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Speak: 10th Anniversary Edition by Laurie…
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Speak: 10th Anniversary Edition (edition 2009)

by Laurie Halse Anderson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,412620276 (4.13)1 / 341
Member:mirrani
Title:Speak: 10th Anniversary Edition
Authors:Laurie Halse Anderson
Info:Speak (2009), Edition: 10 Anv, Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Your library, Awards
Rating:*****
Tags:young adult, fiction, sexual abuse, National Book Award Finalist, Printz Honor, F

Work details

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

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English (614)  Italian (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All (618)
Showing 1-5 of 614 (next | show all)
Laurie Halse Anderson writes for children, teens and young adults, so I had not read her work before. SPEAK is apparently her best known book, and I can see why, and how today's teens might relate to it.

Melinda Sordino's freshman year at a Syracuse high school is a darkly moving narrative, told by Melinda herself, who has become nearly mute after being sexually assaulted at an end-of-summer party before she started ninth grade. Afraid to tell, she is "clanless," ostracized by all of her former friends. During an English unit studying Hawthorne, Melinda identifies with Hester Prynne -

"I wonder if Hester tried to say no. She's kind of quiet. We would get along. I can see us, living in the woods, her wearing that A, me with an S maybe, S for silent, for stupid, for scared. S for silly. For shame."

Formerly a bright and gifted girl, Melinda's grades drop like stones. She cuts classes, hides in a forgotten janitors' closet she decorates with her own tortured artwork and a Maya Angelou poster, discarded because an unnamed book of hers had been banned by the school - an obvious nod to Angelou's seminal autobiography of sexual abuse, I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS.

SPEAK is a sobering and revealing look inside the head of an adolescent girl who has been badly hurt and feels she has nowhere to turn. Her too-busy parents seem oblivious to her distress and pain. School officials are overworked and uncaring, except for one - her art teacher, Mr Freeman, senses something is terribly wrong, and tries to let Melinda know he's there if she wants to talk, to 'speak.'

This is a book meant for kids, for teenagers. But author Anderson obviously senses, or knows from experience, that adults may not be comfortable with its content, especially parents of teens. The book was first published in 1999, and has been extremely successful. In this 2011 edition, Anderson adds some comments on censorship that parents should read. In her comments she notes that -

"... we have a generation that has been exposed to unprecedented amounts of sexual behavior in the media and on the Internet. They see it, they talk about it, their hormones react, and a lot of kids wind up in painful situations."

Indeed. And that's what SPEAK is all about. One girl's achingly painful ordeal, and how she copes with it - or fails to. I know I was extremely moved by Melinda's story, and plan to pass the book along to a friend who has a daughter nearly Melinda's age. I will suggest the mother read it first. As for myself, as a septuagenarian, I'm grateful I am not raising children in these troubled times. But I will recommend this book highly to parents who are.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER ( )
1 vote TimBazzett | May 15, 2017 |
It does a good job of getting inside the head of a troubled teenager. ( )
  nx74defiant | Apr 7, 2017 |
Speak is a book that needed to be written. It's about a girl who has entered 9th grade is losing her voice, her trust and herself. Ms. Anderson handles a very difficult situation beautifully. The book is sweetly tender and poignant enough that it brought tears because you could feel the pain this girl goes through. While it's a tough situation to talk about it is worth the read and one I would recommend any parent read with their daughters - and then talk about it. ( )
  mmoj | Mar 2, 2017 |
Can't wait to go hear this author speak on the 18th. I loved her book Fever and really enjoyed this one as well. She really has amazing versatility to be able to write fabulous historical fiction as well as very realistic YA fiction. I wasn't thrilled with the end of the book though. It felt too contrived and far fetched. Most girls don't get the chance to defend themselves against their attackers a second time. But the first 1/4 of this book made up for any short comings. Great voice! ( )
  annabw | Feb 21, 2017 |
This was a tough read and I never would have heard of it had it not been an assignment for my kid. There's nothing particularly graphic in the book but being a witness to Mel's feelings of despair and solitude were painful. ( )
  amcheri | Jan 24, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 614 (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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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laurie Halse Andersonprimary authorall editionscalculated
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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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)

(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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