Speak

Speak

The first ten lies they tell you in high school."Speak up for yourself—we want to know what you have to say." From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let...

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Title:Speak
Author:Laurie Halse Anderson
Rating:

Speak Reviews

  • Cara

    Once I finished reading the last word I

    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 "

    !" 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

    Once I finished reading the last word I

    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 "

    !" 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 voice was so...normal. She wasn't there to make you like her or hate her. She just who she really was. I liked her immensely though and in real life think would have been friends with her. Her whole take on high school was hilarious and kind of scarily accurate. I totally love the character of David Petrakis. He would have been my hero in ninth grade. No joke.

    The cover fits the story like a glove. Not all book jackets can boast that, so let's give the jacket cover artist a round of applause!!! Ok I need stop raving about the cover so much but I couldn't help it. The visual person inside of me had to let it out.

    Melinda is never really described in detail of how she look likes, so you get the sense the author wanted to make her as relatable as possible, and that she is. We all might not have had to go through the same demons she has, but I know we all have felt alone and without help and that is what makes her the perfect narrator. The ending was done so utterly well I'm not sure I can say anything about it. I'd probably give it away if I try. Let's just say getting back at people is very rewarding.

    It is getting added to my all time favorites. If you like this book read

    . Not quite the same style but definitely the same feel.

  • 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

    "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 back on fondly."

    I'm trying to think of ways to go about describing this book, and I'm not really sure how to start. It's dark, depressing, terrifying, and amazing. Everyone should read it. You might hate it (and I'll get to you), but you must read it.

    The story starts with Melinda, the narrator, starting 9th grade. Everyone, even her old friends, won't talk to her. It's revealed that during the summer Melinda called the cops on a party and it got busted - a few people got arrested, and now everyone hates her. Something happened to Melinda at that party, something she hasn't told anyone about. She retreats into herself, withdrawing from school, her family, and any possibility of friendship. It isn't until the middle of the story that we learn what really happened at the party, but Anderson gives us a big fat hint in this scene where Melinda and her lab partner dissect a frog in biology class:

    "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's hard to breathe. I put out my hand to steady myself against the table. David pins her froggy hands to the dissection 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 dead. A scream starts in my gut - I can feel the cut, smell the dirt, leaves in my hair."

    Holy god. Remember what I said about the terrifying stuff?

    The main reason I loved this book is because I was very, very similar to Melinda in high school. Her attitude about school, her cynicism towards the whole "high school is the best time of your life" crap, her opinions about classes and teachers and the uselessness of guidance counselors...that was me. I kind of wished I could transport myself into the story, so Melinda and I could sneer at pep rallies together.

    And then I felt bad, because nothing bad happened to me in high school. Nothing like the stuff Melinda went through. She had a

    for being so withdrawn and unhappy and angry about everything. I didn't. It's sort of an unpleasant realization -

    I was okay with this eventually, but some people might not be. I can imagine someone criticizing this story for being too emo, or saying that Melinda was too much of a downer.

    (Okay, I didn't want to give away spoilers, but I can't talk about my next point without revealing some stuff. So, just to be clear...

    HERE BE SPOILERS, YOU'VE BEEN WARNED:)

    Then again, they could be like a certain reviewer YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE who wrote, and I quote, "I'm so sick of this [sic:] stories about girls who got raped and spend the entire book pitying themselves."

    *takes breath, counts to ten.*

    Apparently Laurie Halse Anderson gets this a lot. My edition of the book has an interview with her, and she said, "I have gotten one question repeatedly from young men. These are guys who liked the book, but they are honestly confused. They ask me why Melinda was so upset about being raped."

    I'm...they...why...what the

    . I think I need to go sit in a corner and do some yoga breaths, be back later.

    Read for: Social Justice in Young Adult Literature

  • V. PARENTAL GUIDANCE:  A Court of Wings and Ruin is NEW ADULT/EROTICA but Goodreads editors won't tell you

    The following review will touch upon serious topics and under the spoiler section I might hide TMI (too much information) tags. If you don't want to know about my own personal journey don't read because it might be umconfortable and triggering. I'll use strong language.

