Cover Image: Say It Out Loud

Say It Out Loud

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Member Reviews

The story follows Charlotte our main character who is about to enter middle school and is scared because she doesn't know what to expect. Charlotte has a speech problem; she often stutters and has one main friend Maggie. A problem occurs with Charlotte and Maggie and they stop being friends and Charlotte starts to write notes because she's more confident writing and getting her thoughts on paper than she is speaking. 

I can see students relating to the story. I really enjoyed that the English teacher wants her students to write and encourages them to write and draw and just get their thoughts on paper. 

Tw: Bullying
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6th grade Charlotte loses her best friend when her stuttering keeps her from sticking up for Maggie against school bullies. So she resorts to the written word, sending notes of encouragement- to classmates, and support for the arts program- to the school board. Charlotte is no longer a silent bystander, but a voice that brings about positive change. She learns that speech does not define her- actions do. A subplot about the school musical wraps up improbably, but readers will rejoice with Charlotte’s success.
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I have been drawn to books about using your voice to tackle hard issues (Amina's Voice, Count Me In). This book fits right in. More books about kids who have vocal struggles like stuttering need to be written. Books where kids are shown fighting for what is right need to be at the forefront. I am so thankful that I found this book.
#SayItOutLoud was given to me by #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Enjoyable Read.  The stuttering connection with our current President is an unexpected touch but a nice one. Charlotte's reaction to bullying is a gentle one and a nice touch if a bit unrealistic.
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This book definitely focuses on finding your voice, facing your fears, and standing up for what's right. I love books that teach a great message without forcing it.
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What an amazing book about finding your voice!! A story that I feel is needed now more than ever. I work with a lot of sixth graders and I can’t wait to put this uplifting and powerful middle grade novel in their hands!!!!
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Sixth graders Maddie and Charlotte are the stars of this theme and character driven middle grade gem. As best friends, Maddie is totally accepts Charlotte's stutter, and is not one to stand by when one of their fellow sixth graders is bullied on the bus. More than anything, Charlotte does not want to call attention to her stuttering, and leaves Maddie to report the bullies and champion the bullied. Meanwhile, Charlotte's mom insists that Charlotte take theater, because she doesn't stutter when she sings, and this year it's Maddie's favorite musical, the  Wizard of Oz. Mom was right. Theater taught Charlotte to hit your mark,  look them in the eye, tell the truth, and get out of your own way. The majority of the action takes place on the bus, or with the theater gang, but being middle school, there is the angst of the lunch room. Thank you Random House Books For Young People and Netgalley for this arc.
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How fortunate the children today can read books like this that contain real life dialogue and a protagonist
who deals with whatever is thrown at her.  I wish books like this were around when I was growing up.
I will recommend this book to my children's literature classes.
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This was a well written, engaging book. I enjoyed the authors voice.  This would be an asset to any library collection.
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Thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC of Say It Out Loud by Allison Varnes.   This book really resonated with me as I I really related to Charlotte, the main character of this book.  Charlotte stutters and is self conscious of that.  When her best friend gets bullied on the bus, Charlotte neglects to stand up for her, afraid that the bullies will then target her.  This ruins their friendship, which Charlotte then has to try to repair.  In another plot line,  Charlotte loves musical theater and has learned that this will be the last year for the class.  For both plot lines, she has to learn how to speak up for herself and how to "speak her truth".  While I don't stutter, as a child, I was EXTREMELY shy and socially anxious yet still enthralled with musical theater.   I recall seeing others bullied and knowing I should say something but being afraid to, for fear that the bullies would then pick on me.  I lived Charlotte's story.  I love how Charlotte found a way to speak her truth.
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This book is such a timely title. While the issues the main character is struggling to raise her voice about are mostly can apply to racist comments, political opinions, and the rights of others everywhere. This is great book with fast pacing that middle grade students will devour. It is funny and thoughtful and full of great life lessons.
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Say It Out Loud by Allison Varnes is one of the best books that I have ever read.  Charlotte begins middle school and is afraid to speak out loud because she stutters.  When her best friend, Maddie is bullied on the school bus, she is afraid to speak out for fear of being bullied too which creates a rift between them.  In addition, Charlotte’s parents sign her up for musical theater because she has a beautiful voice. As Charlotte witnesses the bullying and seeing other students feel inferior or sad, she begins to write anonymous notes.  She places the letters in random places such as lockers, backpacks and desks. When the school board decides to remove musical theater from the curriculum, Charlotte leads a letter campaign to protest. 

