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Certainly Melinda feels the scorn of other kids. Right away in chapter 1 Malinda's old friends won't talk to her, much less sit with her on the bus. They snicker at her during the assembly. Anybody would be affected by this much bad energy. Melinda has friends throughout the novel but we wonder if they are sincere or merely fleeting. Her parents are on her case about her progress in school which makes her try harder though adds more stress to her already stressful life.