    I also want to point out that I read this book long ago and that I won't re-read for this review. I just want to discuss the following question(s) which I found in the review of one of my favorite Goodreads reviewers ever: my dear

    The following review will touch upon serious topics and under the spoiler section I might hide TMI (too much information) tags. If you don't want to know about my own personal journey don't read because it might be umconfortable and triggering. I'll use strong language.

    I also want to point out that I read this book long ago and that I won't re-read for this review. I just want to discuss the following question(s) which I found in the review of one of my favorite Goodreads reviewers ever: my dear

    BTW I recommend following her reviews.

    Meredith wrote this:

    I agree with Meredith 100%. I'll go even beyond that. I think this book along with any other book that deals with rape culture should be mandatory read in every high school of this messed-up planet. Even if parents might feel unconfortable with their kids reading this book, the sad reality is that rape is a crime that has no respect for the victims' age. Kids might be better prepared to deal with this crime if they get the right information.

    If you have been following my reviews you'll notice that lately I've been adding trigger warnings and explicit content warnings for YA books. That's because lately you can find almost the same amount of nudity, violence, sexuality, erotic content, and edgyness in YA books as you would find in New adult reads,even erotica books. I've been mentioning A court of mist and fury a lot because it's erotica book misllabed as Young adult by the greedy publishing company and their kirkus reviews minions. Paper princess by erotica authors Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick along with Sarah J Maas Empire of storms have been mentioned as well.

    Yet I won't add those kind of warnings for this review.

    I wouldn't try to get 13- 19 YO teens away of this book

    I dissaprove of anyone who wants to keep teens away from this book

    You'll wonder Why?

    Yes. This book isn't a fluffy happy reading, yet I remember enjoying Melinda Sordino's journey back when I was 16 YO. The author has a way with words, it was like Melinda was directly speaking to me, she was so relatable. This book didn't make me feel uncomfortable back when I read it, it was dark and gritty, but it was also a quick read and the quotes were to die for. I highlighted this book so much it became almost unreadable and I'm only sorry that I'm completely uncapable to read this book now after TMI

    I hate that word, but I hate it more when that thing is called "abuse" "violation" or any other term. Rape is an ugly world, sounds terrible it disgusts you as IT SHOULD. "Abuse", on the other hand, seems to elicit a less dramatic response.

    But guess what word is closer to what living that terrible experience is? The word rape conveys it better, at the very least it'll make people squirm uncomfortably. TMI ALERT

    That's what this book is about, and for such a dark topic, I think the author did a wonderful job using a beautiful prose, almost poetic, to talk about how SCARY rape is. She never went graphic with that. The movie is in my humble opinion, way much more explicit and visual, but the book wasn't explicit. Laurie Halse Anderson really wrote about the subject with enough delicacy to not scare the reader away, but still she managed to do it on a realistic way. TMI

    I know the topic of this book might scare some people away, but I highly recommend it, specially for high school readers. As long as this book is used to elicit discussions on rape culture and parents talk to their kids honestly this book should be mandatory reading. I repeat, there's much than just drama in this book, it's actually a quick read and enjoyable despite the dark topic. Unlike A court of mist and fury the purpose of this book isn't to portray erotic scenes or sexual content because again, sexuality and rape are opposite concepts. This book conveys a powerful message that can help teenagers who are living in violent places. I'll repeat, maybe parents and children can read this together so that the parents can convey their values and their own views on consent.

    Consider letting Melinda Sordino story enter your life. I did, and it was like a light at the end of a dark tunnel, it might sound cheesy, but that's the truth.

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  • Emma Giordano

    4.5 stars! I think this is a really powerful novel that should be read by so many, especially teens.

    is a fascinating tale of learning to use your voice when you previously believed it did not matter. The message is one I think all can benefit from and I’m so glad I finally read it.

