Customer Reviews for

Speak

Average Rating 4.5
( 2057 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

112 out of 121 people found this review helpful.

AMAZING

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a 198 paged book written in 1999 and published by Penguin Putnam Inc. It is a young adult book that is taught in many different freshman English classrooms since it does have a 9.4 grade level on the SMOG readability test.
This book de...
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a 198 paged book written in 1999 and published by Penguin Putnam Inc. It is a young adult book that is taught in many different freshman English classrooms since it does have a 9.4 grade level on the SMOG readability test.
This book deals with the freshman year of a girl who was raped at a party the summer between middle school and high school. She doesn't tell anyone what happened. Speak dissects the multiple difficulties she encounters as she keeps silent about what happened to her and how her reactions cause her parents, basically the entire student body and most teachers to react negatively towards her. It also looks at how Melinda, the main character, finally comes to terms with what happened to her and her confrontation of the rape and rapist; ending with her finally telling her story.
This book has been criticized and censored as a teaching tool due to the subject matter being considered too `difficult' and `dark' for such a young audience and the plot being too `formulaic.' The plot is a bit formulaic but this only accents the bare honesty of Melinda's troubles and the complex emotions she is feeling. Personally, I believe this book to be very true to life, correctly depicting the reactions of a rape victim who turns survivor. The subject matter is dealt with in a very true and honest manner, something that is important for this grade level. This book looks at a very real problem and deals with it in a very real way. Thus this subject matter is made appropriate for the grade level through the way it is written about and the conversations it than creates. Speak is the most true to life book I have found on this subject matter at any readability or grade level and I highly recommend it to anyone who can deal with an honest portrayal of a horrible occurrence.

posted by 1Katherine1 on September 8, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

16 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

Why?

I was in eight grade when myself - as well as my entire class - was assigned to read "Speak" as required reading. Now, I fully realize that most students are going hate required reading by default, but that's not at all why Speak warrants only one star ((in fact, severa...
I was in eight grade when myself - as well as my entire class - was assigned to read "Speak" as required reading. Now, I fully realize that most students are going hate required reading by default, but that's not at all why Speak warrants only one star ((in fact, several required reading assignments all throughout middle and high school were quite enjoyable)). Ultimately, it's Speak's unrelated, fairly whiny protagonist coupled with an flat story that finds little resolution that keeps it from being halfway decent.

Although the book is written with first person narrative, few readers are going to find themselves relating to Melinda. I realize the events earlier ((rape and subsequent isolation by her peers)) are cause for some introspection and sulking, but she really never sets out to right the sources of her depression. She comes off as more than a little pathetic and it's hard to even have sympathy for a character who really can't find the resolution or strength to try to remedy the situation that has her so down.

Character issues aside, the story can't save Speak either. It was hard to find a substantial plot underneath the endless, monotonous days at school and constant whimpering about her former best friend ((and more than a little agonizing over French fries)). The story simply drags along and readers are supposed to find some form of meaning as Melinda sketches a tree in her art class. This is pretty much the most interesting part of the book, sadly enough. And when the book finally draws to a close, things wrap up neatly on the surface but the ending just doesn't sit right. Melinda doesn't truly face all her issues, but rather everything in the external world is magically solved and happy again. More than a little unrealistic.

The author's efforts were honorable enough, and I can respect what she was trying to pull off with Speak. But the book just doesn't work. Maybe if we had a more likable, stronger main character with a richer plot that involves more than self-pity and school scenes, Speak would have the potential to accomplish what it sets out to do. However, it simply isn't there.

posted by AiriFox on October 8, 2010

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  • Posted September 8, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    AMAZING

    Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a 198 paged book written in 1999 and published by Penguin Putnam Inc. It is a young adult book that is taught in many different freshman English classrooms since it does have a 9.4 grade level on the SMOG readability test.
    This book deals with the freshman year of a girl who was raped at a party the summer between middle school and high school. She doesn't tell anyone what happened. Speak dissects the multiple difficulties she encounters as she keeps silent about what happened to her and how her reactions cause her parents, basically the entire student body and most teachers to react negatively towards her. It also looks at how Melinda, the main character, finally comes to terms with what happened to her and her confrontation of the rape and rapist; ending with her finally telling her story.
    This book has been criticized and censored as a teaching tool due to the subject matter being considered too `difficult' and `dark' for such a young audience and the plot being too `formulaic.' The plot is a bit formulaic but this only accents the bare honesty of Melinda's troubles and the complex emotions she is feeling. Personally, I believe this book to be very true to life, correctly depicting the reactions of a rape victim who turns survivor. The subject matter is dealt with in a very true and honest manner, something that is important for this grade level. This book looks at a very real problem and deals with it in a very real way. Thus this subject matter is made appropriate for the grade level through the way it is written about and the conversations it than creates. Speak is the most true to life book I have found on this subject matter at any readability or grade level and I highly recommend it to anyone who can deal with an honest portrayal of a horrible occurrence.

