The extraordinary, groundbreaking novel from Laurie Halse Anderson, with more than 2.5 million copies sold, and the basis for the 2004 film of the same name starring Kristen Stewart!
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Laurie Halse Anderson’s gritty and visceral young-adult novel answers the question, Why would someone stay silent about sexual assault? The entire book unfolds over the course of one school year and takes us inside the mind of Melinda, a first-year student who’s being crushed under the weight of trauma. Ostracized by her friends, alienated from her parents, and struggling in class, Melinda maintains a wry sense of humor and shares biting observations about high-school culture. Anderson’s depiction of her heroine’s inner turmoil—the book is based on her real-life experiences as a survivor of sexual violence—is devastatingly real. That authenticity makes it even more empowering to witness Melinda’s healing process.
In a stunning first novel, Anderson uses keen observations and vivid imagery to pull readers into the head of an isolated teenager. Divided into the four marking periods of an academic year, the novel, narrated by Melinda Sordino, begins on her first day as a high school freshman. No one will sit with Melinda on the bus. At school, students call her names and harass her; her best friends from junior high scatter to different cliques and abandon her. Yet Anderson infuses the narrative with a wit that sustains the heroine through her pain and holds readers' empathy. A girl at a school pep rally offers an explanation of the heroine's pariah status when she confronts Melinda about calling the police at a summer party, resulting in several arrests. But readers do not learn why Melinda made the call until much later: a popular senior raped her that night and, because of her trauma, she barely speaks at all. Only through her work in art class, and with the support of a compassionate teacher there, does she begin to reach out to others and eventually find her voice. Through the first-person narration, the author makes Melinda's pain palpable: "I stand in the center aisle of the auditorium, a wounded zebra in a National Geographic special." Though the symbolism is sometimes heavy-handed, it is effective. The ending, in which her attacker comes after her once more, is the only part of the plot that feels forced. But the book's overall gritty realism and Melinda's hard-won metamorphosis will leave readers touched and inspired. Ages 12-up.
Every teenage girl has to read this book, it's mind blowing and amazing.
This book is a heart racing book for all the teens!
Even as a guy, I could not put this book down. Even with a friend spoiling the ending, I could not put this book down. Even when it was time for school, I could not put this book down. It kept me wondering what Melinda would do next. Amazing book overall. One of the best I've read.