    Laurie Halse Anderson is a fabulous writer. She has a very distinctive writing style; It’s an unfiltered stream of consciousness that feels so real. I previously read

    and found t

    4.5 stars! I think this is a really powerful novel that should be read by so many, especially teens.

    is a fascinating tale of learning to use your voice when you previously believed it did not matter. The message is one I think all can benefit from and I’m so glad I finally read it.

    Laurie Halse Anderson is a fabulous writer. She has a very distinctive writing style; It’s an unfiltered stream of consciousness that feels so real. I previously read

    and found them to be written very similarly. Melinda’s narration is authentic and raw – she’s not here to make you love her or hate here, she’s here to tell her story as is. Her humor is dry and loveable which creates an interesting dynamic with the rest of her character.

    I will say, there really isn’t a plot, which is usually a letdown for me. The entire book is essentially Melissa navigating her freshman year with a heavy weight on her shoulders and few people in her company. There is definitely a large amount of character development which was executed well and I understand that is the intention of the story, so I’m not going to complain that it didn’t feed into my reading preferences. The novel didn’t need a large plot because the story is of personal growth and strength, not high school drama or romance.

    I will say, the ending felt a little abrupt. I would have loved even just an epilogue to have a more concrete ending (and justice), though many people in Melinda’s situation do not get closure, so maybe that was the author’s intent.

    What’s interesting is that this book was always described to me as a revolutionary story about sexual assault, but I only found out in the middle of reading that this aspect of the story is not commonly known before reading? Apparently, the point of the story is to find out WHY Melinda cannot speak, though I went into this story already knowing the reason. I definitely don’t think my knowledge of the events of this story affected my reading experience at all. If anything, I think I got more out of the story because I was able to read into details as they were being revealed instead of having to decode them later. I really wish the content of this story was more widespread (though I do seem to be a little late in reading this one) because I think it’s so important people know the sensitive topics they are reading about. Sexual assault is not a plot twist (and I am

    suggesting

    feeds into this because I think the topic was handled with accuracy and respect in this case, I’m making a general statement) and I would love for us to not have to silence discussion on its inclusion in the book in fear of ~*s p o i l e r s*~. I think people should know the content of this book before reading, if only to help protect those who may be deeply affected by the events of this novel, where reading unprepared could cause a lot of harm.

    I really loved this book and would definitely recommend it!

  • Elena

    , to me, is taken more as a lesson than just

    . A lesson worth reading and worth analyzing every little detail, no matter how the writing is and no matter how repetitive it can get. It's a short novel where the life of an individual is so much more, and worth so much more, but p

    , to me, is taken more as a lesson than just

    . A lesson worth reading and worth analyzing every little detail, no matter how the writing is and no matter how repetitive it can get. It's a short novel where the life of an individual is so much more, and worth so much more, but people don't show that side because they don't believe it to be worth so much.

    to me. It's a story where you reflect on your past actions of judgment, shamefulness, misguidedness, and even power, especially power. We've all been in those times, judging people, looking at them like we're better than them when in reality, we are nothing close to them. We end up misjudging them but don't realize it after, and I think that's what this book spoke to me the most about. I think it's about giving you a short lesson on finding out the true colors of your friends, the people around you, and seeing how one thing can make a difference for everyone, even when that "everyone" doesn't know the reasons behind the actions that changed every perspective.

    Melinda Sordino called the cops on a night at a party, resulting in teens getting busted, arrested, and running for their lives. With that action, everyone ended up hating her, her "best friends" no longer talked to her but instead, they gave her glares and smirks, while other people Melinda doesn't even know hate her from a long distance, resulting in insults and words spoken behind her back. Melinda knows why she called the cops, but there isn't anyone else who does know. Unable to speak after that night, Melinda describes herself as An Outcast, no longer having any friends and anyone willing to listen to her.

    for rape and sexual assault.

    I'm not a survivor of rape or any cause of sexual assault, but I'm a survivor of depression, of loneliness, of being an introvert, or shyness, of quietness, and of many sad moments where I can do everything my body allows me to do (sit, lie down, move, walk, run, etc.) except talk. Unlike Melinda, I chose not to talk not because I was too scared to let people know the truth, but because there wasn't any truth I felt worth telling.

