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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak (edition 2011)

by Laurie Halse Anderson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,092600282 (4.13)1 / 324
Authors:Laurie Halse Anderson
Info:Square Fish (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:LIS 722, YA, Realistic fiction, coming of age, parties, drinking, rape, art, communication

Work details

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson


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English (595)  Italian (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (599)
Showing 1-5 of 595 (next | show all)
I was 50 pages in when I remembered that I saw movie years ago starring Kristen Stewart as Melinda. (Good movie by the way.) This is about one of those socially awkward high school experiences where a girl is teased and hated because she called the cops to break up an underage drinking party. Nobody bothered to ask her why and she had a very good reason. (Don't worry, no spoilers here.) Nice storytelling with interesting characters. It's another good YA book that you can read in a day. ( )
  Jenny_Baker | Sep 28, 2016 |
Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

This is another great book by Laurie Halse Anderson. The books she has written remind me of Torey L. Hayden’s books. The difference is that Hayden’s books the main character is a specialist in helping children with emotional and physical issues and Anderson’s main character needs help from someone who has a hard time reaching out. Some of Anderson’s books are emotionally disturbing to read because she is descriptively accurate with the subject matter where Hayden’s are sometimes emotional but written to understand the basic of the issue.

In this novel Anderson’s main character is Melinda, a teen age girl who is raped on the senior’s prom night by a well known high school athletic who was every girl’s dream boy, Andy Evans. She did manage to call the police from the party and someone over heard her call but she left when they got there because she couldn’t face anyone, so she ran home. Melinda chose not to speak rather than standing up and telling what had happened to her. The police broke up the party because most of the students were drinking. Now, every one thought she called the police to put a stop to the party, so everyone was angry with her.

It was the end of the school year and she carried the trauma through the summer and had to face this guy again, and friends she no longer had, and the whispers in the hallways throughout the school the following school year. Anderson wrote and touches on about every topic that was connected to this issue. She wrote about diversity, rape, it being the girl’s fault, PTSD, parental and familial issues, good and bad teachers, bullying, seclusion, depression, and many emotional problems that teenagers go through.

The story unfolds when the new school year begins. Although, no one would talk to Melinda she did manage to befriend a new girl named Heather who was pretty, energetic, a happy person and outgoing. It didn’t take long that Heather started to get bored with Melinda‘s quiet demure, negative attitude, and depressed moments. Heather went up to Melinda at school and told her that when she can escape form the “depressed” phase they could potentially be friends again. However, Heather wanted to hang around the chic girl’s and join their group. It was heartbreaking to read about how Melinda was treated.

Throughout the story Melinda begins to speak less and less, her grades were dropping, she cared less about herself, and she started skipping classes. Melinda was at rock bottom to where her parents weren’t helping her by criticizing and degrading her. Melinda needed help to crawl out of the black hole she was in….Laurie Halse Anderson takes the reader through Melinda’s healing process to when she finally decides to speak…. ( )
  Juan-banjo | Sep 28, 2016 |

I cannot express in words how amazing this book is! You really feel like you know every character. Anderson makes high school so horrifyingly vivid! A author with good observation skills and the power to dig up old memories is a good author indeed! I know I am not giving you much of a summary but you can read the back of the book for that! This book deserves every bit if its many praises and awards. Very insightful, and it gives you a lot to think about... Anderson is an artist! ( )
  Emily_Anne | Aug 8, 2016 |
Much better than the movie that was made with Kristen Stewart. ( )
  lotoflivinglefttodo | Jul 21, 2016 |
4.5 stars

When I first started reading it and noticed the abbreviated, choppy style, I thought oh no at first, not one like Girl, Interrupted! Thankfully it's clear soon enough it's not like that and the writing is actually poetically quaint and beautiful.

The protagonist is realistic and sweet but not sappy. Her life basically sucks and for good reason. I knew already what had happened, it wasn't a big surprise, and I don't think the author meant for it to be. Her parents were an intriguing case study in dysfunctional parenting, although they themselves were not abusive or necessarily bad parents, but a product of the times and motivated, self-centered work schedules. I dug how the author mainly focused on the school and gave each instructor a different personality that made sense and stands as the height of high school.

The symbolism with the speaking, and unable to speak, "snowball caught in the throat", and the art with the tree held heavy symbolism and great beauty. It reminds me of the small scene in her English Lit class where a classmate, her former friend, is arguing with the teacher that there is NO symbolism in Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter. The book which is rich in symbolism and art throws in this scene as an example, I believe, on blindness and people not looking deeper.

I also liked the inclusion of the closet and further broadening the hiding the protagonist felt she had to do, and how deep her angst ran without anything emo coming out of it. Her feelings and experiences were realistic and not glamorized. You feel for the character greatly and hope everything turns out okay for her in the end.

A highly recommended book and a good one for the age group especially. It's an important topic girls need to be aware of and watchful for, as well as a compassionate example of their friends or peers that may go through something similar. For a parental warning/rating, little is needed. Nothing is graphic and the flashback is not descriptive. ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 595 (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 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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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.

(summary from another edition)

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