Book: Speak: A Novel

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Book:

Speak: A Novel

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Honors:
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Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

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 blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.

Reviews

Amazon.com

Since the beginning of the school year, high school freshman Melinda has found that it’s been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud: “My throat is always sore, my lips raw…. Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze…. It’s like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis.” What could have caused Melinda to suddenly fall mute? Could it be due to the fact that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the seniors’ big end-of-summer party? Or maybe it’s because her parents’ only form of communication is Post-It notes written on their way out the door to their nine-to-whenever jobs. While Melinda is bothered by these things, deep down she knows the real reason why she’s been struck mute: Andy Evans. He’s a senior at Melinda’s high school, and Melinda hasn’t been able to speak clearly since he raped her at the senior party last August.

Laurie Halse Anderson’s first novel is a stunning and sympathetic tribute to the teenage outcast. The triumphant ending, in which Melinda finds her voice and loudly confronts her rapist, is cause for cheering (while many readers might also shed a tear or two). After reading Speak, it will be hard for any teen to look at the class scapegoat again without a measure of compassion and understanding for that person—who may be screaming beneath the silence. (Ages 13 and older) —Jennifer Hubert

Related Works

Film:Speak (2004)

Speak

Jessica Sharzer

Based on the award winning novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak unfolds a story about Melinda (Kristen Stewart), a smart and spirited high school freshman who retreats into self-imposed silence after she is raped one night at a party. Feeling isolated from her classmates and from her preoccupied mother Joyce Sardnino (Elizabeth Perkins), Melinda retreats further in an attempt to escape the torments of high school. It is only through her work in art class with the help of her compassionate art teacher Mr. Freeman (Steve Zahn) that she begins to reach out to others and eventually finds her own voice and inner strength.

A feature debut of director/co-writer Jessica Sharzer, Speak resonates with stubborn honesty and sardonic humor as we follow Melinda on her journey from traumatized isolation to a brave and final triumphant disclosure.

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