    Melinda did too, but there were times where she wanted to let someone know. I, on the other hand, decide not to chat many times primarily because I hate the way I sound but also because I am afraid of being wrong, of being rejected, and of being laughed at for any comment I made.

    In

    , we follow Melinda through her first year in high school as a new freshman who is already disliked by everyone. After she called the cops on a summer-break party, people started whispering about her, bullying her, insulting her, and never daring to talk to someone like her because she was a nobody to them. Melinda was used to it, but she wishes she had a friend who would listen first, reflect after, decide later. I can't say I relate to Melinda in every way, but I understand some of her thoughts. From the self-harm to the suicide thoughts, it all felt real—it's as if I saw myself in her eyes sometimes, wanting to talk to someone but instantly taking back that thought and keeping my lips shut, canned, sealed.

    Melinda is a realistic character. She doesn't hide her reality from us, and as readers, it's our job to figure it out, analyze the descriptions and figure out what she is trying to tell us. And Speak, to me, is the book Melinda wants us to have. She's the narrator, the character telling us her story, and it's up to us to listen or not, to care or do not care, to bother trying or to not waste our energy. I think Melinda would have had a much easier life if she had at least one friend, whether it was a long-distance friendship or a friendship where they couldn't see each other much, but the connection and the communication were still there. I wish she had someone who believed her and would try to do anything she could in her will to be there and listen to Melinda tell her about her awful and exhausting days at school. But it truly made sense for the author to not include it, because sometimes, in books, no sympathy, pity, compassion, grief, empathy, or any caring action should be there in order for the reader to really grasp the reality the character is living and having to go through

    And what makes it worse is that the world of this book is so real. We end up seeing the true colors of people after things explode. Our true best friends will end up showing their identities when something bad happens, our one and only friend will leave us for another group only to later regret that choice, and people will end up talking to you like nothing ever happened after your most traumatic experience has been revealed.

    I mean, Heather from Ohio, for example, was the true definition of a

    Truly, Melinda deserved better, and Heather got what she deserved. She was never a friend, she was only someone using a lonely girl who didn't talk to anyone because she knew she could brainwash her into believing that she had someone close to her. So she decides to manipulate her and having her "

    " when in reality, she was always doing everything. All in all, Melinda never deserved to suffer more with Heather, and I was really glad Laurie decided to open up her brain and show her the reality of Heather. I also appreciate the fact that she then didn't take any of Heather's bullshit when she went over and "

    , after

    she would help her for her stupid Martha’s Group project. I mean, you don't tell a friend what she's gonna do

    Heather, you

    . Nicely. Politely.

    Well, Heather, I guess your only option is to go back, isn't it?

    This is a short story, one worth reading in one sitting. 197 pages in and all you can do is either like the book or not, love it or hate it. There's so much to take from it if you find what the author wants you to take from it. It isn't a story for everyone, but it is a story worth knowing about. I personally think it's better to be read from a perspective of someone who understands what it is like to shut yourself down and think to yourself if anyone will notice if you just didn't speak at all. The thing is, people have already noticed. They don't see the "why" and they don't see what is killing you inside, but they notice the outside of you and recognize you as “

    ”. It's just that one night can change you forever, either negatively or positively impact you, and there will always come the time where people will not care until they know about it, and that's what bothers me the most.

    I think it's such a stupid instinct for us to care about people once we see them hurting, but I also think that's what the beauty of books are. Books can teach us that, the messages that are in front of us but are not close enough for us to see it. Personally, I get lost in the words of the book, not in its world. Many people read in order to escape to another reality or to a fantasy they never could dream of, but I get lost in the words. They also read to lose track of time or find themselves doing something different. I read books because of the enjoyment and comfort they bring me, which leads me to say that I rate books off enjoyment.

