Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Review of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

SpeakMelinda 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.

It has definitely been a while since I read Speak, but I I wanted to share my thoughts on it with you in the spirit of Speak Loudly. I have a hard time imagining anyone who’s been to high school reading this book and make it through the entire thing without thinking, even if only for a split second, that he or she could relate to Melinda’s story in some way. Anderson tackles many tough subjects, and does so with eloquence.

Melinda is not an easy character to read about. I definitely got frustrated with her at times, and wanted to tell her to stand up for herself. However, she definitely had her moments of wit and humor, which I enjoyed but also added a few lighter moments to an otherwise very tough book. I particularly enjoyed listening to her talk about all of her peers.

Yet like I said earlier, one of my favorite parts of this book is the themes, because so many people, kids and adults, feel the pressure to do what it takes to fit in. This isn’t a theme that’s relevant only when I read the book, or only to teens who are reading it now. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t see concerns about fitting in and standing up for yourself disappearing from life for quite some time.

Speak is a fantastic novel about dealing with trauma in the context of a high school life. Laurie Halse Anderson does so beautifully and honestly, which is why I’m fighting to keep this book on the shelves. I’ll be ensuring that my local library has a copy, and ask my local independent book store to regularly stock it.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.


  1. This was my very first Anderson book and I've become such a huge fan since. I even enjoy her historical fiction, and that's generally not a genre I like overall.

  2. Thank you for standing against censorship and your great post!



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