Monday, July 30, 2012

Speak Review

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Release date: October 22, 1999
Pages: 208
Publisher: Puffin
How I got it: Bought 
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.                         --------------------- 
There is not a lot that I can say about Speak that has not already been said countless times, better than I can say it. But I guess I'll try.

Speak was my first Laurie Halse Anderson book, but it definitely will not be my last. It's totally easy to see why Speak gets all of the praise it does, and a huge reason for said praise is Anderson. She is a fantastic writer and storyteller. Her writing is sparse yet shockingly poetic, sad and dark but at times hilarious. I cannot wait to read another of her books.

What was shocking to me was the humor in Speak, especially regarding high school, from teachers to cheerleaders, all without being cheesy or stereotypical. Melanie's had a really crappy life--especially the past year, yet her voice is still easy to relate to and funny despite her PTSD.

Speak will have you laughing in the face of tough, dark subject matter. It will make your stomach hurt in sympathy pains for Melanie. Despite being published over ten years ago, Speak is as refreshing and poignant as ever, and I fear for a time when it won't be.

Plot: Could've been a Lifetime-movie-style trainwreck, but it so wasn't.
Characters: We only really only get to know Melanie, but I loved her. And the glimpses we get of the side characters are great as well.
Writing: Absolutely fantastic.
Ending: Great.
Mature content: This book mainly revolves around a rape, so it's dark, and I think there's some swearing as well. (With that being said though, I think this would be a great book to read-along with a teen that's about to enter high-school.)
I thought about this book before I went to sleep and as soon as I woke up.
Melanie's story is one that is nearly impossible to forget, no matter how long ago you read it. I read it in January yet the story is still as fresh in my mind as ever. Speak is not to be missed.


  1. Oh, this book is just so, so good. The writing truly is fantastic.

    Nice review!

  2. My first Laurie Halse Anderson book was Wintergirls. I thought it was really good, so maybe I'll try Speak.

  3. This was my first LHA book as well and like you, it really stuck with me, days after I finished. I like how slow and quiet it was while also being so enthralling.

    Wonderful review, Jessica!


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