Book Review: Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson

speak_coverHigh school should be one of the greatest experiences in freshman Melinda’s life, but instead it is twisted into a horrible nightmare as one secret rips her life apart. One party was turned into a complete disaster when she called the cops. However, there may be more than is seen on the surface.

Melinda finds herself rejected by her classmates and former friends, closed off from her parents, and unable to reveal the truth behind a trauma that has left her private and social life in ruins. As she faces more and more pain and harassment from school, she becomes increasingly isolated and soon refuses to talk at all. Melinda slowly loses touch with those around her, building walls around her to protect from the shame of what happened on that one fateful night. The safest place for her to be is her own head. But where can you run to escape from yourself?

Through her art class she finds some solace, and it is from an art project that she finally finds the  strength to face what really happened at that party– and this time Melinda fights back and refuses to be silent.

In this powerful Printz Honor novel, a realistic, believable heroine delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school with her ironic bitterness, and finally speaks up about her pain. She speaks for any teenager that feels like an outcast while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself

Warning: This book may not be appropriate for children 12 and under due to mature content.

-Julia D., 9th grade

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