Sunday, October 27, 2013

Book Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

ISBN: 014131088X
Published: October 22nd, 1999
Publisher: Puffin
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.


Speak is one of those books that I've been hearing about for years, so I was extremely excited that we were reading it for my adolescent literature class. I saw the movie years ago, but I had more or less forgotten about it. The ending of the movie was what is still clearest in my mind, and it was only when I got toward the ending of the book that things started being familiar to me. Although, I'm not sure how faithful the movie is at all because of how fuzzy my memories of it are.

I think this is a brilliant book. I wish this was assigned reading in high school. It deals with a tough subject and it's hard to read at times, but it's also a very important subject. I don't want to say too much on it, since it's a spoiler for the book, but unfortunately, far too many people will have to struggle with this sort of thing in their life. That's why it is so important that books like Speak exist. I think Andy's character and even Rachel towards the end show why it is that this book is important. Far too many people think like that. Even Melinda questions what happened and whether or not it was "bad." People shouldn't think like that.

I thought Speak was an amazing book, not just for tackling a difficult subject but also because it did it well. Not even just the larger issue in the book, but high school as a whole was portrayed in a relatable way. Melinda is definitely on the pessimistic side (which I hardly blame her for), but I'm pretty sure anyone who's been in high school can relate to her comments on various things happening at school and how the other students interact with each other and her.

I highly recommend Speak to anyone. I especially think it's a great book for high schoolers to read. It's a tough subject, but it's something they need to be educated about.

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