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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
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8,698None347 (4.13)1 / 281
abuse (80) art (126) bullying (51) cliques (38) coming of age (95) date rape (66) depression (221) drama (41) emotional problems (39) fiction (584) friendship (108) high school (392) novel (46) outcasts (97) own (38) peer pressure (67) Printz Honor (75) rape (678) read (108) realistic fiction (181) school (46) sexual abuse (62) silence (56) teen (190) teen fiction (40) to-read (93) YA (440) young adult (557) young adult fiction (117) young adult literature (59)

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Showing 1-5 of 517 (next | show all)
I was on-board with it for the first few chapters. A high schooler disaffected with life? Sign me up. But the story never starts. There are hints dropped here and there, but there's no concrete narrative. No real goal or obstacles for the protagonist. Just a lot of complaining and sarcasm. There's only so much vitriol I can read before I need a story or something.

And there's an element of painting with such a brush of perspective. Not every high schooler is as vapid and mean and stupid as the characters herein. It's like "Daria" the book, but played straight, which doesn't work.

Then I finished it and read about it, and apparently it's called a "problem novel" (a.k.a. social novel), which I went "this is a thing"? It's a book where a social problem is illustrated through the characters in the book, and it's not so much about the story but about the effects on the character. The story comes from the sociological theme, not the events or milieu.

So what I was complaining about in Speak speaks more about the mentality of the victim. It's not just general grumpiness, it's also about identity crisis. It's not about the character trying to solve a problem or wanting something. It's about illustrating what happened after the event. Like a denouement kinda thing. It makes me think that this may not be a novel I can judge as aesthetically as others I've read. ( )
  theWallflower | Apr 11, 2014 |
I'm not very big on YA literature, but read this on a recommendation. As it turns out, I couldn't put the book down and was found guilty of reading it way too late into the night on several weeknights. Loved the ending of the book, but the last chapter had something lacking. I can't put my finger on it. Don't let that keep you from reading this book, especially if you don't normally read YA. ( )
  elleayess | Mar 30, 2014 |
excellent book. A must read! ( )
  poetryfreak38 | Mar 21, 2014 |
Honestly, it took me a while to get into the author's style of writing but once I did, the book was quite good. I think this is an important book for late tweens/teens to read and will have my daughter read it when she enters 7th or 8th grade.

I was happy with the ending but would have liked to see a little more of the consequences that "IT" faced in the end. ( )
  jsamaha | Mar 14, 2014 |
Melinda, a high school freshman, stops speaking after she becomes a social outcast for calling 911 from a teen drinking party. She is too ashamed and afraid to reveal that she was raped at the party. It takes Melinda the school year to come to terms with the rape and gain courage to fight back. ( )
  WizardsofWorch | Feb 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 517 (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
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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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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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:34 -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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