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Speak

4.5 2083
by Laurie Halse Anderson
     
 

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1999 National Book Award Finalist
School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
Booklist Editors' Choice

Melinda is a friendless outcast at Merryweather High. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, and now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking

Overview

1999 National Book Award Finalist
School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
Booklist Editors' Choice

Melinda is a friendless outcast at Merryweather High. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, and now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. It is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and who is still a threat to her. It will take another violent encounter with him to make Melinda fight back. This time she refuses to be silent.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
When Melinda Sordino's friends discover she called the police to quiet a party, they ostracize her, turning her into an outcast -- even among kids she barely knows. But even worse than the harsh conformity of high-school cliques is a secret that you have to hide.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW said of this stunning first novel narrated by a rape survivor, "Anderson infuses the narrative with a wit that sustains the heroine through her pain and holds readers' empathy." Ages 12--up. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-A ninth grader becomes a social pariah when she calls the police to bust a summer bash and spends the year coming to terms with the secret fact that she was raped during the party. A story told with acute insight, acid wit, and affecting prose. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Young, talented actress Mandy Siefried becomes Melinda, a troubled teen who struggles to cope after a rape, as she reads Laurie Halse Anderson's award-winning novel (Farrar, 1999). Although Melinda calls the police, she remains silent about the incident even with her parents and friends. Siefried's expressive voice depicts the tender, insecure youth and her freshman year at high school. This compelling novel presents a realistic portrayal of life in a contemporary high school. The narrator reads at a quick pace, pausing effectively to increase the dramatic mood. She easily recreates the sound of a power saw, and does a fine job of whining, singing, and presenting the cheerleaders' "Go horny Hornets." Listeners will become emotionally involved in this very effective presentation which is sure to please teen audiences.-Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A frightening and sobering look at the cruelty and viciousness that pervade much of contemporary high school life, as real as today's headlines. At the end of the summer before she enters high school, Melinda attends a party at which two bad things happen to her. She gets drunk, and she is raped. Shocked and scared, she calls the police, who break up the party and send everyone home. She tells no one of her rape, and the other students, even her best friends, turn against her for ruining their good time. By the time school starts, she is completely alone, and utterly desolate. She withdraws more and more into herself, rarely talking, cutting classes, ignoring assignments, and becoming more estranged daily from the world around her. Few people penetrate her shell; one of them is Mr. Freeman, her art teacher, who works with her to help her express what she has so deeply repressed. When the unthinkable happens—the same upperclassman who raped her at the party attacks her again—something within the new Melinda says no, and in repelling her attacker, she becomes whole again. The plot is gripping and the characters are powerfully drawn, but it is its raw and unvarnished look at the dynamics of the high school experience that makes this a novel that will be hard for readers to forget. (Fiction. 12+)

From the Publisher

“In a stunning first novel, Anderson uses keen observations and vivid imagery to pull readers into the head of an isolated teenager. . . . Yet Anderson infuses the narrative with a wit that sustains the heroine through her pain and holds readers' empathy. . . . But the book's overall gritty realism and Melinda's hard-won metamorphosis will leave readers touched and inspired.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“An uncannily funny book even as it plumbs the darkness, Speak will hold readers from first word to last.” —The Horn Book, Starred Review

“A frightening and sobering look at the cruelty and viciousness that pervade much of contemporary high school life, as real as today's headlines. . . . The plot is gripping and the characters are powerfully drawn . . . a novel that will be hard for readers to forget.” —Kirkus Reviews, Pointer Review

“Melinda's pain is palpable, and readers will totally empathize with her. This is a compelling book, with sharp, crisp writing that draws readers in, engulfing them in the story.” —School Library Journal

“A story told with acute insight, acid wit, and affecting prose.” —Library Journal

“Melinda's voice is distinct, unusual, and very real as she recounts her past and present experiences in bitterly ironic, occasionally even amusing vignettes. . . . Melinda's sarcastic wit, honesty, and courage make her a memorable character whose ultimate triumph will inspire and empower readers.” —Booklist

Children's Literature - Casey Dargan
Melinda, a high school freshman, suddenly stops speaking. The reader experiences through her cynical perspective the dreariness of life as an outcast in high school. Melinda loses touch with her friends and family by building emotional walls to hide a secret she is too ashamed and afraid to tell. This emotional novel expresses the dark side of high school students and the pressures to fit in. Melinda also makes the reader laugh with her witty teenage cynicism and her descriptions of the absurd characters who resemble people in our own lives. Despite Melinda's trauma and what it has done to her relationships, she gains emotional strength and self-respect through her art class. Reviewer: Casey Dargan

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142407325
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
04/20/2006
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Speak


By Laurie Halse Anderson

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Copyright © 1999 Laurie Halse Anderson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-9704-1



CHAPTER 1

FIRST MARKING PERIOD


WELCOME TO MERRYWEATHER HIGH

It is my first morning of high school. I have seven new notebooks, a skirt I hate, and a stomachache.