    I read books because I want to learn something from it, whether it's a non-fiction book, fantasy, sci-fi, classic, I read for the moment I'm in.

    is one of those rare books I find myself most comfortable in. The book isn't beautiful nor is any character. There is truly no moral support in this--no friendships, no family dynamics, no useful resources. Yet the author managed to make me love this book and partly regret the fact that I didn't read it before. Even with an obvious plot, childish dialogue, boring characters (except David and Mr. Freeman), I still enjoyed everything in this and managed to mark it as one of my favorite books that I will probably buy the 20th-anniversary edition which comes out January 15 of this year, 2019.

    This book can be life-changing.

    The reason I say

    is because, if you pay attention to Melinda and her story, you can see she isn't just

    but instead, as someone who is struggling with her nightmares that keep haunting her because she got raped and didn't really know. She isn't just

    " because she wants to, it's because she doesn't have other options. She's alone and has no one to rely on, yet she still manages to survive, and I think she's a strong realistic character who had character growth in the end. The story is short, and the truth is set free in the end as well, so it is reasonable and valid for the author to let it all out in the beginning, resulting in Melinda showing her strength towards Andy and no longer being an outcast but instead the girl who was hiding her truth because she was scared.

    Personally, I find it empowering. Although I wasn't the biggest fan of the writing, Laurie Halse Anderson wrote this book from a nightmare she had of a girl who was sobbing. What she heard from the girl, she wrote it, and she wrote this. I'm guessing the girl crying was Melinda, since she said in the interview (a bonus from the platinum edition) that it happened to be that way, and I don’t think Anderson even thought her book would be a book so many teens find comfort in.

    I didn't go into this book knowing everything. I had seen this book before, on many lists here on Goodreads and overall, I had seen it pop up in my feed as friends and reviewers added it to their tbr. I had seen it in my library, both in the YA section and sometimes displayed as "featured books" for specific events and read-a-thons my local libraries host. I never got the urge to pick it up, and I'm glad I did at this time. I appreciated the way she wrote this as if it was multiple diary entries towards the reader. Told in the first-person perspective, Melissa takes us on her journey through the present and the past, with the present being the person she is at the moment and the past being flashbacks.

    I won't lie. Initially, I checked this out from my library because it's been on "life-changing books" lists on Goodreads and mentioned in other blogs as "life-changing" and I needed a life-changing book, specifically because there's a college application asking for it. It's asking for a book that changed my life and how it's changed the way I view everything (life, the world, people, myself, etc.) and I didn't know where to start beside with books that have been labeled as problematic, empowered, and realistic.

    is one of them, and there's more to come soon.

    Every character in the story is bizarre, choosing to listen to rumors and not choose the facts. They’re truly misguided and haven’t been taught well. They also judge Melinda on the way she's seen, not letting her sit with them, throwing mashed potato at her, kneeing her, childishly taping insults written on a piece of paper to her back, glaring and smirking at her as if she was prey and they are predators. It truly is sad how judgemental the world is and continues to be. I don't think it's getting better, but instead, it's getting worse. There are racist comments in this, but it's fine. It's made by a character you can show nothing but hate towards because of his attitude and the power he believes he holds. Then I met David and the whole view changes because I then saw that there is still hope in the world and there always will be, as there will always be that one person sticking up for everyone because he or she isn't afraid of it.

    Melinda should be a sympathetic character, but I can't show it. It's rare for me to read contemporary and realistic fiction without feeling some sort of care or sympathy towards the character. There isn't anything wrong with Melinda, but I knew I was gonna get an answer from her. The hope I held on to while reading this was the only thing I had left, but it was only for her, as there was no hope from anyone else for anyone because everyone in this seems to be selfish and think they have conquered the world in so many ways.

    I didn't know

    was adapted to a movie. While the window for this review was open on my laptop, I decided to watch it. Since the movies adapted from books always have at least some similarity, I knew most of it. I knew what conversation was about to happen, I knew who was who, I knew the ending, I knew the plot. But here's the thing: the ending of the book and the movie are different, many scenes are cut, and many dialogues are completely different. It all makes sense since books are always better and the movies are never the same as the book, but I guess I expected more. The book is short, but so is the movie. I think the best I got from the movie was the friendship between Melinda and David that grew. Not in a romantic way but in a platonic way, and it felt to me like he really cared for her, even in the book. He wasn't just using her, he didn't stay away from her, he tried helping her, he invited her to do Biology homework, and it looked like he wanted to be her friend. In the end, I think they end up as friends, but both endings, in the movie and the book, we are left with wanting more.

