Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Reviewed by Ashton Sparks

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
From Goodreads.com:
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.
Who wants to be an outcast? Nobody. Everyone wants to have friends. Being an outcast is lonely, sad, and boring. The very idea of being an outcast is shown in Laurie Halse Anderson’s book Speak, which deals with the theme of when you will do anything to keep your friends and everyone from knowing the truth how far will you really go before it is too much? Set in a normal everyday high school mainly, the novel tells the story of a young high school student who would rather be known as “The girl who called the police and ruined the party” rather than tell people the real reason why she called. While the whole book was wonderful, I most enjoyed the setting, the characters, and the unique vocabulary.
I enjoyed the setting presented in the novel, and think that it shows how mean and cruel people can be when it comes to fitting in, especially high school kids. The main theme is at the high school where Melinda attends. It is just like any normal high school where everyone has their own little groups, or cliques, that is except for Melinda. I can only imagine how it would feel to be in Melinda’s place. Everyone that is in high school can relate to this. I feel that most everyone has had a little trouble fitting in at some point. I know I have. While everyone knows about being an outcast either from being in the position themselves or seeing someone in the position the author truly portrays it greatly in the novel. This was the first book I have read like this so to me it was very original.
The characters was a second element that I enjoyed most in this novel. I feel as though you really get to know Melinda and get an actual look at her life at the time. The other characters played a big part also such as her parents, who are mostly to dissatisfied with their own lives to realize Melinda is upset also. Mr. freeman Melinda’s art teacher plays a big part, well to me anyway, he is the only person who really tries to understand what Melinda is going through. The last character I felt played a big part was Andy Evans, also referred to as IT, Beast, or Wolf. He is a rapist who gets away with it because he is good looking and charming. He tortures Melinda every time he is near. But she is the only one who stops his awful ways. The characters really play a big part to me I feel they make the whole novel better.
The third element of the novel that I most enjoyed was the unique vocabulary that was used. I enjoyed how she did not always use proper grammar and mechanics. It made it even more interesting since she was portraying a high school student. It was a great way to enhance the reading experience of the book. I thought it was very interesting when she would compare Andy to a Wolf or a Beast. Mainly because that is what he acted like. The vocabulary is another thing I feel really made the story as great as it is. It was very unique to me the way she actually wrote this novel with her choice of words.
Overall I enjoyed this book. It has became one of my favorites . When I started reading it I didn’t want to put it down. I recommend this book to mainly high school students because it shows that you don’t always know the person’s story so don’t go by what other people say find out for yourself. Adults would also enjoy this novel. Through the use of a normal high school setting, strong character influence, and the unique choice of vocabulary, Laurie Halse Anderson did a wonderful job at creating the novel Speak.         

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