Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
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.
Have you ever been an outcast? Have you ever been so hated that your best friends act like they don’t even know you? Melinda Sordino feels like this very often in Laurie Halse Anderson’s book Speak. The book tells a lot about how Melinda struggles just to live everyday. Melinda has no friends and no family she can count on. Her life is very difficult and you can tell throughout the book how she deals with it. While I very much enjoyed the whole novel the setting, plot, and theme stuck out the most to me.
I enjoyed how up to date the setting was presented in this book. It mostly took place in a high school. I thought that was so great because it grabs a lot of teenage reader attention. We like to read things that are about our own life or related to it in any way. Whenever Melinda is at school she gets bullied. People who don’t even know her hate her for a distance. She gets talked about by everyone all because she made one mistake that was actually a huge misunderstanding. After a awful day at school of being humiliated Melinda has to go home to a very destroyed family. Melinda’s mother works too much and her father drinks too much so she never gets attention at home. The only place Melinda feels safe is in an old, smelly, dingy, vacant janitors closet. For me the various setting kept me interested and intrigued in the book.
The plot to the book is very different than any other I have read. In the beginning of the book Melinda faces all of her ex- best friends. We as readers don’t know why she know longer has any friends. Though it continues to tell us later on that everyone holds her responsible for ruining a end-of-the-summer party. We also learn that a bad thing happened to her at the party, and that’s why she called the police. She is deeply conflicted on whether or not to talk about it or not. She may be able to forget about the conflict but the conflict goes to her school. His name is Andy Evans and he is the one who violated Melinda at the party. She soon faces Andy at school where he traps her and abuses her in various ways. We don’t learn what happens to Andy, but the secret is out, and he’s hopefully in the hands of the police now. On the last day of school, Melinda sees a different side of Merryweather High, a side of Merryweather that’s on her side. Classmates express sympathy, and we learn that Rachel (her old friend) has reached out to Melinda. I personally think that the plot is astounding.
The theme really stuck out to me. There is many themes in the book. One that stuck out is how strong Melinda is throughout her high school year. Melinda nearly shuts down emotionally and shuts out her whole world not speaking to anyone. She doesn’t communicate to anyone for along while. Though she finally has gotten enough courage to talk to her teacher Mr.Freeman about it at the end. The story is feeled with sadness, despair, fear, and loneliness throughout most of the novel. It is only when Melinda finds the strength to face all of the emotions that the mood changes to one triumph and inspiration. The theme of this book is very inspiring to me.
Overall I enjoyed this book. I would really like to know what happened to Andy and if he is serving time like he should be! I recommend this book as a inspiring novel of a girk who fights her everday life with a secret and over comes the problems she faces everyday. If you are a reader who enjoys a relatable setting, plot, and theme I highly recommend that you give this book a shot!