Saturday, April 3, 2010


Title: Speak
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: YA Fiction
Page Count: 198
Why I read it: sounded good
Grade: A

After Melinda goes through a traumatic and violent incident at a summer party, she calls the cops and becomes a social outcast. Her freshman year is a disaster. As time passes, she stops talking--except through her paintings in art class. Her healing process has just begun when her perpetrator attacks again. Only this time, she doesn't keep silent. 

My review:
When I checked this book out from the library, I honestly wasn't expecting a whole lot.  But this is one of those books that really brought out the emotion in me.  No, I can't relate to the main character.  My life hasn't been perfect, but I certainly never went through the things she went through.

And although I didn't really find Melinda likable, I'm fairly sure I wasn't supposed to.  Even so, I felt like the author did an incredible job writing this character.  The secondary characters were a little one-dimensional at times, but I think that too was purposeful on the part of the author.  I really felt like I was seeing the way things were through the eyes of a high school freshman.  Not necessarily any of the kids I knew when I was in high school, but I'm certain there were kids out there who felt like Melinda did.

I would highly recommend this to fans of YA lit, especially girls, and more especially young girls.  In fact, I'm having my daughter read it.  It's not a happy book, and at times it's hard to read, but I think it's a good one for young girls to read.  The only note of warning is that I read the 10th Anniversary Edition, and there was a short part at the beginning with little bits of what readers had wrote to the author, and it gave a little bit of a spoiler.  Probably anyone who has read reviews of this one already knew what was in the spoiler, but I didn't, and I'm not sure if it would have been more impactful had I not known what exactly caused Melinda to withdraw and become silent. 


Anonymous said...

Laurie Halse Anderson is a terrific author. Her other novels are great as well. I really enjoyed Speak. It's a very powerful novel.

Audrey; (AyC) said...

I love this book an insane amount, i thought Melinda's voice is one of the best in YA lit. One of my favourite books, and LHA is one of my favourite authors :)

LJK/WhatMissKelleyIsReading said...

I think it's great that you're having your daughter read Speak. Sometimes we try to shelter kids (I'm a teacher), but I think they can get a lot from reading books like Speak. If even one girl is helped by a book like this, then that's enough for me.

Anonymous said...

Laurie Halse Anderson is a superb writer, and she does tackle some fairly difficult subjects. I've read Speak and Wintergirls - liked them both a lot, though both were really depressing.

(I liked Wintergirls more than Speak.)

In Speak, it was jolting and somewhat unbelievable to me that, after such a long time, Melinda finally talked about what happened to her, and then poof, things seemed to be fine again. Other than that, it was great - but intensely depressing.

Michelle said...

This is one of those books that I just want to shove in every teenage girls' hands. I'm glad to hear you are having your daughter read it - if I had one, she would be too. It's just that important.