Saturday, October 4, 2014

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson


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.

Pages: 198

Release Date: October 22nd, 1999

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


     Even kids that love to read can hate to read books for English class. Most of the time we are forced to read ancient books that do not interest us whatsoever. But, there is the exception when we are allowed to choose the book. For my first assignment in English this year, I had to choose a coming-of-age novel to read. I chose to read, Speak, because my best friend, Kylee, has raved about the book for years and I really enjoyed reading one of Laurie Halse Anderson's other books, Catalyst (my review of Catalyst: and Fever 1793.
     At the beginning of the book, I really connected with Melinda. Ironically, I started Speak on my first day of high school which is the same day Speak begins. Had I read this book any other time I would have still liked it, but I would not have related to it as much. I understood what Melinda was going through. Feeling like you do not belong and seeing all the cliques form but not having one of your own. It was nice to know that others have gone through the same problem and had overcome it.  
     Overall, Speak was a fantastic book and I highly recommend it to anyone. If you are soon or have just started high school I would suggest reading Speak.

*Spoiler Section*

     Speak reminded me of Easy by Tammara Webber, which is one of favorite books. Both books feature a female protaginist that was raped. People tend to ignore sexual assaults but they are a big deal. You experience first hand what Melinda goes through emotionally and physically as a result of Andy raping her. I would like to see a bigger spotlight on books that feature sexual assault victims.   
     I was so proud of Melinda when she fought back against Andy when he tries to rape her a second time. That was the moment the whole story changed. From that point on, the book was more upbeat and Melinda finally opened up to Mr. Freeman.
     My favorite quote from the book was on page 122 and said by Mr. Freeman, "When people don't express themselves, they die one piece at a time." That is exactly what was happening to Melinda as she stayed quiet about Andy raping her. She was breaking apart and losing her connection to her former self.
     When Heather stopped being friends with Melinda for the Marthas, I automatically thought of the song, Let Her Go by Passenger. The one line in Let Her Go that describes Heather and Melinda's relationship is, "Only know you love her when you let her go." Melinda thought she did not need a friend, but she really did. Melinda finds out when Heather has left that she really did depend on Heather being around.  
     After finishing Speak I really want to re-read Catalyst. Catalyst is not in the perspective of Melinda but it takes place in the same high school as Speak. We also get to see Melinda for a few more pages.
     The one question I still have about the book is, did David and Melinda start dating? We found out that Melinda had some feelings for him when she assumed he was the person who put a card on her locker on Valentine's Day. Also, he asked her to go to his house for celebratory pizza after the basketball team won a game, she did decline his offer because she was scared he would do what Andy did to her. If he asked her to come over then maybe he may also like her? I hope they did end up dating, they would be very cute together.
     I was shocked to find out that Speak had been adapted to a movie. When I found out, I jumped online and searched for it. I was turned off to the see the movie when I discovered that Kristen Stewart played Melinda. Kristen is a decent actress, but I can't see her as playing Melinda. Some of my friends that also read Speak with me want to have a movie night and watch it together. I am not against the idea of seeing it with them, but if it falls through I will not be disappointed.
     Overall, I loved Speak and I am curious as to why I did not pick it up sooner. Even though the book is only 198 pages, Laurie Halse Anderson makes a great use of every page. One thing I find so interesting about the book is that it is older than I am!

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Casey!

    Sorry I haven't gotten around to reading some of your reviews lately (my world has currently revolved around my book series hehe.)

    Aww, you mentioned me :) Thanks! Laurie Halse Anderson was the first EVER teen-fiction writer that I ever enjoyed. If you're reading Shadow Zombie right now, you can really see where Laurie's style of writing has influenced me to write.

    Speak was the first book that made me love literature. Not only did it allow me to connect with books, I was also able to grow in the sense of writing. Another book, If I Stay, had the same affect on me. Especially when I read about Nirvana in the book; it was as if Mia was me ^.^

    But, Casey, the most important book of all time came from you :) My 14th Birthday, you had gotten me Alice in Zombieland. And boy, did I love that book. (It's on my vanity in my room standing up. That's how much of an impact it had on me.)
    Sure, I'll read every once in a while (you know I'm not a big reader lol, I'm a born writer) but no other book had made me feel so close to literature itself.

    I want to thank you, Case. For that one amazing book series that made me cry when it ended lol. Stupid trilogies! Hehehehe.

    I want to believe that David and Melinda started dating afterwards. He was so sweet to her, and to be honest, I was kind of mad at Melinda for not going to the party after the basketball game lol. THERE WAS PIZZA! Duh, it's a no brainer haha. Any guy that invites you to a party with good food equals awesome. 'Nuf said lolz.

    Awesome review, Casey! And because of you, I'll start to read a few Jen L. Armentrout books (they look pretty good.) Not sure which one I'd like to read first though hehehe.

    Enjoy the Black Shadow Chronicles, too, Casey!