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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak (edition 1999)

by Laurie Halse Anderson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,213547325 (4.13)1 / 302
Authors:Laurie Halse Anderson
Info:Puffin (2006), Edition: 1, Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Read, Favorites, Connect, ['08 - '12]
Tags:young adult, teenage-life, diary, school, abuse, dark, read-2008

Work details

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson


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English (543)  Italian (2)  French (1)  All languages (546)
Showing 1-5 of 543 (next | show all)

I too got a little exasperated, but the ending was worthwhile. I just have trouble understanding what caused the big cusp in the main character's development - she was hiding, and all of a sudden, it seemed to me, she just burst out. Maybe it was exactly that, a buildup of pressure until a (metaphoric) explosion. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
YALSA Outstanding Books for the College Bound. RGG: Important topic - rape, peer issues; presented in an appealing manner.
  rgruberhighschool | Apr 13, 2015 |
As a young adult, I vividly remember reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. After re-reading this novel, I realized that I really enjoy reading this book even more now that I can understand it better. I believe that the plot and characters are the most poignant aspect of this book. After being assaulted, the reader sees the aftermath of how this affected the main character Melinda. The plot is organized and paced well; the reader sees Melinda traumatized to the point where she doesn’t speak, to finally standing up to her attacker in the end. Melinda’s character is so believable; she is a normal pre-teen girl trying to navigate school as an outcast. Mainly, this book pushes readers to think about tough issues like assault and how it can affect someone emotionally, and physically. Because assault is so prominent in our society, young adults might read this and connect to Melinda. It also helps others who haven’t been in the situation to understand what exactly happens in these situations, and how to potentially help someone in that predicament. ( )
  ShakelaWilliams | Apr 6, 2015 |
Melinda’s parents don’t understand why her behavior has changed upon entering high school. A phone call that ended a party has left her with a bad reputation. No one knows about the trauma that led her to call the police. An inspiring art teacher prompts Melinda to finally express herself.

Laurie Halse Anderson provides a believable narrative of a girl who has retreated within herself after being raped. The transformative aspect of creating an art piece provides her with a means of facing her fears and coming to terms with the trauma. ( )
  thelittlestacks | Mar 27, 2015 |
This book is about a young girl named Melinda who had been raped the summer prior to her starting high school. She is silent about what has happened to her and is considered an outcast by most of those who attend the school. However, when the truth comes out about what really happen, she is revealed to be a sort of hero to others and finally tells her story to her art teacher, after being silent about it all.
Personal Reaction
I actually loved this book when I read it. I first read it in high school and was really impacted by Melinda’s character. I could sympathize with being quite or outcasted by others in high school, and I was also moved by the events and challenges she had to grow through. I absolutely loved the comparisons to The Scarlet Letter and Maya Angelou throughout the book.
1) In class I can use this as a prelude to talking about safety and making sure to talk to adults if something has happened to you or someone else.
2) I can have the class create their own trees as they see fit and explain why they created their specific trees.
  GSoto95 | Mar 25, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 543 (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
First words
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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