first time they experience bullying, the first time they get excluded just for being young. And when you add in something that makes them feel different, like Charlotte’s stuttering, then processing those feelings get even more difficult. Author Allison Varnes understands, and she fills Charlotte’s story with kindness and grace, offering hope and warmth for kids struggling with those feeling guilt or shame or just feeling small and powerless. 

I loved Charlotte’s story. I thought it was lovely how Charlotte found her voice through writing, whether it’s the encouraging notes she started leaving wherever she went or the journaling she did for her English teacher. Using musical theater as a way to help Charlotte find her confidence and her voice was smart plotting as well as a lot of fun. Say It Out Loud is a great tool for encouraging kids to find and use their voice, and an entertaining story as well. 

Egalleys for Say It Out Loud were provided by Random House Books for Young Readers through NetGalley, with many thanks.
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Thank you so much to Netgalley and Random House Children's for the opportunity to read and review this book. Ahh this book! I wasn't sure how I was going to feel with this book because of my career as a speech teacher but also because of the fluency/stuttering representation. Thankfully, the fluency/stuttering representation was #ownvoices which means that the author could directly relate to the main character. That definitely helped me to like this book more.  The themes with this book also are perfect for someone starting out in middle school with friendships and how to spread kindness towards others and how the littlest of things make a difference. Overall, I truly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to any middle grade classroom. Because of these points, I have to give this a 4-4.5 out of 5 stars.
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