Speak | book review


Title: Speak
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Series: n/a
Publisher: Puffin
Publication Date: October 1999
Genre(s): Young adult, Realistic fiction, Contemporary

Opening Line:

It is my first morning of high school.

The Synopsis

Melinda Sordino starts her high school career as an outcast. The summer before her freshman year, she is at a party and calls the cops. No one sticks around to hear why, they just know she did it and they hate her for it. With no friends, busy parents, and IT lurking the halls, Melinda has nowhere to turn. She spends her days skipping class and hiding in a closet that she’s made her own. No one will listen to her, so she stays silent. But she can’t hide from what happened at that party forever.

The Plot

I think this is a very important novel. The story is something that, unfortunately, a lot of teens can relate to. I don’t want to give anything away, though once you start reading it becomes quite obvious; however, it’s a very powerful narrative about a girl who is shunned, bullied, and experiences a traumatic event that forces her into silence. Though the novel was a little predictable and not necessarily the most unique, it is powerful and seems to have inspired teens across the world.

The Characters

Melinda was pretty good as far as narrators go. It was easy to get inside her head and understand her decisions and her way of life. I found myself sympathizing with her throughout the novel, though I thought Anderson could have made the novel a little more emotional. I connected with Melinda, but not quiet deeply enough. The other characters were just characters — I wasn’t really connected to any of them and felt like they weren’t flushed out much, except for Heather, who I kind of hated from the beginning to the end. I think Andy should have been a bit more complex, too, not just a background thing that pops up every now and then.

The Writing

I think Anderson has a lot of potential. I think she could have flushed her characters out a little more and could have made her novel a little more emotional. The writing wasn’t bad. I thought it reflected a traumatized freshman girl really well. It was not my favorite YA read, but it was decent and I liked it. I think it’s a powerful story that could potentially help a lot of teens going through similar issues.

My Rating

3 star

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