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Speak Kindle Edition
The extraordinary, groundbreaking novel from Laurie Halse Anderson, with more than 2.5 million copies sold!
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 alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication.
In Laurie Halse Anderson's powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.
Speak was a 1999 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature.
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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, 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--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- ASIN : B004QGY36Q
- Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (May 10, 2011)
- Publication date : May 10, 2011
- Language : English
- File size : 1125 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 220 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #34,441 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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The beauty of this novel is that it could have survived alone without the much more sinister story behind it. But, that said, it also served as a very sad and moving voice for rape victims, particularly the vast amounts who feel at fault or scared or embarrassed by what happened. It was a quick, easy teen read but it's also the kind that plays on your mind repeatedly after finishing it.
I hope my review has been helpful to you. It encourages me to continue writing and updating my reviews. Please leave a comment if you have any questions, I will be more than happy to answer if I can be of help.
I'm not sure if the author intended for this book to be used in the classroom, but, either way, teachers everywhere are thankful for Laurie Halse Anderson! It is written to be read, absorbed, and discussed. The carefully chosen words are put together in ways that are easily relatable to teens everywhere. The hardships the characters face, as well as how they act and react to situations, mirror those you would see in a typical American high school. In addition to the audiobook, I also purchased a few copies of the paperback to add to our classroom library. The paperback includes an interview with the author, as well as discussion questions at the end of the book.
I felt the narration by Mandy Siegfried was great! She did the book justice. Her performance made me feel like I was watching the events unfold before my eyes. Whether you listen to or read this book, the time you put in will be worth it.
I rate this book a 5/5 stars. I feel it is an important, all too common, problem that teens are faced with as they enter (and continue through) high school. It would be a good addition to a classroom library, an after school book club, or a girls' group (although boys would also benefit from reading it). It is carefully written and narrated so that the language and events are real, but not offensive. It teaches important life lessons that, unless experieced, couldn't be learned otherwise. It is a must-read.
Thank you for reading my review. I hope it was helpful. :-)
This book is tricky for me to review because I understand the importance of it and agree with its importance, and yet I have really complicated feelings about the execution. It’s not really designed to be an enjoyable read, so it’s tricky to measure why things are working for me and why things aren’t. Here’s my attempt at getting my thoughts down.
Every single person in this book is insufferable to some level. Every single time one of them shows up you know they’re not going to do anything helpful, and I just wanted them all to go away and leave Melinda alone. While there was so much talk about getting her to speak there was none about why she wasn’t speaking. Assumptions were made, threats would occur, but no one thought to ask why. While this works to show the ignorance people have around the subject of sexual assault — as annoying as it was, it was unfortunately realistic — it really made the book drag, and that’s really hard when the book is already less than 200 pages long to begin with.
Additionally, not a lot happened in the book. There wasn’t much of an actual plot; it was describing Melinda’s year at school without providing much of a through storyline outside of the rape, and that didn’t really work to hold all of the book together because it was more of a covert storyline. I went along with Melinda’s day-to-day business, and eventually I didn’t care anymore because nothing was happening and there was no emotion whatsoever. While it didn’t make for fun reading, I do think that this was actually pretty clever; I didn’t care because Melinda didn’t care. By giving me a lack of emotions, Anderson was making me feel like Melinda was really feeling. It’s a subtle touch, but once I realized that was happening I felt a little better about my reaction to the book.
This isn’t really supposed to be a book that you’re supposed to enjoy. It exists to make you think about sexual assault and rape culture and how those who aren’t directly participating in sexual assault are still a part of the problem. This book isn’t my favorite by any means, but I do appreciate it and what it has done.
Final rating: 4 of 5 stars
Top reviews from other countries
The story starts a few months after something traumatic happened to Melinda. But what happened to her is not revealed until later on as the story slowly unfolds.
All we know at first is that she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops and now her old friends won't talk to her and people she doesn't know glare at her. No one knows why she called the police, and she can't get out the words to explain. Her parents are too wrapped up in themselves to notice that something is wrong and her only so-called friend, Heather, is just with her until she finds someone cool to hang out with.
