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Speak Paperback – May 10, 2011
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In a stunning first novel, Anderson uses keen observations and vivid imagery to pull readers into the head of an isolated teenager. Divided into the four marking periods of an academic year, the novel, narrated by Melinda Sordino, begins on her first day as a high school freshman. No one will sit with Melinda on the bus. At school, students call her names and harass her; her best friends from junior high scatter to different cliques and abandon her. Yet Anderson infuses the narrative with a wit that sustains the heroine through her pain and holds readers' empathy. A girl at a school pep rally offers an explanation of the heroine's pariah status when she confronts Melinda about calling the police at a summer party, resulting in several arrests. But readers do not learn why Melinda made the call until much later: a popular senior raped her that night and, because of her trauma, she barely speaks at all. Only through her work in art class, and with the support of a compassionate teacher there, does she begin to reach out to others and eventually find her voice. Through the first-person narration, the author makes Melinda's pain palpable: "I stand in the center aisle of the auditorium, a wounded zebra in a National Geographic special." Though the symbolism is sometimes heavy-handed, it is effective. The ending, in which her attacker comes after her once more, is the only part of the plot that feels forced. But the book's overall gritty realism and Melinda's hard-won metamorphosis will leave readers touched and inspired. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The beauty of this novel is that it could have survived alone without the much more sinister story behind it. But, that said, it also served as a very sad and moving voice for rape victims, particularly the vast amounts who feel at fault or scared or embarrassed by what happened. It was a quick, easy teen read but it's also the kind that plays on your mind repeatedly after finishing it.
I hope my review has been helpful to you. It encourages me to continue writing and updating my reviews. Please leave a comment if you have any questions, I will be more than happy to answer if I can be of help.
This book was amazing. This girl finds her voice again, literally, after something traumatic happened to her. (being raped). She stops speaking for a while. The majority of the book takes place in Melinda's freshman year of high school. She calls the cops at an 8th grade party after she was raped by a guy. The majority of her freshman year, she is hated by her peers. She escapes everything through her art and she bonds with her art teacher, Mr. Freeman. This is where she starts to find her voice. Through this, Melinda accepts what happened, starts to face her problems, and find her voice. This book will touch a lot of people. Especially victims of rape and rape survivors. If this book doesn't hit you in any way, you are HEARTLESS. I'll just leave it at that.
Speak is about a High School freshman named Melinda, a bad thing happens before her first year and she finds herself traumatized, alone and hiding a secret because of the fear of what happened.
I love watching Melinda grow throughout the book, moving from scared child to brave young woman who finally lets the truth be known to the world.
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