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On her first day of high school, fifteen-year-old Melrose Bird, a.k.a. Mel, sees a woman on a park bench staring at Drift High School where her teenage son, Alex Weber, died five years ago.
Alex Weber''s death has never been discussed in the town or at the school. But Mel and her best friend Frank become obsessed with Alex''s grave and consumed by the why of his suicide. When Mel happens upon a pair of Alex''s cargo pants, she takes them. And what she finds inside the pockets brings into focus the story of Alex''s brief life and his death.
Determined to pressure the school and the town into recognizing why Alex died, Mel embarks on a journey and confronts a world of adult secrecy and deception. Mel also contends with a peer group who greet Mel''s assertion of her identity--her buzz cut and the pants she wears--by scrawling DYKE across her locker.
But anyone who thinks Mel Bird will retreat from disapproval or opposition is badly mistaken.