The school bus wheezes to my corner. The door opens and I step up. I am the first pickup of the day. The driver pulls away from the curb while I stand in the aisle. Where to sit? I've never been a backseat wastecase. If I sit in the middle, a stranger could sit next to me. If I sit in the front, it will make me look like a little kid, but I figure it's the best chance I have to make eye contact with one of my friends, if any of them have decided to talk to me yet.

The bus picks up students in groups of four or five. As they walk down the aisle, people who were my middle-school lab partners or gym buddies glare at me. I close my eyes. This is what I've been dreading. As we leave the last stop, I am the only person sitting alone.

The driver downshifts to drag us over the hills. The engine clanks, which makes the guys in the back holler something obscene. Someone is wearing too much cologne. I try to open my window, but the little latches won't move. A guy behind me unwraps his breakfast and shoots the wrapper at the back of my head. It bounces into my lap — a Ho-Ho.

We pass janitors painting over the sign in front of the high school. The school board has decided that "Merryweather High — Home of the Trojans" didn't send a strong abstinence message, so they have transformed us into the Blue Devils. Better the Devil you know than the Trojan you don't, I guess. School colors will stay purple and gray. The board didn't want to spring for new uniforms.

Older students are allowed to roam until the bell, but ninth-graders are herded into the auditorium. We fall into clans: Jocks, Country Clubbers, Idiot Savants, Cheerleaders, Human Waste, Eurotrash, Future Fascists of America, Big Hair Chix, the Marthas, Suffering Artists, Thespians, Goths, Shredders. I am clanless. I wasted the last weeks of August watching bad cartoons. I didn't go to the mall, the lake, or the pool, or answer the phone. I have entered high school with the wrong hair, the wrong clothes, the wrong attitude. And I don't have anyone to sit with.

I am Outcast.


There is no point looking for my ex-friends. Our clan, the Plain Janes, has splintered and the pieces are being absorbed by rival factions. Nicole lounges with the Jocks, comparing scars from summer league sports. Ivy floats between the Suffering Artists on one side of the aisle and the Thespians on the other. She has enough personality to travel with two packs. Jessica has moved to Nevada. No real loss. She was mostly Ivy's friend, anyway.

The kids behind me laugh so loud I know they're laughing about me. I can't help myself. I turn around. It's Rachel, surrounded by a bunch of kids wearing clothes that most definitely did not come from the EastSide Mall. Rachel Bruin, my ex — best friend. She stares at something above my left ear. Words climb up my throat. This was the girl who suffered through Brownies with me, who taught me how to swim, who understood about my parents, who didn't make fun of my bedroom. If there is anyone in the entire galaxy I am dying to tell what really happened, it's Rachel. My throat burns.

Her eyes meet mine for a second. "I hate you," she mouths silently. She turns her back to me and laughs with her friends. I bite my lip. I am not going to think about it. It was ugly, but it's over, and I'm not going to think about it. My lip bleeds a little. It tastes like metal. I need to sit down.

I stand in the center aisle of the auditorium, a wounded zebra in a National Geographic special, looking for someone, anyone, to sit next to. A predator approaches: gray jock buzz cut, whistle around a neck thicker than his head. Probably a social studies teacher, hired to coach a blood sport.

Mr. Neck: "Sit."

I grab a seat. Another wounded zebra turns and smiles at me. She's packing at least five grand worth of orthodontia, but has great shoes. "I'm Heather from Ohio," she says. "I'm new here. Are you?" I don't have time to answer. The lights dim and the indoctrination begins.


