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  • Speak
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on February 16, 2000
This book is definitely one of my favorites. It's so different from anything I have ever read, the style, the tone, and the way it was written. It was a compelling read from the beginning to the end.
The story is not written as your average outcast "popular people are stupid" cliche. It's an original. The tone is like Melinda is just relaying her thoughts and what she sees to the reader, rather than her feelings and rage and anger against the people that hurt her. Her character gets stronger as you read on, as she begins to stand up for herself.
I liked how the author didn't just tell you what had happened to Melinda in order for her to stay so silent - instead, bits of the incident unfolds as you read along.
I was caught up in Melinda's world, and even though I'm glad to say that I haven't been there and done that, it was easy to just recognize the pain, fear and confusion she went through just because the author doesn't say it right out.
Overall, an excellent read and I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to feel the triumph of "Speak".
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on May 1, 2006
Melinda Sordino, a student with good grades and great friends, has made some mistakes. At the end of a summer party she calls the cops, yet when they arrive she doesn't tell them anything. Back at school the next year, her friends won't speak to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her as the fink who wrecked everybody's party, and her grades start dropping. Her relationship with her parents deteriorates quickly. She becomes sullen, and withdrawn. However this picture is not the whole story.

Her parents know something is wrong but cannot get her to open up. Her only hope is her art teacher; he realizes something is very wrong and through the assignments he gives her tries to draw her out.

This is a story of a girl who is abused, and who doesn't know how to talk about it, but in keeping it inside she is self -destructing. Can Melinda find her voice and speak of her sorrow, or will her silence destroy her?
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on December 26, 1999
This book was amazingly well written. I received this book for Christmas('99) and finished it the next day. I didn't want to put it down. The characters are portrayed in a way that relate to teenagers like myself. The author confronts a fear most girls and women don't want to even think about, much less experience. The main chracter, Melinda, spoke in a way that makes the reader understand the pain and fear that took control of her, keeping her from saying what needed to be said. This is one of the most touching books I have ever read. It inspires one to face their fears and move on.
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VINE VOICEon July 28, 2003
All Teens should read this book. Peer pressure does a lot of bad things, one of those things is convincing victims to feel like they have done something wrong.
Speak is a fast-paced read that involves the reader emotionally from the very start. Speak is an accurate portrayal of the very common existence of high school cruelty and peer pressure. Every reader should identify with most of what happens in this novel, no matter what their age.
You will get mad at the good characters as well as the bad. I found myself talking out loud to the characters, which is why I know the book involves you.
Speak passes my Young Adult novel test. The book allows you to read without wanting to put it down, and it flows straight to ending. Laurie Halse Anderson has written a book that will be around for a very long time.
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on July 30, 2009
As a black male in my late 20's, I didnt think I would get as interested as I did in the novel. I'm a Librarian and I always see the book being checked-out or returend to the branch so I picked it up...WHOA!!!

From the beginning I was intrigued by the main character, Melinda. She has a voice that is forgotten in the literary world. It remineded me of "Catcher in the Rye". The settings and chracters take you back to a time when High School was all that mattered.

I recommend the novel strongly. It's a quick/easy read and by the end of the novel, your cheering for Melinda.

