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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson


by Laurie Halse Anderson

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9,333555319 (4.13)1 / 306

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English (551)  Italian (2)  French (1)  All languages (554)
Showing 1-5 of 551 (next | show all)
One can understand why this YA novel is both an award winner and the object of censorship. Story of a 13 year old girl dealing with trauma in her young life told from her point of view. I think this story can help people understand the problems and confusion young people face recovering from sexual assaults. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
This book is amazing in so many ways. I think my female students relate to this, insofar as the peer pressure, what life can be like if you stand up for what you believe, but also in not saying anything. I often recommend this to students, and it "speaks" to them in many different ways. Great book for discussions on bullying, rape, doing what is right, standing up for your friends. ( )
  Lynchd | Jul 20, 2015 |
I have heard a lot about this book and eventually decided I needed to read it. It is about Melinda Sordino (written in first person from her point of view, not my favorite style of writing) who called the police during an end-of-summer party, now that school is starting she is OUTCAST. Her friends won’t speak to her, even strangers hate her. Even before I read a spoiler about what happened at the party I had a pretty good idea and I was right. Even so you might find this review has a few spoilers.

Melinda decides the best way to survive is to stick to herself and keep quiet, living life inside her head. Unfortunately a teacher singles her out as a ‘trouble-maker’. She copes by sitting alone against the wall in lunch with the rest of the losers. She cuts classes, then starts cutting school, even though her old friends are not talking to her they are not mean girls, so Melinda cannot hate them. This makes things worse. She has trouble sleeping. Avoiding her parents is easy since they are decidedly un-involved in what is happening to their daughter, leaving notes and money for pizza if they are not going to be home. The only time they show any interest was when her grades started falling, even then they have no interest in why.

A short book, quick read but one that is very well written, Ms. Anderson has done a great job catching the thought patterns and speech patterns of teenagers. I have one complaint, I couldn’t understand how everyone knew she had called the police but no one knew why. Before I read the book I thought they must have heard why, if they knew she did, but didn’t believe her. I just re-read the part where Melinda is remembering the party, and it is explained. I do this sometimes, read books so fast I miss stuff. So it’s not a mystery and it now makes sense. Not that it bothered me horribly before, I still thought it was a good book. ( )
  BellaFoxx | Jul 11, 2015 |
This is a great YA novel that handles the delicate subject of date rape/acquaintance rape and the after- effects the protagonist experiences in a straightforward, honest manner. The internal dialogue and struggles the main character wrestles with as she tries to come to grips with what she's experienced and tries to give a voice to them to seek help are moving. The sentence fluency is phenomenal.
  Amyinalaska | Jul 10, 2015 |
Melinda Sordino is a student of Merryweather High School in Syracuse, New York. Right before her high school year is about to start there is a party where she calls the cops. But not only in this respect has this party been a lifechanger for Melinda. The protagonist of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak faces a life of rejection and hatred as soon as high school starts. She is ignored by her ex-friends, she is isolated in school as well as at home. Not knowing how to cope with what happened at the end-of-summer party Melinda does not speak anymore. She barely opens her mouth to say anything, even when she is asked a question. Her parents do not understand what she is going through as they have problems in their marriage and their own lives consume pretty much every second of their time. With no family life, no friends and only art to express herself, Melinda struggles through her first year of high school and eventually she breaks her silence.

The title of this novel was aptly chosen. Speaking about what happened at the end-of-summer party before high school is probably the hardest thing protagonist Melinda has ever had to do. Without speaking about it, however, she is not able to deal with the events at the party. She knows that it might help but at the same time is unable to talk about something so dark and terrifying which she only wants to forget. Her first year at high school makes her life only harder as her friends do not know why she does not speak, but only know that she called the police, which ended their party and made friends become ex-friends. If only they knew reason for Melinda calling the police. But that is exactly the root of the problem. The young girl finds herself caught in a vicious circle with apparently no way out.

What I liked about the novel is the imagery, especially the leitmotif of the tree, which is also represented on the cover. Melinda has to do an art project where she has to draw a tree. While she finds this way too easy at the beginning she slowly discovers how hard it actually is to draw a tree that really expresses something. Throughout the novel, the tree can be regarded as a symbol of Melinda's mood. There is the period where she is unable to express herself. Then there is a period where she just draws very dark pictures. The tree is a recurring theme in the novel. It is part of what happened at the party and then it is also part of the solution. When the tree in front of Melinda's house is trimmed so that it can heal and grow again, this reflects Melinda's situation. Needless to say, she speaks up in the end, of course. In that respect she can also start the healing process.

On the whole I thought the book was cleverly written and is a good novel for young adults. I read it with students, most of which would share my opinion. 4 stars. ( )
1 vote OscarWilde87 | Jun 22, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 551 (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 (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laurie Halse Andersonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Correa, María MercedesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Sandy Bernstein, who helped me find my voice, and to my husband Greg, who listens
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It is my first morning of high school.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0142407321, Paperback)

Since the beginning of the school year, high school freshman Melinda has found that it's been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud: "My throat is always sore, my lips raw.... Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze.... It's like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis." What could have caused Melinda to suddenly fall mute? Could it be due to the fact that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the seniors' big end-of-summer party? Or maybe it's because her parents' only form of communication is Post-It notes written on their way out the door to their nine-to-whenever jobs. While Melinda is bothered by these things, deep down she knows the real reason why she's been struck mute...

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). After reading Speak, it will be hard for any teen to look at the class scapegoat again without a measure of compassion and understanding for that person--who may be screaming beneath the silence. (Ages 13 and older) --Jennifer Hubert

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:32 -0400)

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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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Laurie Halse Anderson is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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