THE FIRST TEN LIES THEY TELL YOU IN HIGH SCHOOL

1. We are here to help you.

2. You will have enough time to get to your class before the bell rings.

3. The dress code will be enforced.

4. No smoking is allowed on school grounds.

5. Our football team will win the championship this year.

6. We expect more of you here.

7. Guidance counselors are always available to listen.

8. Your schedule was created with your needs in mind.

9. Your locker combination is private.

10. These will be the years you look back on fondly.


My first class is biology. I can't find it and get my first demerit for wandering the hall. It is 8:50 in the morning. Only 699 days and 7 class periods until graduation.


OUR TEACHERS ARE THE BEST ...

My English teacher has no face. She has uncombed stringy hair that droops on her shoulders. The hair is black from her part to her ears and then neon orange to the frizzy ends. I can't decide if she had pissed off her hairdresser or is morphing into a monarch butterfly. I call her Hairwoman.

Hairwoman wastes twenty minutes taking attendance because she won't look at us. She keeps her head bent over her desk so the hair flops in front of her face. She spends the rest of class writing on the board and speaking to the flag about our required reading. She wants us to write in our class journals every day, but promises not to read them. I write about how weird she is.

We have journals in social studies, too. The school must have gotten a good price on journals. We are studying American history for the ninth time in nine years. Another review of map skills, one week of Native Americans, Christopher Columbus in time for Columbus Day, the Pilgrims in time for Thanksgiving. Every year they say we're going to get right up to the present, but we always get stuck in the Industrial Revolution. We got to World War I in seventh grade — who knew there had been a war with the whole world? We need more holidays to keep the social studies teachers on track.

My social studies teacher is Mr. Neck, the same guy who growled at me to sit down in the auditorium. He remembers me fondly. "I got my eye on you. Front row."

Nice seeing you again, too. I bet he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Vietnam or Iraq — one of those TV wars.


SPOTLIGHT

I find my locker after social studies. The lock sticks a little, but I open it. I dive into the stream of fourth-period lunch students and swim down the hall to the cafeteria.

I know enough not to bring lunch on the first day of high school. There is no way of telling what the acceptable fashion will be. Brown bags — humble testament to suburbia, or terminal geek gear? Insulated lunch bags — hip way to save the planet, or sign of an over-involved mother? Buying is the only solution. And it gives me time to scan the cafeteria for a friendly face or an inconspicuous corner.

The hot lunch is turkey with reconstituted dried mashed potatoes and gravy, a damp green vegetable, and a cookie. I'm not sure how to order anything else, so I just slide my tray along and let the lunch drones fill it. This eight-foot senior in front of me somehow gets three cheeseburgers, French fries, and two Ho-Hos without saying a word. Some sort of Morse code with his eyes, maybe. Must study this further. I follow the Basketball Pole into the cafeteria.

I see a few friends — people I used to think were my friends — but they look away. Think fast, think fast. There's that new girl, Heather, reading by the window. I could sit across from her. Or I could crawl behind a trash can. Or maybe I could dump my lunch straight into the trash and keep moving right on out the door.

The Basketball Pole waves to a table of friends. Of course. The basketball team. They all swear at him — a bizarre greeting practiced by athletic boys with zits. He smiles and throws a Ho-Ho. I try to scoot around him.

Thwap! A lump of potatoes and gravy hits me square in the center of my chest. All conversation stops as the entire lunchroom gawks, my face burning into their retinas. I will be forever known as "that girl who got nailed by potatoes the first day." The Basketball Pole apologizes and says something else, but four hundred people explode in laughter and I can't read lips. I ditch my tray and bolt for the door.

I motor so fast out of the lunchroom the track coach would draft me for varsity if he were around. But no, Mr. Neck has cafeteria duty. And Mr. Neck has no use for girls who can run the one hundred in under ten seconds, unless they're willing to do it while holding on to a football.

Mr. Neck: "We meet again."

Me:

Would he listen to "I need to go home and change," or "Did you see what that bozo did"? Not a chance. I keep my mouth shut.

Mr. Neck: "Where do you think you're going?"

Me:

It is easier not to say anything. Shut your trap, button your lip, can it. All that crap you hear on TV about communication and expressing feelings is a lie. Nobody really wants to hear what you have to say.

Mr. Neck makes a note in his book. "I knew you were trouble the first time I saw you. I've taught here for twenty-four years and I can tell what's going on in a kid's head just by looking in their eyes. No more warnings. You just earned a demerit for wandering the halls without a pass."


