Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson


Genres: Young Adult, Coming of Age, Drama, High School
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Publication Date: October 1999

Synopsis: Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country. (source: Goodreads)


“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time.”

Speak has been out for over fifteen years but time has done nothing to diminish the incredible pain and power in this novel.

Anderson’s writing is spectacular and it’s easy to see the vicious and lonely world of high school through the eyes of an outcast. Anderson deals bluntly with the subject of rape and recovery without letting the novel become solemn and unbearable.

The book is about so much more than that though, it is an authetic telling of high school life. Melinda is perhaps one of the best written teens I have read in years. Clever without being unbelievable and struggling through depression and anxiety as many teens do.

The ending is a bit too clean cut but there is a very good reason this book is regarded as highly as it is, and I would encourage anyone going through high school to give it a read.


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