Speak
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Speak

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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  238,517 ratings  ·  12,776 reviews
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 bl...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Puffin (first published October 22nd 1999)
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The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingTwilight by Stephenie MeyerThe Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanThe Giver by Lois Lowry
Best Young Adult Books
24th out of 9,535 books — 56,026 voters
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay AsherThe Fault in Our Stars by John GreenThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskySpeak by Laurie Halse AndersonLooking for Alaska by John Green
Best Teen Books About Real Problems
4th out of 1,653 books — 9,339 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Madeline
"THE FIRST TEN LIES THEY TELL YOU IN HIGH SCHOOL
1. We are here to help you.
2. You will have enough time to get to your class before the bell rings.
3. The dress code will be enforced.
4. No smoking is allowed on school grounds.
5. Our football team will win the championship this year.
6. We expect more of you here.
7. Guidance counselors are always available to listen.
8. Your schedule was created with your needs in mind.
9. Your locker combination is private.
10. These will be the years you will look b...more
Veronica Roth
Much has been said about how important this book is for teens, particularly those who have experienced what Melinda experiences, and I agree with that. But what I was surprised to discover as I read it was that I really enjoyed it, apart from its "message". It did not beat me over the head with its depressing-ness--it was understated, not unbearable. Likewise, even the message wasn't heavy-handed. Melinda's voice is rich, authentic, and often funny. Despite its tendency toward description and in...more
Cara
Once I finished reading the last word I knew I was going to reread it. Yes that profound.

Honest. Authentic. Real. Use all those words and their synonyms and you have this book. I literally wanted to hop into the sea of words and tell Melinda Sordino " I'll be your friend! Don't despair !" Alas I couldn't do that though. I had to see her struggle. It's painful but since I watched the movie (which was done well by the way) first before reading the book I knew where she was coming from. Melinda's...more
Jessica Abarquez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laurie
Mar 08, 2008 Laurie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
Just okay. I was particularly disappointed with the ending and felt that there was an element of glorification in this novel that I didn't appreciate. Let me explain:

Although I loved the fact that Melinda finally finds her voice and a way to express herself, I felt as if the story was wrapped up a little too quickly and too neatly. Let's be honest, that ending was more than a little unrealistic. You can't simply put a pretty bow on the end of this novel, otherwise the entire tale becomes trite....more
Mary
Sep 08, 2007 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Get me a Delorean! I'm giving this book to myself and every girl I knew ten years ago!
Shelves: ya
Wow. I started reading this to entertain myself on a long subway ride home at 2 am, thinking I'd skim a bit and start reading it the next day. The next time I looked at the clock it was five in the morning and I was devouring the last lines of the novel. It is dangerously, fantastically gripping, not necessarily because the plot is so amazing, but because Anderson gets Melinda's voice so very, very right. Melinda is such a thoughtfully rendered portrait of a smart, funny, terribly depressed teen...more
Thomas
"Speak" is about Melinda Sordino, an angst-filled freshman who is hated by all of her "best friends" because she called the cops during the end of the summer senior party. Everyone got busted. Her parents aren't much help either, always fighting about what's best for Melinda and communicating through post-it notes on the refrigerator wall. These are only a few of the things that have Melinda depressed. When what really happened at the senior party is revealed, it will be easy, although painful,...more
Kat (Le Pauvre Cœur)

I honestly hate reading these kinds of books. They deal with teen issues and I think this is important, but I already know about these problems and I'd rather not read about them.
I know, that sounds stupid, and ignorant, and stubborn, but it's how I feel. When I open a book, I want to get lost in the pages of mirth, magic, and adventure. To get away from reality and enter a world of unknown.

Not high school.

These books are very important for teens (and everyone, for that matter) to read, becaus...more
Louize
Mar 09, 2011 Louize rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, especially parents
Recommended to Louize by: jzhunagev
"When people don't express themselves, they die one piece at a time."

Silence dominates Melinda Sordino’s freshman year in Merryweather High School. A recent traumatic experience that led to a very complicated misunderstanding sent a sudden collapse on her being. Aside from being completely mute in public, Melinda’s private and social life is in ruins. Slowly, she began to lose interest in everything, including her family and school. If possible, she also wants to lose the memory of that traumat...more
Emily May
Apr 14, 2011 Emily May rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teens
Shelves: young-adult, 2011

I didn't think I'd be so gripped by this book but the author captures the pains and troubles of everyday high school life with such honesty and emotion that I couldn't help recognise half the characters from my own high school days. There's Rachel, the ex best friend who's had a personality transplant over the summer... Heather, the temporary friend who's only waiting to be snapped up my a cooler clique... and, of course, the protagonist who doesn't quite fit in anywhere.