SANCTUARY

Art follows lunch, like dream follows nightmare. The classroom is at the far end of the building and has long, south-facing windows. The sun doesn't shine much in Syracuse, so the art room is designed to get every bit of light it can. It is dusty in a clean-dirt kind of way. The floor is layered with dry splotches of paint, the walls plastered with sketches of tormented teenagers and fat puppies, the shelves crowded with clay pots. A radio plays my favorite station.

Mr. Freeman is ugly. Big old grasshopper body, like a stilt-walking circus guy. Nose like a credit card sunk between his eyes. But he smiles at us as we file into class.

He is hunched over a spinning pot, his hands muddy red. "Welcome to the only class that will teach you how to survive," he says. "Welcome to Art."

I sit at a table close to his desk. Ivy is in this class. She sits by the door. I keep staring at her, trying to make her look at me. That happens in movies — people can feel it when other people stare at them and they just have to turn around and say something. Either Ivy has a great force field, or my laser vision isn't very strong. She won't look back at me. I wish I could sit with her. She knows art.

Mr. Freeman turns off the wheel and grabs a piece of chalk without washing his hands. "SOUL," he writes on the board. The clay streaks the word like dried blood. "This is where you can find your soul, if you dare. Where you can touch that part of you that you've never dared look at before. Do not come here and ask me to show you how to draw a face. Ask me to help you find the wind."

I sneak a peek behind me. The eyebrow telegraph is flashing fast. This guy is weird. He must see it, he must know what we are thinking. He keeps on talking. He says we will graduate knowing how to read and write because we'll spend a million hours learning how to read and write. (I could argue that point.)

Mr. Freeman: "Why not spend that time on art: painting, sculpting, charcoal, pastel, oils? Are words or numbers more important than images? Who decided this? Does algebra move you to tears?" (Hands raise, thinking he wants answers.) "Can the plural possessive express the feelings in your heart? If you don't learn art now, you will never learn to breathe!!!"

There is more. For someone who questions the value of words, he sure uses a lot of them. I tune out for a while and come back when he holds up a huge globe that is missing half of the Northern Hemisphere. "Can anyone tell me what this is?" he asks. "A globe?" ventures a voice in the back. Mr. Freeman rolls his eyes. "Was it an expensive sculpture that some kid dropped and he had to pay for it out of his own money or they didn't let him graduate?" asks another.

Mr. Freeman sighs. "No imagination. What are you, thirteen? Fourteen? You've already let them beat your creativity out of you! This is an old globe I used to let my daughters kick around my studio when it was too wet to play outside. One day Jenny put her foot right through Texas, and the United States crumbled into the sea. And voilà — an idea! This broken ball could be used to express such powerful visions — you could paint a picture of it with people fleeing from the hole, with a wet-muzzled dog chewing Alaska — the opportunities are endless. It's almost too much, but you are important enough to give it to."

Huh?

"You will each pick a piece of paper out of the globe." He walks around the room so we can pull red scraps from the center of the earth. "On the paper you will find one word, the name of an object. I hope you like it. You will spend the rest of the year learning how to turn that object into a piece of art. You will sculpt it. You will sketch it, papier-mâché it, carve it. If the computer teacher is talking to me this year, you can use the lab for computer-aided designs. But there's a catch — by the end of the year, you must figure out how to make your object say something, express an emotion, speak to every person who looks at it."

Some people groan. My stomach flutters. Can he really let us do this? It sounds like too much fun. He stops at my table. I plunge my hand into the bottom of the globe and fish out my paper. "Tree." Tree? It's too easy. I learned how to draw a tree in second grade. I reach in for another piece of paper. Mr. Freeman shakes his head. "Ah-ah-ah," he says. "You just chose your destiny, you can't change that."

He pulls a bucket of clay from under the pottery wheel, breaks off fist-sized balls, and tosses one to each of us. Then he turns up the radio and laughs. "Welcome to the journey."


ESPAÑOL

My Spanish teacher is going to try to get through the entire year without speaking English to us. This is both amusing and useful — makes it much easier to ignore her. She communicates through exaggerated gestures and playacting. It's like taking a class in charades. She says a sentence in Spanish and puts the back of her hand to her forehead. "You have a fever!" someone from class calls out. She shakes her head no, and repeats the gesture. "You feel faint!" No. She goes out to the hall, then bursts through the door, looking busy and distracted. She turns to us, acts surprised to see us, then does the bit with the back of the hand to the forehead. "You're lost!" "You're angry!" "You're in the wrong school!" "You're in the wrong country!" "You're on the wrong planet!"