So Melinda retreats into her head and becomes silent on the outside. But it's not so comfortable in her head, either - there's something banging around in there that she doesn't want to think about. But, try as she might, it just won't go away...
What makes this novel unique is the inner dialogue of Melinda Sordino. It has been written in the first person narrative from her point of view. Melinda has a wonderfully sarcastic sense of humour and her thoughts really made me laugh. She is very opinionated and outspoken but she keeps these thoughts to herself and utters not one word out loud. She is also suffering inside and being tortured by a memory that she desperately wants to forget.
This book is very special to me. This is the only book that I have found that relates to me in every was possible. In a way I feel as if it has been written for me!
Melinda Sordino begins to suffer from Selective Mutism after a traumatic experience. This is a condition that means a person cannot talk in most social situations and to almost everyone except a handful of people. Selective Mutism is basically a fear of talking.
I have suffered from Selective Mutism for as long as I can remember and I found that I could totally relate to Melinda. I know what it is like to be unable to talk. I too have an opinionated, outspoken inner dialogue that no one but myself ever hears!
I know what it is like to have no friends, to be isolated and alone and completely misunderstood. Laurie Halse Anderson has really done a fantastically amazing job of describing what this is like. I tip my hat to her!
Laurie has also magnificently taken on the extremely upsetting subject of rape and the subsequent consequences and affects of such as traumatic experience. I too have had a very bad experience and so I could relate to Melinda. I totally understood how she was feeling and what it is like to be haunted by a memory that you wish would disappear.
SPEAK is a phenomenal book. Riveting and compassionately written, it is emotional and inspirational. It is ultimately as story of social acceptance and self acceptance with very clear messages to get across to the reader.
Although it has been written for the young adult market I personally think that it is a book adults would enjoy as well.
It is cleverly written and without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read.
Thank you Laurie. Words cannot describe how much this book means to me.
Melinda as a character is very relatable, although not hugely memorable. She finds herself ostracised by her classmates, and they are realistically high-school-cruel. Written in 1999, Speak is actually very close in time to my own high school experience, back before mobile phones and Facebook, in a time when gossip was spread by lunchtime whispers and bathroom graffiti, and Halse Anderson nailed it perfectly. What makes Speak so very readable is the realistic portrayal of high school life - cliques and bitchiness, cold-shoulders and indifferent parents and teachers and more of a focus on Melinda's school performance than her radical personality change.
For the vast majority of the book, Melinda is isolated from other students, teachers and her parents, and being inside her head for the majority of the book really makes it an intense read - her pain, disappointment and confusion are all very real, raw emotions that come through the pages.
I could have very easily read this book in one sitting - it was compelling, saddening, maddening and at times even frustrating - I wanted to literally reach through the pages and hug Melinda or punch one of her fickle, shallow former friends.
Despite being 14 years old, this book doesn't feel dated and the emotions, reactions and sitatuations feel incredibly realistic. The only downside for me was that some of the deeper issues felt like they were a little glossed over, and although Melinda obviously felt the impact of her actions very deeply, it did feel a little too 'neat' of an ending.
Speak is a book that I would recommend to any Young Adult reader, and in fact to any young adult, as it does examine some serious issues and how jumping to conclusions about people can cause some serious hurt.
a very tough time, thats a bit of an understatement. She was raped at a party by an older guy from
her school and I think at first she thinks its her fault because she had been drinking. After what
happened she called the cops from the party and now everyone at school, including her best friend hate
her because she never told them what happened. The whole novel is set during the course of the school
year and centres around Melinda trying to find her voice. Trying to find a way to tell people what
happened to her and find the help she needs to overcome her ordeal. Its the first of Laurie Halse
Andersons books I have read and I will definately read more of her work in the future. This book is aimed
I think at people much younger than myself but I really enjoyed her writing. The story is tough to read
and although my experience at schools was nowhere near as bad, I could understand the feelings of not
fitting in and the emotions around having long term friends ditch you. Overall and very good book indeed.
I read this immediately after finishing Just Listen by Sarah Dessen which was a gentler exploration of the themes explored in Speak. Both are excellent stories and deal with assault, each in a different way.
I recommend this book to teenage readers, as the central issues covered should not be shied away from and these things do happen. Reading about someone else's experience is surely educational.