    In the book, Melinda ends it with "Let me tell you about it" while in the movie, the ending is completely different, as it ends with Melinda and her mother. At that point, I didn't care much. I literally skipped it because I couldn't take any bullshit from her parents. There was no support and no relationship between Melinda and both of her parents. They didn't even try, they just noticed, as everyone else does. It was sad to see it that way, the reality, that even her parents don't try but only notice. It's as if they hear the rumors and notice the way it plays into Melinda's life but don't ever ask about it.

    In the end, Melinda showed growth. With the help of Mr. Freeman (by the way, we all need a teacher like him, no matter what subject!), she was able to find her truth and let it out. She was able to see herself as someone much more than who she was, letting out the birds that were trapped in the cage as she paints not her past life but her current life.

    After reading Melinda’s last sentence to Mr. Freeman, I realized I’ve been that bird trapped in my cage, not allowing to set myself free because I’m still scared. We all have a voice, but we also have a choice. I think we all make the choice of using our voice when the right time comes, but for now, I don’t think it’s that time. I can’t see myself speaking up for someone or for something. Although I’m really passionate about immigration law, I can’t become the activist I see myself as at times. I can’t see myself yelling at Republicans but instead, I see myself as the small girl who is being towered over by the Republicans themselves as they smirk at me knowing they have won.

    But hopefully, I’ll find my soft voice soon and use it for the best.

  • Emily May

    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 raw emotion that I couldn't help recognising 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 just waiting to be snapped up by a cooler clique... and, of course, the protagonist who doesn't quite fit in anywhere.

    The beauty of this

    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 raw emotion that I couldn't help recognising 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 just waiting to be snapped up by a cooler clique... and, of course, the protagonist who doesn't quite fit in anywhere.

    The beauty of this novel is that it works well alone without the much darker and more important story behind it. But, that being said, it also serves as a very sad and moving voice for rape victims, particularly for those who feel at fault, or scared and embarrassed by what happened. It was a quick, accessible read, but it's also the kind that plays on your mind long after finishing it.

  • Zoë

    2017 Reread: I read this for my young adult literature class along with scholastic articles about the book, which added a great new layer to my interpretation of the novel.

    Original Review: I've owned this book for years and never got around to reading it until yesterday. I'm happy I did because this was one of the best books that I have read lately. Speak was very well paced and I never found the story to be dragging or boring. I loved the character development and Melinda's voice throughout th

    2017 Reread: I read this for my young adult literature class along with scholastic articles about the book, which added a great new layer to my interpretation of the novel.

    Original Review: I've owned this book for years and never got around to reading it until yesterday. I'm happy I did because this was one of the best books that I have read lately. Speak was very well paced and I never found the story to be dragging or boring. I loved the character development and Melinda's voice throughout the story. (Original rating: 5/5 stars)

  • Susanne  Strong

    4 Stars.

    Speaking. Sometimes it’s absolutely impossible, isn’t it? Sometimes you are so filled with anxiety and fear, you can’t even think of the words, let alone spit them out. And sometimes, life itself is crippling. You will undergo something that overtakes you, that consumes every waking thought, that fills you with fear and changes every aspect of your life and still you cannot talk about it. To anyone, whether you have someone to confide in or not.

    Melinda is that girl. She is a misfit. A p

    4 Stars.

    Speaking. Sometimes it’s absolutely impossible, isn’t it? Sometimes you are so filled with anxiety and fear, you can’t even think of the words, let alone spit them out. And sometimes, life itself is crippling. You will undergo something that overtakes you, that consumes every waking thought, that fills you with fear and changes every aspect of your life and still you cannot talk about it. To anyone, whether you have someone to confide in or not.