Allison Varnes story tackles the fears and troubles that middle school students face so often beautifully.  Many middle scholars can identify with the characters in the story.  Readers who loved Wonder and Mustaches For Maddie would enjoy this book!
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This book represented the importance of telling your truth and speaking out in order to take a stand and make a difference. 

Maggie and Charlotte were best friends since third grade but a bullying incident tore them apart. Maggie spoke up while Charlotte wanted to remain under the radar of the bullies. She did not want the bullies to target her stuttering. So in her effort to save herself from the bullies, Charlotte left Maddie on her own to be tormented and bullied on a daily basis until Maggie reached her breaking point in an emotional video that went viral. Even though Charlotte knew her actions were wrong, she struggled with how to correct them…until she found her voice.  

This was a great way to show children how they can make a difference by taking positive actions. Within this storyline, Charlotte was not only trying to be brave enough to help her best friend, but also tried to save her school’s musical theatre class from being discontinued. When she didn’t have enough confidence in her own speaking voice, she used her written words to convey her messages. People started to take notice, and changes occurred. 

This book would be a wonderful asset to use with children in the classroom or at home. It resonates with many of the movements that recently took place throughout the world. It teaches a lesson that children and adults alike can follow- take a stand and do the right thing. Instead of being bystanders-passive observers-they can let their voices be heard by becoming active participants and make a difference in the lives of so many others.

An ARC was given for an honest review.
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this gem.

We all want to be the ones to do the right thing, and to stand up for the ones who need it, but it's so much harder, when it puts us in someone else's crosshairs. Charlotte is stuck in just that situation when she starts middle school hoping to fly under the radar. When she and her best friend are witness to a bullying incident on the bus, Maggie can't keep quiet, but Charlotte can't speak up. When the bullies turn on Maggie, and then Charlotte, she can't figure out how to be. friend to Maggie, and to protect herself at the same time.

I truly loved this book. Charlotte's story is a great one (and her situation is all too relatable). What makes this story a stand out, is how Charlotte chooses to speak out and show kindness when she can't seem to find her voice. I can't wait for this book to hit store shelves and student book boxes!
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This is an inspiring and compelling middle grade story about Charlotte, a 6th grader who doesn't speak up when her best friend is bullied because she stutters and is terrified of being picked on too. While grappling with her immense guilt Charlotte starts leaving encouraging notes in people's lockers, library books, and other random places at school. She also gains confidence by being in her musical theater class and performing in The Wizard of Oz. The characters and situations felt very authentic and a lot of middle graders will connect with Charlotte.
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I love the idea of this book!  Leaving inspiring notes around is so great!  I felt the story lacked a little in delivering, but it was still a good, quick read.
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Say It Out Loud is a book that will be so relatable for my fourth grade students. While it is a fairly simple story, they will connect with Charlotte's experiences with bullying and being afraid to share her voice. It was interesting that instead of being told from the perspective of the victim = it is of a bystander. It sends an important message about standing up for what's right and fighting for a cause, as well as the power of support and friendship.
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I began reading this book to finish up work from home hours with the public library I am employed with but when my WFH hours ended I found myself unable to put the book down and ended up finishing it in one sitting.

Despite the fact this book falls privy to one of my least favorite tropes that occurs in almost every book involving theatre (trying to avoid spoilers here), I really enjoyed the other aspects of this story.

The book follows Charlotte as she tries to deal with the "innocent bystander" dilemma and deal with middle school friendships all while also dealing with her personal struggle with her stutter.

