Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Release Date: October 22nd, 1999
Number of Pages: 208
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: Andy Evans. He's a senior at Melinda's high school, and Melinda hasn't been able to speak clearly since the Incident with him at the senior party last August.
Laurie Halse Anderson's first novel is a stunning and sympathetic tribute to the teenage outcast. 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
This is one of those books you can really say anything bad about, because the rawness and truth ness of the story is enough to make it worth the read. It is one of these subjects that people are still afraid to speak of: Rape.
Through the book, we follow the struggling Melinda, who has lost everything in one night. Her friends have given up on her after she called the cops during a party, a party where she was raped. Yet, no one asked her why she called the cop. No one tried to get answers out of her.
It is a dark book. After all, rape isn’t an easy subject. I don’t think I can say much more, because this book for more wasn’t about style, wasn’t about writing; it was about the story. The story mattered more than the rest, because it was a voice for those like Melinda who went through something like that, without being able to speak up. It isn’t an easy thing to do, especially since many girls feel ashamed after it happened to them. This is why this book mattered.