Thomas's Reviews > Speak

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
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's review
Sep 04, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: five-stars, own-physical, 2nd-favorites, young-adult, realistic-fiction
Read in September, 2009

"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, to understand Melinda's unbreakable silence.

I just finished my second read through of the book, and I still loved it. I actually had to read this for school, which surprised me because of the subject matter. Anyway, "Speak" is a novel I think all teenagers should read. Melinda's voice, although cynical and outspoken, was dead-on and as a teenager I felt like I totally connected with her through the entire book. I also loved the "tree" symbolism in Melinda's art class, subtle enough to not be cliche but powerful enough to make me feel growth. Some YA authors don't really understand how cliques and stuff work nowadays, but Anderson hit the nail on the head, which made me like the book even more. I stayed up to midnight last night finishing this novel, and I'm sure you will to once you get a hold of this book.
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Quotes Thomas Liked

Laurie Halse Anderson
“When people don't express themselves, they die one piece at a time.”
Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

Laurie Halse Anderson
“You have to know what you stand for, not just what you stand against.”
Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

Reading Progress

09/04/2009 page 102
49.04% 1 comment

Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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message 1: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy Another great review!

Ralph I agree! You write awesome reviews. =)

Thomas Thanks guys :)

message 4: by Moonreader (new) - added it

I'm always a little wary of angsty teenage characters, but with such a glowing review, I think I must read this. Thank you!

Thomas Don't worry, Melinda is still a likeable character even through her angst. And ur welcome =)

message 6: by Moonreader (new) - added it

Good! I'll put it on my list.

Ralph I just picked this up at the library today. It's pretty good so far. =)

Laura I didn't like this book :[. But your review makes me want to read it again.

Thomas Everyone has their tastes, I know for some this was a difficult book to get through.

message 10: by Daeveon (new) - added it

Daeveon well I'm reading it in school and i don't get it

Thomas What don't you get? Perhaps you can ask your teacher for assistance?

Aeterna Nox I was a part of a teen book club the year this was released, and have loved it ever since then. I'm glad to see that it has gained enough recognition to be a part of academic curriculum. I knew at the time that this book was special, and watching it get awards and a place in classes alongside century old classics makes me proud to have believed in it since the beginning.

Thomas Yes! I agree completely, even though I only read it a couple of years ago. It deserves its place among classics like To Kill a Mockingbird and Romeo and Juliet, and even my English teacher wrote a research paper on it for her graduate class. It's truly a wonderful book.

Rhahmina This book is great especially because of how much meaning there is behind it it. The only thing that upsets me is the plot is so slow. Am I the only one who thinks this? We found out about the rape in the middle of the book and this whole book revolved around the rape with Andy Evans and her. That's the reason of her dramatic change and shift in growing up. However once we did find out, everyone was puzzled which I guess made me like the story more. I also love how indirect the author is. She never says the word rape or sex but leaves it to the readers to guess what's happened in this scene. She also never says who rapes her. Keep in mind I'm only in page 170 so they haven't stated it yet. However with context clues I assumed its Andy because she dislikes a lot of people however Andy she despises and can't even get close to. Her heart skips a beat and she warns all the girls not to go by him or else they will get hurt... Even the girls who hurt her. This represents the caring side of her which isn't clearly shown in the book. She's very upset with society and how unfair it is. She is being grudged for something she couldn't control. Imagine being young and just stranger taking your pants of a party and raping you? You're not even 13 yet, you're still young. The first thing to do is calling the cops. Who else can you trust? Everyone including her is drunk. She had no friends after she called the cops which made her feel lonely for the longest time. She had nobody to take to or share secrets. This book really portrays the realistic side of a teenager. We may not have gone through rape but we all felt alienation or isolation because of something at one point of our lifes.

Thomas Rhahmina, love your insightful analysis of Speak! I agree that Laurie Halse Anderson does a wonderful job of making Melinda's plight terrifying, but she also gives her an honest voice that connects with readers. I think that some may perceive the beginning of the book as "slow," just because Melinda's rapist robbed her of her agency and sense of self-efficacy for awhile, but she does grow as the book progresses. It's a reflective story, one that allows the voice of the protagonist to seep into your skin. Thank you for your amazing comment!

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