PS. I gave the book for my wife to read and she got the "secret" right away...is this a woman's intuition???
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on August 16, 2000
Speak is one of the best teen novels that I've read in a long time. Anderson didn't merely tell a story, she let the reader inside the mind of the heroine. Descriptive language and active monologue allowed me to actually feel the torment and confusion of a young rape victim. Melinda ended her freshman summer with a party at which she was raped by a popular senior. Her call for help was misconstrued as a call to break up the party, and she spent her entire freshman year as a social outcast; even her closest friends turned their backs on Melinda for breaking up the party. She became increasingly withdrawn until she almost completly stopped talking. Only a special teacher and a few somewhat confidants kept her from totally withdrawing into herself. Even so, no one besides IT(her term for her attacker) knew what actually happeded at that party. But as she matures, she comes to realize that what happened to her wasn't her fault, and that it was her right to SPEAK. I totally reccomend this book to anyone in need of a good story and a good cheering session. YEAH!
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on July 6, 1999
WOW. I loved this book. Melinda, a high school freshman, was raped by a popular jock at a party and called the police - but her friends (and the rest of the school) think it was just to bust up the party. Melinda spends the school year lost in a daze - she can't tell anyone, the only person in school who likes her is the new girl, her parents are never there and don't seem to like her or each other very much, and her teachers think she just has a bad attitude. Her only solace is art class, which becomes the catalyst for her telling the truth. I found myself mesmerized at the end of the book (dramatic scene involving Melinda and the rapist) and really found myself caring about this girl. Can't wait to see if Ms. Anderson writes more young adut novels.
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on May 10, 2006
Melinda Sordino, a student with good grades and great friends, has made some mistakes. At the end of a summer party she calls the cops, yet when they arrive she doesn't tell them anything. Back at school the next year, her friends won't speak to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her as the fink who wrecked everybody's party, and her grades start dropping. Her relationship with her parents deteriorates quickly. She becomes sullen, and withdrawn. However this picture is not the whole story.

Her parents know something is wrong but cannot get her to open up. Her only hope is her art teacher; he realizes something is very wrong and through the assignments he gives her tries to draw her out.

This is a story of a girl who is abused, and who doesn't know how to talk about it, but in keeping it inside she is self -destructing. Can Melinda find her voice and speak of her sorrow, or will her silence destroy her?
0Comment|35 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 18, 2000
Melinda begins her high school career a complete outcast, alienated from even her best friends. Because of a traumatic event that occured over the summer, she is unable to express herself, or even to explain herself, to those who harrass and dislike her. As the book progresses, we are allowed inside Melinda's mind as she tries to cope with the tragedy, as well as the subsequent fallout. This book gives an honest and realistic view of high school and the pettiness and ugliness that exists there. And I couldn't help but identify with Melinda as a misunderstood outcast. As for the other review which asked why Melinda couldn't just speak to her friends about what happened, I ask this person to consider the pain and humiliation that one would feel after being violated this way. 15- year old children (or teenagers, I should say) do not necessarily have the coping mechanisms to deal with this kind of thing. Luckily, Melinda realizes her voice, and finds the strength to overcome her status as an outcast. She is a heroine worthy of our praise. Adults and teens alike should read this book. As for those who may say the topic is too "adult" for teens, I say you have no idea what being a teen ager these days is really like.
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VINE VOICEon September 4, 2010
It's so difficult to do a review justice where most everything alludes to or gives away an essential part of the story that each reader should experience for themselves. All I can say is that this book is a *must* read.

Anderson has crafted such a difficult journey for Melinda, actually such difficult journeys, that it's almost impossible to be unfeeling towards her. Despite the fact that the reader isn't fully aware of all of the circumstances behind Melinda's sudden outcast status, we are able to draw the conclusion that whatever it was that happened was something extremely traumatic. It would have to be to remove her will to communicate.

Virtually friendless, doing poorly in school and at a point where her relationship with her parents begins to progress to all out failure Melinda embraces one part of her life -- art. It is through the power of artistic immersion and expression that she begins to come to terms with the events of her life. Slowly but surely we are brought to the ultimate place of recognition where the answers are shown to the major questions in this story.

Anderson has written an extremely thoughtful story portraying a great deal of emotion. Anxiety, depression, and fear all claw at Melinda at various times throughout. However, through it all she shows a quiet perseverance. He inner monolog is both insightful and entertaining -- Melinda has a quick wit and sarcastic humor. Her inner thoughts are, at times, just the break we need from the heavier more depressing issues she's facing.

Despite being unable to reveal any real insight into major points of the story one thing I can give you is encouragement. I think Speak is a fabulous read that lovers of fiction (despite genre preference) should grab hold of. There is great beauty in Melinda's strength and a great many lessons to be learned for us all.
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