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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak (edition 1999)

by Laurie Halse Anderson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,010537332 (4.13)1 / 301
Authors:Laurie Halse Anderson
Info:Puffin (2006), Edition: 1, Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Read, Favorites, Connect, ['08 - '10]
Tags:young adult, teenage-life, diary, school, abuse, dark, read-2008

Work details

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson


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English (533)  Italian (2)  All languages (535)
Showing 1-5 of 533 (next | show all)
Good and bad. I don't know how to rate this. Amongst my GR friends this is Marmite -love it or hate, there is no in-between. I don't adore it but I don't loathe it either.

To begin with, I was bored to tears by the writing, of Melinda's life and Outcast status so I skimmed but I was curious as to how everything was going to play out with IT. IT is Andy Evans, Andy Beast, Andy the rapist.

Then little things got my attention: this girl's sense of humour (sarcastic, pessimistic and cynical), skipping school, blind teachers -this is going to sound contrived but there were some things about her and her life that reminded me of my high school self.

[b:Speak|954136|Speak|Laurie Halse Anderson|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51xgjCIctiL._SL75_.jpg|118521] isn't a normal everyday book, it's literature -there to be studied, to interpret the symbolism, to see the reflections of this and that and derive the lessons learned by reading it. In essence, it's a school book. And who liked school? Not me...but then my favourite subject was English Lit, I never missed a class so that probably makes me a freak for liking it on that level.

For example, Melinda fainting at the sight of the dead frog's hands and feet being splayed and pinned symbolised Melinda's rape, overwhelming her with the memory of that night.

Lesson: It's better out than in. Don't let it fester. Speak up. Stand up for yourself. You can survive.

I didn't always like the delivery of this message. Why is it always the art or English teacher making that connection with the student in need? Maybe it's got something to do with the expression of self. Still, it would've been different if it had been any other teacher, or person in general. However, I did like the script-like dialogue fashion Melinda's silence was displayed:

[Character]: [Asks question]
[Character]: [Makes comment]

Each character interprets her silence differently, usually in a way that benefits them and harms her.

David and Ivy were interesting supporting characters and potential BFFs for Melinda. David in particular was quite fascinating. I wish we'd seen more of them, and I'll grudgingly admit Mr. Freeman, the art teacher did good too. He wasn't too hard or too soft, or too creepy in his efforts to get Melinda to open up and express herself and her emotions in art and life.

The ending wasn't quite enough for me. After the very long build up, we see the turning point but not the consequences. I needed to witness everyone's reactions, whether positive ("I'm so sorry for how I've treated you") or negative ("You lying attention-seeking whore!"). What happened to Andy the rapist? Where does Melinda go from here?

After writing this, I think I know my rating: 2.5 stars. Melinda and her school life were well developed, perhaps a little too developed possibly overlooking other angles and characters in the process. ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
Fantastic. Well written. Presents a challenging topic with class and in a way that is not overbearing or too graphic. A must read for teens. ( )
  KatieEmilySmith | Sep 23, 2014 |
I know. A ton of people liked this book. I'm giving this crap a one star though.

I never did connect with this books main character. I finally was to the point where I didn't give a shit anymore when the big reveal came about why she was having so many problems. I felt somewhat sorry for her then but it still just didn't pull through enough for me.
( )
  bookqueenshelby | Sep 9, 2014 |
This book perfectly encompasses the emotions some teens go through after a traumatic experience. Not only should this book be read by every teenager who has experienced something similar to this, parents and educators should read it as well. Sometimes the "troublemaker" is just troubled by their past... ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 533 (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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:34 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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

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