    112 out of 121 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Speak is my new favorite book.

    After seeing the movie, I had to order this book. The author does a spectacular job of capturing the essence of high school. She depicts a story of a girl struggling with inner demons that anybody, whether they have gone through what Melinda has gone through or something similar, can relate to. Feeling alone, being depressed, dealing with crazy teachers, ignorant parents; its all in here and woven into a beautiful and memorable story. I would suggest this book to everyone I know as a story of hope and empowerment during the high school years.

    Thank you Laurie Anderson for this book. I truly was amazing.

    -Alisa Vanegas

    31 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An Unforgettable Emotional Whirlwind

    When I picked up Speak, I had a general idea of what to expect from the book. From reviews that I had read, it was a good book that was an emotional roller coaster.

    However, what I hadn't expected was how much I would love the book.

    From the beginning, you can sense that something had happened to Melinda, and obviously that something had changed her life deeply. She is very introverted, shy, and there is that one boy who she has to stay away from no matter what. Apparently, some exchange had happened between the two, and he had left untroubled while she was troubled.

    I'm not exactly sure of what to say, because I don't want to spoil anything from this book, and I think that anyone and everyone should read it. You can learn the effects something tragic can have on a person, and how they learn to deal with the event. Throughout the book, I was there with Melinda, emotion-to-emotion. It was amazing how this story brought so much more to my attention.

    I think this is a fantastic book, in summary. I would, and will, recommend it to everyone, male and female, because everyone can learn just a little bit more from this beautifully written story by Laurie Halse Anderson.

    25 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    This is truely the best book I have ever read in my entire life!!!

    This book was sooo intreaging that I found I couldn't put the book down. I felt horrible for Melinda, she wasn't a social butterfly and everyone hates her for calling the cops on a party. Her friend, Rachel/Rachelle, won't talk to her and her boyfriend is the guy that raped Melinda during the party (but no one knows that including her parents). The ending is wonderful and in my view, a book isn't good unless the ending is to die for...

    BASICALLY, I CAN'T STAND A DISAPOINTING BOOK.

    Take it from me, this is a great book and is VERY realistic. It is a book that made me laugh out loud beyond numerous times. I forced my 48-year-old mother (i'm twelve) to read it and she loved it beyond words.

    Great and fluent writing and can be read by anyone that understands the fact that the world isn't as kind as a seven-year-old may see it.

    Unless you or your kid is cultured and knows about sex...don't read it.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 18, 2008

    MRS. Dobney extra credit

    i really enjoyed this book. It is definately one of my favorites i suggest this to many readers

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2009

    An unforgettable book that you'll find that you want to read over and over!

    Have you ever been in a situation when you didn't have a voice to sepak out? Melinda Sordino in Speak, by Laurie Hasle Anderson, is one of those people. melinda Sordino was your typical teenage girl, util one night at a high school party she got into an extremely sticky situation and called for help. From there, her life spiraled down into a deep, dark abyss.
    At school, Melinda is hated by almost everyone because she "busted the party" and called the cops. Laurie Anderson does an amazing job in this realistic fiction novel, by making Melinda extremely real, life-like, and relatable. The problems that Melinda was going through may be the problems that everyday teenagers go through as well. Melinda's grades started to slip and she didn't care about school anymore. The only class she did well in, was art. Her drawing teacher, Mr. Freeman inspired Melinda to to express her thoughts and feelings not through words, but art.
    The most important theme that the author tries to convery, is to speak out for yourself, to not let anyone walk all over you, and to let your voice be heard. In the end Melinda gets the courage to finally speak out for herself, and to speak the truth.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2008

    Speak

    Speek a novel about a girl who calls the police to break up the party at the end of the summer. now her fiends hate her for getting them in trouble does melinda have to start her freshman year without any friends? if so what does she do and why did she break up that party?