She tries one more time and smacks herself so hard on the forehead she staggers a bit. Her forehead is as pink as her lipstick. The guesses continue. "You can't believe how many kids are in this class!" "You forgot how to speak Spanish!" "You have a migraine!" "You're going to have a migraine if we don't figure it out!"

In desperation, she writes a sentence in Spanish on the board: Me sorprende que estoy tan cansada hoy. No one knows what it says. We don't understand Spanish — that's why we're here. Finally, some brain gets out the Spanish — English dictionary. We spend the rest of the period trying to translate the sentence. When the bell rings, we have gotten as far as "To exhaust the day to surprise."


HOME. WORK.

I make it through the first two weeks of school without a nuclear meltdown. Heather from Ohio sits with me at lunch and calls to talk about English homework. She can talk for hours. All I have to do is prop the phone against my ear and "uhhuh" occasionally while I surf the cable. Rachel and every other person I've known for nine years continue to ignore me. I'm getting bumped a lot in the halls. A few times my books were accidentally ripped from my arms and pitched to the floor. I try not to dwell on it. It has to go away eventually.

At first, Mom was pretty good about preparing dinners in the morning and sticking them in the fridge, but I knew it would end. I come home to a note that says, "Pizza. 555-4892. Small tip this time." Clipped to the note is a twenty-dollar bill. My family has a good system. We communicate with notes on the kitchen counter. I write when I need school supplies or a ride to the mall. They write what time they'll be home from work and if I should thaw anything. What else is there to say?


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Copyright © 1999 Laurie Halse Anderson. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times bestselling author of books for kids of all ages--including Fever 1793, Chains, Twisted, and many others. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous national and state awards, as well as international recognition. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Anderson was honored with the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award given by the YALSA division of the American Library Association for her "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature."

Anderson was born in Potsdam, New York in 1961. Growing up, she loved reading and listening to family stories. She graduated from Georgetown University in 1984. Before becoming a full-time writer, she was freelance journalist, and then worked part-time at a bookstore to earn money while working on her fiction. Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in northern New York, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes.