    Melinda is that girl. She is a misfit. A pariah. A freshman, who everyone in her class hates. No one talks to her, except to make fun of her. She wasn’t always this way though. Not until she called the cops at the end of a summer party and got caught doing so by her former best friend who now hates her for it. And that was what did it. That party changed everything for Melinda. That one night. And now, she doesn’t talk to anyone. Not even her parents. Her grades are sinking and her parents are furious over it and she can’t explain why. And except for caring about her grades, her parents aren’t all that concerned about their daughter. No wonder she decided to keep quiet.

    At some point, Melinda finds herself in a situation wherein she realizes that must find her voice. She then discovers a resilience that she never knew she had and then she SPEAKS.

    Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is full of emotion. It is captivating yet devastating. I was overwhelmed by the honesty that was portrayed by Melinda through out. Laurie Halse Anderson did an incredible job of capturing Melinda’s feelings and describing the awkwardness of High School, being an outcast and feeling completely alone during the most desperate of times. This is a powerful YA novel about learning to accept the things you cannot change and finding the strength and power within to fight for yourself, no matter how difficult it may seem.

    Published on Goodreads and Amazon on 4/3/17.

  • Lola

    I mean, the summary doesn’t reveal much (kind of like Melinda herself) and so, obviously, I made my own assumptions of the plot. Turns out,

    . It’s not a mystery or a thriller; it’s a psychological story. If I had known before, I think I might have enjoyed this a tiny bit more.

    So, Melinda. She’s confused, scared—terrified—and convinced that she’s alone in this wide, animalistic world. Things are somewhat bearable, but t

    I mean, the summary doesn’t reveal much (kind of like Melinda herself) and so, obviously, I made my own assumptions of the plot. Turns out,

    . It’s not a mystery or a thriller; it’s a psychological story. If I had known before, I think I might have enjoyed this a tiny bit more.

    So, Melinda. She’s confused, scared—terrified—and convinced that she’s alone in this wide, animalistic world. Things are somewhat bearable, but that is prior to her losing her only friend at school and seeing IT.

    It’s not pretty to see and it does make for tragic moments, but they’re all part of the process she creates to survive high school.

    I really think that the outline of the book is fairly original. It’s feels like it’s written in journal entries, which gives such an

    to the story. It makes us believe in Melinda and hope that everything turns out for the best for her.

    Basically, this is a Melinda’s world: we’re in her head… and since she’s not the most popular girl in school, there aren’t many interactions between her and other kids. This equals scarcely any secondary characters. There’s David, the headstrong and could-not-be-more-different-than-Melinda David. But what about him? We only get to know him a little through short ‘‘journal entries’’ of Melinda’s.

    Melinda’s parents are puzzling... At least, to me. For most of the book, they’re extremely mad and annoyed at her, especially the mother. She never tries to actually ask Melinda what’s wrong. No wonder Melinda can’t muster the force to do so. But then, at end of the story, we see the dad showing such benevolence and I’m there squinting my eyes, like why is this the first time we see this facet of his personality? Surely because Melinda prefers limiting her interactions with her parents.

    And the last thing that let me down is the details around IT. Or, shall I say, the lack of them.

    Alright, so the last part is easy to imagine, BUT STILL. The ending is very open, so that’s something to remember. I find it sad that we don’t get any kind of info on IT… I wish we knew what his life at home looks like, just so we can understand his motives for doing what he does better.

    This book didn’t take me by surprise, as I have read a panoply of novels with similar (if not exact same) themes. But I can guess that, when it was first published, there were reasons to fuss about it. I am still recommending it, seeing that it’s so profound and realistic and I grew quite attached to Melinda. Hopefully, you will as well.

  • Laurie

    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.

    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. Having been through this myself and sadly listened to countless stories similar (and worse) than mine, I can say that 9 times out of 10 you don't get closure, let alone retribution. And having someone swoop in to save you is pretty much unheard of, otherwise we wouldn't have such a thing as "rape culture" which tragically pervades our country. I think this particular ending potentially puts across the wrong message to girls who might find themselves in a similar situation or who are in this situation.

    Nevertheless, it's an important story to be told and there were scenes and emotions that were absolutely right on and very relatable.

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