    5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2013

    Extremely Realistic I've read so many reviews and it breaks my

    Extremely Realistic

    I've read so many reviews and it breaks my heart to see so many people put down this book just because they don't understand it. It is not a boring plot, a flat character, or a predictable storyline.
    As someone who has experienced an extremely similar situation, I can say that this is portrays the exact journey of someone dealing with a traumatic event. This IS the life you experience afterward, you DO think it about it every second of the day, and lastly, you do lose hope.
    I realize that this is difficult to understand if you cannot relate, but you must keep an open mind. Not everyone lives the same life and this book exhibits a path that is too often traveled but never spoken about. It captures real pain and struggle and even more so, the difficult road to recovery and the time it takes. This book is not for adolescents, it requires an adult mind to fully grasp the tragedy of this story and how much Speak lives in the world around us.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2008

    speak

    i think that the book speak was great, it was very well written. the book was very detailed, and has good meaning! i think that the auther could have put more intense stuff in it, but thats me. i like a good exciting book that gets me into it and is edgy. all in all, the book was awsome!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2013

    ┬┐Speak┬┐ by Laurie Halse Anderson is now one of my favorite books

    “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson is now one of my favorite books. This book is about a young girl who lives in fear and loneliness because she was raped at a summer party freshman year. She tries to be herself in a crowd of strangers but can’t seem to find her voice. Her art teacher helps her to use her words and express herself through art. I thought the book was very fast-paced and enjoyable; a real page-turner. The word choice is especially strong because it uses the voice from the young girl to be the narrator. This impacted me because it personalizes the book to each reader. It leaves a message to each reader that, according to Anderson, “When people don't express themselves, they die one piece at a time”. The girl refuses to accept what happened to her and uses the word IT to name the person who raped her. This word choice makes that person who defiled her seem inhuman. This book promotes a certain type of strength to those who may feel like they do not belong or can’t seem to stand up for what they feel. “You have to know what you stand for, not just what you stand against.”  I would greatly recommend this book to any teenager or young adult who wants to feel inspired. 

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2012

    Lala

    This book is amazing. I recommend it ages 12 & up though because some of the topics are slightly inappropriate, but not that bad. The way the author writes pretty amazing. She makes the book depressing, funny, and insprirational all at the same time. It is a heartbreaking and heartwarming story of life after a tragic inceddent.
    Please read this book, it will give you a new view on life.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2012

    Amazing!

    Speak is a well written novel of a mentally scarred teenager who is unable to speak for herself and rarely ever to others. She hides a tragedy leading to the misfortune of high school and finding herself alone and forsaken. This story is beautiful as you see Melinda learn to once again SPEAK.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2012

    I read Speak last summer. . . AMAZING!

    I read Speak last summer. . . AMAZING!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2012

    Anonymous

    This book really touched me. It is really amazing

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2013

    Speak

    This book was beautifully written. The author brings a attention to a huge problem accross the world. The main character, Melinda Sorindo was raped at a party the summer before her freshman year at highschool. Through the book, you see Melinda's emotional struggle. She rarely talks, has no true friends, and her parents can't help her because they don't know what happened. No one does. Her friends hate her because she called the cops at the party she was raped at. Because no one knows what really happend, they think of Melinda as a freak.Through this book you watch Melinda struggle to speak, and confront the boy who did this to her. This book shows how one night can change someone's life, negatively or positively. You wait the whole time, encouraging Melinda to speak, and when she does, it's incredible. My heart goes out to Melinda and other sexual assault victims. May my support and that of others give you the courage to speak.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2013

    Touching. Beautiful. Real

    This book is an example of more role model teens we need in the high school world. I loved every minute of reading this book because it was REALISTIC. It explains the troubles of not one teen but probably ten teens who struggle with being different in our judgemental society. This book forever changed my outlook on going to highschool. Im actually anticipating it now.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2013

    Hi

    Amazing..... well writen for having the subject rape in it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2012

    love it

    man did i love this book even tho it was not age apropret im only 11 but i read at a high school level it is a must read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2012

    Speak

    Fantastic book, highly reccommend it!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    People,seriously!!!!

    Ok,i try not to get mad at reviewers,but,honestly? Rrrgh. The book is freakin amazing. Ii have one piece of advice:stupid or compassionless people,dont buy it. Everyone else,do.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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