Saturday, October 2, 2010

Speak
by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak
Laurie Halse Anderson
Grades 7 and up
YA Fiction

Speak introduces us to Melinda. Melinda is entering her freshman year of high school a very different girl than she left eighth grade. Melinda finds herself becoming mute—almost—because she only speaks when she absolutely has to. She was a bright student but now she is getting Ds and Fs in high school in all but art. Her friends no longer speak to her. In fact, no one speaks to her but a transfer student named Heather and her biology lab partner. Is everyone shunning her because she called the police at a big end-of-the-summer bash? What readers do not know is why Melinda called the police. Does Melinda have enough courage and strength to stand up for herself to the students, faculty and her parents? Most of all, can she stand up to the person who ultimately caused her withdrawing from the outside world?

I found this to be a very powerful, thought-provoking novel. You know something has happened to Melinda and she slowly reveals what has happened to her. This book is not a light book to read. It delves into the mind of someone who is severely depressed, misunderstood, has been attacked and raped and at one point contemplates suicide. That being said, I think readers would latch onto some aspect of the novel—whether it is the turmoil of the main character, the cliques in high school, being an outcast or different, the melancholy or the strength it takes to overcome adversity—the book can pull at a reader in many directions. I would not recommend this book as a book for the advance readers from our section. Though they may be able to read it, I do not know if the emotional aspect of the book would be appropriate for younger, advanced readers.

2 comments :

  1. Another great book! I read this in high school and loved it.

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    Replies
    1. :) it is a fantastic book by one of my favorite authors. Have you read any of her other titles?

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