I grew out of speech class in 2nd grade so I can't find myself relating to that side of Charlotte's story that well but it is nice to see that representation that often is missed. Many of the other struggles Charlotte needs to deal with in this book are relatable to me even as a 30 year old and I know that they are relatable for the youth I work with. I will definitely be adding this one to reader advisory lists when it comes out.
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This book was received as an ARC from Random House Children's - Random House Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

I love how this book really focuses on the power of words and how important it is to have that self confidence to speak up for what you believe is right. I can relate to Charlotte's story and how at first she did not want to get into musical theatre but discovered she has a gift for singing and when she started to get into her groove, the music program at her school has been cut out of the school budget. Now, that she discovered her voice, Charlotte does not hold back and finally uses her voice to save the musical. This book is inspirational more than ever and was perfectly timed at its release date. People need to rely on themselves to speak up for their beliefs and not rely on others and hope and pray that it all gets better. 

We will consider adding this title to our JFiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
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This is stunning. I am infatuated with this book. It sent me on an emotional journey back 29 years to middle school, with all the anxiety, insecurity, and defining moments that go with it. While I read this, I felt 11 all over again. Sometime that was fun, and sometimes, it was awful. I experienced so many moments of crying, followed by laughing, and then crying again. If anyone had watched me read this book, they would have been convinced I had come unhinged, which would have been correct, because that’s what happens when you read a book that is so achingly raw and honest. It takes you to all these real and sometimes difficult places, and let’s you have a look back on who you’ve been and consider who you still want to be.

This novel addresses the bystander effect in a real way, a way that so many people are going to relate to on all different sides. It also provides us with the most lovable character ever in Charlotte. She’s sweet. She’s funny, and she’s afraid of a lot of things, particular that who she is as a person won’t be good enough or will be mocked by others. It’s the kind of fear that eats her up from the inside out and impacts how she reacts in intense or emotional situations. Charlotte struggles to be the best version of herself, but when she panics, she sometimes makes poor choices that hurt herself and others.

Charlotte stutters, and is very self conscious about it. This plays a major role in the story. I have read a lot of middle grade novels, but I have never read one that addressed stuttering in such an interesting and through away. It’s a way that helped me really understand what it must feel like to stutter and all the challenges, stereotypes, and disrespect that can come along with that. Since the author also stutters, I knew reading this, that she must have dug into those deepest and darkest emotions and self doubts, in order to give Charlotte so much voice and authenticity. She’s an incredible and compelling character with so much depth and heart. This book addresses what it feels like to stutter, in a way that often broke my heart. It also shows us ways in which people can try to manage a stutter or regroup, whenever words don’t come out the same as everyone else. It’s so informative, without ever feeling like it’s educating me. I just followed Charlotte on her journey and learned so much about what it feels like to fight for your words, and also, how important it is for others to be patient, empathetic, and accepting when it comes to differences in communicating.

The adults in this story are all amazing. They’re loving and supportive. They really care and try. I love seeing that in a middle grade novel, and since Charlotte keeps everything locked up tight inside, it took a whole lot of different types of mentors and support to help push her, prod her, and encourage her to speak up and be the best and most honest version of herself. Each mentor played a different role in helping her find her voice and fix her mistakes, and I loved them all.

This book is well-written, relatable, and relevant. I wish this book had been on my shelves when I was still a middle school librarian, because I knew so many kids that needed this story and would have benefited from reading about a character that they could relate to. This book is like a long, warm hug for anyone who has ever struggled to navigate through the storm tossed seas of middle school, while just trying to keep keep their head above water. It’s gorgeous and painful and triumphant, and I’m still emotional about it, a whole day later.

I could really use a Charlotte in my life. I think she’s magnificent, and I adore her.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me an ARC for review. I loved this one so much that I have already gone out and preordered the hardcover and the audiobook. I’m pretty sure that I will be hugging this book, as soon as the print version arrives at my house. Release date is August 24, 2021, so just preorder it now. That way you don’t forget. You aren’t going to want to miss this one. It’s worth your time and the emotional investment.

PS: I almost totally forgot to mention that this story has a musical theater element, and that it is fantastic and adds a lot of fun and humor to the story. If you love musicals, this will be right up your alley. This book really does have it all.  I practically wrote you a novel, just to tell you how much I love it.
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