Young Adult Book Reading Challenges discussion

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message 1: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
Now that you have finished the book what do you think? Did you like it or hate it? Why? Would you recommend it to other young adults?

Anna I liked the book--I am rereading it and I noticed that her letter she talked about not wanting to write the book because of reliving the agonies of adolescence. I think the book provides a good launching point for discussions with teens regarding rape and depression. The characters seem to me to be an accurate reflection of teens and teachers. My middle schooler read the book--I haven't heard of incidents this year, but her school has had incidents of pressure oral sex in the past so I thought it would be a good mechanism to introduce the subject of rape.

Diana  (higura_natume) | 30 comments i loved her opinions on high school, because you can't get more honest than that.

but i do remember when i heard of 'it' i was like,
"What, did he rape you or something?"
i must've known in the back of my mind...

i liked it and the final scene where she finally gets control over herself was touching

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) I loved the book. I do wish I hadn't seen the movie first though as I knew what was coming. I can't stress how happy I was to get the paperback Platinum Edition because there's a wonderful 9 page interview with the author at the end of the book that made me like the author even more. I though the author (and Melinda) were perceptive and hilarious. Had to post here before I rate and review. Great book and great selection for this book club.

Amber | 34 comments This was an o.k. book. It show what high school can really be like. When I was reading this book I figured out that they made it into a movie titled the same. Speak was made into a movie a few years ago. The movie isn't bad. I did like the book better, I normally read the book then watch the movie.

Heather Blackmon (hblackmon) I love the way this book was written, it was so conversational. I really felt like I was inside Melinda's head, which made it very easy to identify with her and feel her emotions.

It's a very tough topic to address, but this book handles it very well. I would agree that it's a great book for students to read - a launching pad for discussions about rape that might otherwise be ignored.

Elaine (readingrat) | 24 comments I started off a little annoyed with Melinda, but then as the story started to unfold and we started to get to see more of Melinda's motivation I really found myself getting into the story. I really ended up liking it.

Vicki Elaine, I am curious about what annoyed you? I know I was a bit impatient about her not saying something at first, it kind of reminded me of how I felt when I read Sarah Dessen's Dreamland. I really wanted her to get herself out of the situation she was in to the point I wanted to hit her.

Elaine (readingrat) | 24 comments Her whole attitude really bugged me at first. Before I found out what she was dealing with, I was just getting annoyed that she was blowing off school and not making much of an effort with Heather, the only person apparently willing to even talk to her. Then when I began to realize that Melinda was actually clinically depressed, her actions (or more accurately - her inaction) made a lot more sense and I felt a lot more sympathy for her.

Diana  (higura_natume) | 30 comments i remember when she mentioned andy my first thought was:
What? Did he rape you or something?

I was right...

Jenny (jennycjensen) | 5 comments I really enjoyed reading this book, I found it to be very realistic in regards to the dynamics of high school students. Since I had seen the movie I did know that Melinda was raped, but I really thought that the author captured Melinda's shame, denial, and confusion towards what happened. Even though this book is probably seen as controversial, I think it's an excellent read and helps make the topic of rape something that people can be more comfortable talking about. It's definitely not a topic that should be swept under the rug and not talked about, teenagers need to know that acts like these are not the victim's fault and it's ok to speak up about it.
My mom was able to meet the author and got me a signed copy. In it the author wrote, "I hope you're never afraid to speak up" What a powerful message.

message 12: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 3 comments Hi Everyone,
I work at Penguin, one of Laurie's publishers, and I love that there's such a robust discussion going on about her books, especially Speak. 2009 marks the 10th Anniversary of it's publication, so it's great timing that you are all discussing it. Her new book, Wintergirls, is coming out in March, and she considers it her darkest and most emotional since Speak. I have a few advanced readers copies that I'd be happy to give to those who want one. Please direct message me here though GoodReads or email me at and I'd be happy to send one along - while supplies last, that is!

Thanks and happy reading!

Winna (winnaefendi) | 16 comments Wow I'm interested in Wintergirls.

Speak is an interesting read for me. I've always loved young adult books and this one has a rather different writing style and approach than other books.

It's not the best I have ever read (I prefer Sarah Dessen's books for similar topics), but it's a nice read.

I'd love to see the movie.

message 14: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
I really enjoyed this book. I can only hope that Melinda does not become friends with some of her old friends who decided at the end of the book to be friends with her just because she was back to normal. It is awful too this all happened before high school started. Freshman year is hard enough as it is.

I love how she had a little room all to herself at school. Most kids end up using the bathroom to hang out in if at all possible. And the lunch room is the worst. I wish more schools would let their students have open campus lunch. Why do teens have to be stuck in the lunch room. If there was open campus lunch they could at least find a place to sit and eat even if it is in their car all by themselves. The worst is to try to find a place to sit in the cafeteria!

I am curious why she felt she couldn't tell her parents? Because of her parents or because she just didn't want to make a big deal out of it and be embarrassed. I think her parents just didn't seem like good parents and that is what lead her to not confiding in them.

I remember two rape stories in high school... and I remember in both situations the girl always seemed to be at fault in the class body's mind. Which is a shame.

message 15: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
Thanks Lisa for stopping by and offering the book to the members of this group!

Brookie | 17 comments I'm reading through everyone's comments, and it surprises me that everyone didn't already figure that the girl got raped...before they picked up the book. I guess for me, the excerpt on the back (I don't think it's called excerpt, but the writing on the back of the book) kind of gave it away for me. It's one of the reasons I picked the book up.

Anyways, in the end, I wasn't a huge fan of the book. It didn't impress me. Melinda was really boring to me.

message 17: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
I never read the excerpts before reading a book. I love to be completely surprised when reading a book. That is also why I hate to see a movie before reading a book.

Julia | 432 comments I taught this book a few years ago alongside Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. They became a unit, though that wasn't the design, they have some similar themes and both have been challenged/ banned.

message 19: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 19, 2013 10:11PM) (new)

I thought the book was okay and is a must-read for young adults because of the areas of adolescence it discusses.

message 20: by Dee (new) - added it

Dee I read this book I long time ago. Laurie Halse Anderson is from my area, so she came to my middle school to do a presentation and talk to us about her craft. She is awesome! I think this book is important because of the themes and how a terrible situation like this can affect a person. I hated her ex-best friends because of how terrible they made her feel.

message 21: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
Deanna wrote: "I read this book I long time ago. Laurie Halse Anderson is from my area, so she came to my middle school to do a presentation and talk to us about her craft. She is awesome! I think this book is im..."
How fun that she came to your school... I didn't know she did that. It should gets teens interested in books and the hot topics her books bring up.

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Young Adult Book Reading Challenges

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