In grade nine, the cruelty of young girls reaches a point so fine that it passes into near-invisibility, and it cuts with such efficiency that you don't even know what's going on until there's blood and bits everywhere. Melba arrived with certain disadvantages: she was taller and bigger-boned than everyone else, and she hadn't learned to move her body with grace. She bumped around as if she'd been stuck together from spare parts. You could feel the contempt of the other girls like the heat on the surface of a hive of bees. I've no doubt that Melba is beautiful now.