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by Laurie Halse Anderson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,159667347 (4.11)1 / 357
A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school.
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(see all 21 recommendations)


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English (657)  Italian (3)  Spanish (2)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (664)
Showing 1-5 of 657 (next | show all)
I decided to read this after my teen daughter and I watched the movie together. (The movie is constructed differently, just as an FYI.)

Anderson is becoming known for her ability to tackle tough subjects for teens.This book definitely hooked my teen reader as a realistic portrayal of a high schooler who is raped at a party and spends a year struggling through her silence and fears about what happened. I found myself just as sucked in. I also used it as a springboard to discuss personal safety and how easy it can be to get in over your head with friends and suddenly find yourself in a dangerous situation. I didn't need to get too lecture-y because the book seemed to make enough of an impact.

The subject is handled with sensitivity and does not include graphic details, for any parents worried about that. The fact that Kristin Stewart (of Twilight fame) stars in the movie also is a selling point to many teen girls--and if that's a way to get them reading the book and reflecting on an important situation, okay.
( )
  jjpseattle | Aug 2, 2020 |
Excellent blend of humor and serious themes, with a compelling and engaging first-person narrator. ( )
  elenaj | Jul 31, 2020 |
Wow - this is such a well written but super intense story about a girl who is raped during the summer before freshman year & subsequently starts the school year as something of a loner & an outcast. As the year progresses she goes further & further into herself & her silence until she finds some ways to begin to name what happened to her. Even more relevant now in light of the #metoo revelations of the past year. I'm expecting the 20th anniversary re-issue may be a strong seller. ( )
  Rachael_SJSU | Jul 11, 2020 |
So I hands down loved this book from beginning to end. The subject matter is hard to get through though, but I thought the way the book was structured with the reveals coming was very well done.

The main character is Melinda Sordino. Prior to her freshman year in high school all we know is that Melinda had a great group of friends and she felt like she belonged. All of that changes in an instant at an end of the summer year party where she calls the cops. Overnight she becomes a social pariah and finds herself paralyzed in school and at home.

I loved Melinda. She actually felt like a real teenager to me throughout the course of this book. Her voice at times is lonely, sarcastic, funny, sad, and angry. I thought Ms. Anderson did a great job of the slow reveal of what happened to Melinda. I also loved how Melinda sees herself and others around her. She at times appears so much older than her age and apparently is a better read of others around her than she was prior to school starting.

Some of the other characters in this book honestly reminded me of some of my friends from high school. I think we have all known a Heather in our lives right? Desperately wants to fit in, tends to not do anything to rock the boat. I felt sad that is the only friend that Melinda had for almost her entire freshman year. I did love the character of David Petrakis and it gives me hope that eventually that Melinda and he will end up being great friends.

I do kind of want to give an F to Melinda's self involved parents. I would have tons of questions if my daughter who went around with an entourage until fairly recently has taken to not speaking and/or hiding in her room and seems to have a problem with biting her lips/nails to the point where scabs are all over. I think that Halse wrote them this way in order to showcase how sometimes parents can be blind to what is going on with their kids. Maybe because of the fact that I actually mentored pre-teens and teens up until about 8 years ago, I was taught to look for certain behavior and what it could mean. This is another reason why I gave the guidance counselor and principal a F as well. And heck let's throw one out there for the character of Mr. Freeman (Melinda's art teacher) who I think was probably the only adult that got that something had happened to Melinda or was going on with her that he could have shared with other school officials.

I loved the writing of the book and got a kick out of how Ms. Anderson broke it up into semesters like high school and also showing Melinda's falling grades (another big sign that everyone ignored) which coincided with her feeling lost and alone. The flow really worked with the book though it was not written in a structure that I would usually seek out.

I thought the setting of Syracuse, New York was actually not one that I have read about much in other books. Syracuse felt flat and lifeless and I am sure that was written that way to tie in more into Melinda's moods and thoughts.

The ending leaves so many questions and all I can hope is that Melinda keeps "speak"ing. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Maybe this is what high school was like. Perhaps I should try writing my own story and see what emerges from my memory. I just cringed through large portions of this narrative. Everything was horrible. Things improved towards the end. Symbolism? ( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 18, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 657 (next | show all)
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.
added by khuggard | editKirkus Reviews
In her YA fiction debut, Anderson perfectly captures the harsh conformity of high-school cliques and one teen's struggle to find acceptance from her peers. Melinda's sarcastic wit, honesty, and courage make her a memorable character whose ultimate triumph will inspire and empower readers.
added by khuggard | editBooklist, Debbie Carton
Anderson expresses the emotions and the struggles of teenagers perfectly. 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.
added by khuggard | editSchool Library Journal, Dina Sherman
But the book's overall gritty realism and Melinda's hard-won metamorphosis will leave readers touched and inspired.
added by khuggard | editPublishers Weekly
Laurie Halse Anderson's first novel is a stunning and sympathetic tribute to the teenage outcast. The triumphant ending, in which Melinda finds her voice, is cause for cheering (while many readers might also shed a tear or two).
added by khuggard | editAmazon.com, Jennifer Hubert

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laurie Halse Andersonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Abos, ElenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Correa, María MercedesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forsström, Ann MargretTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heesen, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kantele, Arja(KÄÄnt.)secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kollmann, BirgittÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morgenstern, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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To Sandy Bernstein, who helped me find my voice, and to my husband Greg, who listens
First words
It is my first morning of high school.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
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Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Book description
This book describes the struggle of a teenage girl to find her voice. You watch the character fall into depression, go mute, drop tremendously in school, and isolate herself from society. As if feeling unsafe in the world isn't enough, Melinda doesn't even feel safe in her own mind. And why? Maybe because all of her once best friends refuse to talk to her for busting an end of the summer party. Or perhaps it has something to do with the fact that her parents couldn't take less of an interest in her, and refuse to communicate as they get sucked into their workaholic lives. Deep down, Melinda Sordino knows the reason that her life has turned into a living hell. The only way to escape this whirlwind of torture is to speak, but that's not as easy as it may seem.
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Average: (4.11)
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