Sarah Brutsch's Reviews > Speak

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
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's review
Oct 17, 11

bookshelves: engl-420
Read in October, 2011

This was the book everyone talked about but few read while I was growing up. The story follows Melinda Sordino, a freshman in high school who is lost and depressed following a horrific event that occurred during the summer. I thought Laurie Halse Anderson nailed the narrative voice: Melinda is sarcastic, sardonic, and at times wishful, but so real that it's eerie. I was inside of her head the entire time, experiencing as she experienced. At times it was frustrating because she would react in a way different than I would have, but I was always compelled by her character. I grew to care about her. The pacing in the book is well done, and there's plenty of (often dark) humor that helped alleviate the dread and curiosity I had as I turned the pages, wondering what happened, and would happen, to Melinda. I think this is a must-read for teenagers everywhere, though I'd recommend it for upper grades (say 11th or 12th) because of the more mature themes it handles. It deals with a tough issue in a tasteful way, though I can see how it could be objectionable to some parents. A pity, because it's important to talk about real things, even if they make us uncomfortable. Speak is so true to life that it left me shaking my head and wondering how I ever survived high school.

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