The beauty of this novel...more
Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
I know. A ton of people liked this book. I'm giving this crap a one star though.


I never did connect with this books main character. I finally was to the point where I didn't give a shit anymore when the big reveal came about why she was having so many problems. I felt somewhat sorry for her then but it still just didn't pull through enough for me.
karen
bleg. greg loooooved this book and said it made him wish he had written his own angst-books in high school, but i was a teenage girl and he wasnt, and this just didnt do it for me. its not poorly written at all, i just have never liked books that were about clique-y high schools because i couldnt relate to them at all. maybe i just went to a smaller, or a nicer, high school. but i can definitely see the value of this for a teen reader, and i really liked the authors note on censorship at the end...more
Mon
Maybe I'm being too cynical, and that the protagonist (I forgot her name already, so I'm just going to call her Jane) did go through something worth lamenting for 200 pages. But for God's sake just because your character is a silent withdrawn introvert doesn't mean your plot has to be the same, it's 150 pages of nothing then BAM! she speaks up! finds courage! The end!!!! LOOK MY HEART IS BLEEDING AND YOU CAN HEAR MY SCREAMS BECAUSE IM LITERALLY TALKING LIKE THIS!!!!! This has to be the worst psy...more
Tamora Pierce
I just re-read SPEAK for the first time since it came out, so you know I'd forgotten the details of the story. I remembered it being a harder read this time than it was the first time. I'm not sure if knowledge of the big reveal made the tension bigger for me this time, but I still have to say this is a smashing read.

Melinda called the cops on a wild end-of-summer party before she started ninth grade, and now she doesn't have a friend in the world except new girl Heather, who has plans for getti...more
Kwesi 章英狮
Feb 17, 2011 Kwesi 章英狮 rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kwesi 章英狮 by: Iyah
Before everything else, I don't have any idea that this award winning book really exist in the realm of books and another reason, is that I am a big fan of reading award winning literature for children and young adult that I never heard of Speak or Lauri Halse Anderson. But after I met a group of YA fanatic and a not-really-a-hater reader of this book, they discussed it while I'm listening to their reactions, good and bad comments and different interpretation of the book while I'm trying to focu...more
Priscilla
An amazing, and inspiring read!

Initial thoughts:
1. Melinda's voice is snarky, sarcastic, and cynical. I loved it! (I was conflicted about liking her voice because I didn't know if this was innate to Melinda's personality, or transformed after the party).
2. I really liked reading the day to day aspects of Melinda's school year. Great and different moments, from the sad and frustrating, to the fun and inspiring. Not overly dramatic.
3. Beautifully written. Heartfelt and emotional.
4. Loved the symbo...more
Greg
I really liked this book. Karen may disagree, and say that I didn't grow up as a teenage girl so I can't judge the accuracy of how this book is, but I can counter with this girl would never be judged Prom Queen, so Karen might be coming at a view of High School from a slightly different angle.

Now, as someone who went through roughly 27 months (this would be from November 1989 to January 1992) completely friendless (I am not exaggerating, I had no friends during this time, not even other loser f...more
Melissa Marr
This is, quite simply, one of the best YA books ever written.
jzhunagev
Nov 24, 2010 jzhunagev rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Recommended to jzhunagev by: the "Voice"
"Don't expect to make a difference unless you speak up for yourself."

Dare to Speak Up!
(A Book Review by Laurie Halse Andersen’s Speak)


"Where can you run to escape from yourself?"

That line taken from the song Dare You to Move by the band Switchfoot come to mind while I was reading Speak by Laurie Halse Andersen, more so when I completely got to know Melinda Sordino from its pages and the traumatic experience she’s been through.

There’s something that’s been bothering Melinda since the start of her...more
Ariel
This is a very powerful book: it deals with rape and depression in one of the most realistic and poignant ways I've read. I rated it 4.5.

The only reason I didn't give it a 5 was because I could not see myself in Melinda. I am very self-aware and I know that I would not have responded in any of the same ways that she did. This does not devalue any of the book though. I could still absolutely empathize with Melinda, I completely understood and appreciated her.

One of the things that I most enjoyed...more
Elizabeth
Bleak YA novel that tries to be a cautionary tale. Worse, it was assigned reading for our #1 in her Language Arts class. Students were asked to read this book for a bullying unit.

