Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Buy the Book: Borders ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Books-A-Million
Content Warning: Foul Language (very little)
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.
Blurb from author website.
Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, is nothing less than an emotional punch to the gut.
My only complaint is the length: less than two hundred pages. Then again, any longer would be more of an emotional gut punch than I can handle.
Okay, in order to properly discuss this book, I'm going to break my own rule of no spoilers. I WILL NOT spoil the ending, however.
The story begins as Melinda starts her freshman year of high school. Now outcast for calling the cops about a party, she floats silent and almost friendless. Only the new girl will speak to her.
Hints are given as to some terrible occurrence at the party - the reason she called the cops. Not until over half-way through the book do we find out what happened.
She was raped.
Hurt and confused, she stayed silent afterwards. Not until a (former) friend of hers started dating the rapist did she tell anyone. And then the girl didn't believe her, accusing her of jealousy.
I don't want to spoil any more of the book, so I'll just say this: Melinda's story ends in a much better place than where it began.
One of the scenes near the end made me want to get up and do a victory dance. (For the sake of my husband sleeping next to me, and the dog[s] sleeping at the foot of my bed, I stayed put.) It did put a huge smile on my face, where I had been crying mere minutes earlier.
This book should be required reading for everyone, most especially teens.
Its message needs to be heard.
Do not stay silent when something bad happens. Speak.