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Speak 4.5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 2083 reviews.
1Katherine1 More than 1 year ago
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.
elena6375 More than 1 year ago
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
Book_Addicted More than 1 year ago
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.
Bam_bam More than 1 year ago
This book was actually pretty good... I HATE reading! It is also one of my worst subjects. But this book actually made me want to read it. The artist actually made it easy flowing. I didnt want to put it down i was cleaning the house and reading it at the same time. Anyways if you have any spare time on your hands you should read this book.
theokester More than 1 year ago
Speak is another book that I dove into knowing virtually nothing about it from the start. I knew it was in the "adolescent lit" category and that the narrator spent some time doing some artwork trying to express herself. I was not at all ready for the deeply emotional and heart wrenching story of the novel. This isn't by any means a piece of adolescent "fluff" like the flood of teen books flooding the market in recent years. Rather it is an intense exploration of a teenager struggling with alienation, self-worth, honesty and change. It's about the struggle she goes through in trying to find her voice in the midst of emotional turmoil. With very few exceptions, the main character, Melinda, has gone mute. She speaks only when silence is absolutely unavoidable and even then, her words don't speak her true thoughts. As the title implies, she spends the novel trying to find a way to speak her mind, to find her voice. This book masterfully explores the communication barriers between adolescents and their peers and the adults in their lives. This book was an easy read and a hard read at the same time. The author did an excellent job of pulling me into the mind of a high school "outcast" and all the emotional baggage that goes with it. In addition to an excellent portrayal of high school and the dramas that go with it, she also managed to effectively give our narrator struggles and trials that really pulled on my emotions and made everything all the more real. And she did so without making any of it feel cheap or contrived. The honesty is absolutely real, which can make it frightening. The author included a note on "censorship" in the back of my edition. I suspect there are parents and teachers who would not want their kids reading this book. To them, I would ask if they actually read the book. There is nothing objectionable in it...no language, no graphic references, nothing. On the contrary, this book serves as a great eye-opener to teenagers that they are not alone in their struggles and their feelings of alienation and separation. And to those going through even deeper struggles like Melinda in the book, this novel can provide hope that they can overcome. I would definitely recommend this book to teenagers, to parents, and to anybody who has survived high school.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Cherie_brooke More than 1 year ago
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.
CALEB_KELLER More than 1 year ago
i really enjoyed this book. It is definately one of my favorites i suggest this to many readers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
&ldquo;Speak&rdquo; 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&rsquo;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, &ldquo;When people don't express themselves, they die one piece at a time&rdquo;. 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&rsquo;t seem to stand up for what they feel. &ldquo;You have to know what you stand for, not just what you stand against.&rdquo;  I would greatly recommend this book to any teenager or young adult who wants to feel inspired. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I beleive that this book does infact relate to high school life, but yet it doesn't in fact relate to all the bad things that kids of this generation would do, most adults no what it was like for them, but to be the person who got picked on all the time is what makes a story completely different.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read Speak last summer. . . AMAZING!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book really touched me. It is really amazing
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book to gain more insight on how other teenage rape survivors felt and didn't find it in this book. This book was definately not a great as the reviews made it out to be. I would not recommend this book to anyone over 18, or to someone who was looking for insight as to what a teenage rape survivor really feels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I originally bought this book through the Teen People Book Club, and I couldn't wait to get it. The reviews were outstanding, as was the description, however, I was sort of disappointed when I finally finished it. To me, the book really had no plot, and really had nothing to do with the decriptions and summaries provided, the book went on and on about how horrible Melinda's Freshman year was, yet the author didn't use very many details, and the book sort of got boring, the ending was really BLAH like, as was most of the story.
MsPurple1999 More than 1 year ago
Speak In the novel Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, a young girl named Melinda Sordino was raped at a party where she was very intoxicated. She was not aware what was happening to her till the boy hurt her; physically, mentally, and emotionally. The entire time she was raped, Melinda could not speak. Not one scream did she make. From then on, she lost the ability to speak. Before the incident, Melinda was social and was friends with two girls, Rachel and Ivy. Rachel was the first to find out what happened at the party, but till then, Melinda had not spoken out about the rape. Andy Evans, an upcoming senior, was the boy who raped Melinda, when she was 13 years old. Since no one knew about the problem, Melinda was hated by everyone, even the teachers, because she called the police. She was now an outcast. Revoked by friends who&rsquo;ve shared fun summers with and secrets.  Her sophomore year, was encouraged by her art teacher, Mr.Freeman, who made Melinda chose an idea to sculpt. Melinda drew, out a broken geographical globe, a tree. She thought, &ldquo;that is easy&rdquo;. All year Melinda struggled to make a perfect tree. It never turned out the way she wanted it. Then, finally she was told that it doesn&rsquo;t have to be perfect, that she should express her pain, emotions, through the art. Then, on the last day of school Melinda finally produced the final task she had worked on all year, a disproportional tree, and her voice. I feel that the novel was very encouraging from the downward spiral she was having, and the encouragement from others as she struggled to speak the truth. I liked the honesty toward herself how she knew the right thing to do, but i disliked that she couldn&rsquo;t speak. If she had only had the comforting of her family, then maybe she would have broken out about to incident. Toward the end of the book, Melinda is attacked by the same boy that raped her. She did not stifle her voice then, that is why I like the book and think it should be read by young adults. It should be read, as like the Holocaust. Not the content, but for the reason: to never happen again.                 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing..... well writen for having the subject rape in it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Missus_G More than 1 year ago
I received this book as a gift from my younger brother and knew from the moment I saw the cover I would enjoy it. Every bit and piece of the story had me on the edge of my seat thinking if the girl would make friends, what would happen next, and what really happened. I especially liked the parts where they showed her inner psyche with her artistic abilities. You really will enjoy this story if you like a bit of mystery, a little craziness thrown in, and poetic justice. Then you can follow up after the book by watching the movie!
TAZIE More than 1 year ago
This a good book for middle school and high school students, parents and teachers. I know schools are making students read this book, but what about parents? I think parents should read this book so that when their kids are not acting normal, a red flag should come up. It's a good book to read, it's not a love story or anything like that. It's just about experiences that can happen to anyone in this life. If you have kids, or sisters, or neighbors, in the age of 5-21, then you should read this book, and get some knowledge on picking out points here and there that something is wrong with that kid.