?

Um, this is not a story about bullying. It is about the injustice of RAPE (though it never addresses the particular damage of rape). Instead it is the story of a young girl who is so disconnected from everyone that she is unable to speak after being assaulted until her rapist targets her ex best friend. She tells no on...more
Maureen
Since the beginning of her freshman year, Melinda has been speaking less and less, to her parents, teachers, and to the friends who have abandoned her because she called the police at a party during the preceding summer. The silence represents the emotional paralysis she is suffering because of an unspeakable trauma she endured at that infamous party.This is an honest and real depiction of teen-age suffering, not only the physical pain caused by the trauma of a sexual molestation, but the emotio...more
Tatiana
Oct 11, 2009 Tatiana rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Tatiana by: Heather
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael
Just before the start of her freshman year, Melinda attended a party and ended up having to call the police. The police showed up, broke up the party and everyone there is mad at Melinda. She becomes an outcast, retreating into herself and becoming a shadow of her former self. The only connection she feels to the outside world is in her art class, where she's given the year-long project of creating art work around the theme of trees.

Of course, it's easy to figure out early on that something more...more
Heather
I honestly don't know how to do this book justice. I can certainly see how Anderson earned her stellar reputation. Speak is truly extraordinary and expertly done.

At the start of her Freshman year, Melinda finds herself a social pariah, having been dumped by all of her friends after attending a summer bash gone wrong, resulting in Melinda calling the cops and earning herself a leper status. While the events that occurred at the party remain a mystery until nearly the end of the story, Melinda's...more
Bonnie
Another on my list of Banned/Challenged books. And another book that I apparently failed to be given as a reading requirement when I was younger. And yes, I’m starting to feel like a broken record at this point. But at least I’m getting around to reading them! Better late than never.

Speak is a moving and heartbreaking tale about a young girl who is keeping a dark secret from everyone including her family. This kept secret cost her all of her friends who all hate her for what she did, yet she sti...more
Margaret Stohl

One of the greatest and most disturbing books I've ever read, YA or not.
Joyzi
Feb 15, 2011 Joyzi rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mature teenagers
Recommended to Joyzi by: Iyah, Jzhun and Kwesi
I'm warning you now, this review contains major spoilers

Our frog lies on her back. Waiting for a prince to come and princessify her with a smooch? I stand over her with my knife. Ms. Keen's voice fades to a mosquito whine. My throat closes off. It is hard to breathe. I put out my hand to steady myself against the table. David pins her froggy hands to the dissetion tray. He spreads her froggy legs and pins her froggy feet. I have to slice open her belly. She doesn't say a word. She is already dea
...more
Scarlet
Page 78:
Maybe I’ll be an artist if I grow up.

The first time I read this line, I knew there was something wrong with it, but I couldn’t put a finger on it. I read it again, it bugged me more, and it was quite a while before I figured out why.

Melinda says she’ll be an artist if she grows up, and not when she grows up.

*goosebumps*

And it’s exactly things like these – small evasive things with chilling implications – that make Speak such an incredibly powerful book.

Speak is the story of high schoole...more
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UPDATE!

Laurie's new YA novel, THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY, comes out in January!


(She is working on ASHES this very second.)

Back to our regularly scheduled biography...

Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous ALA and state awards. Two of her books, Spe...more
More about Laurie Halse Anderson...
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“THE FIRST TEN LIES THEY TELL YOU IN HIGH SCHOOL

1. We are here to help you.
2. You will have time to get to your class before the bell rings.
3. The dress code will be enforced.
4. No smoking is allowed on school grounds.
5. Our football team will win the championship this year.
6. We expect more of you here.
7. Guidance counselors are always available to listen.
8. Your schedule was created with you in mind.
9. Your locker combination is private.
10. These will be the years you look back on fondly.

TEN MORE LIES THEY TELL YOU IN HIGH SCHOOL

1. You will use algebra in your adult lives.
2. Driving to school is a privilege that can be taken away.
3. Students must stay on campus during lunch.
4. The new text books will arrive any day now.
5. Colleges care more about you than your SAT scores.
6. We are enforcing the dress code.
7. We will figure out how to turn off the heat soon.
8. Our bus drivers are highly trained professionals.
9. There is nothing wrong with summer school.
10. We want to hear what you have to say.”
6877 likes
“You have to know what you stand for, not just what you stand against.” 2864 likes
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