Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson Reviewed by Emilee Evans

                                                                          Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Summary 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.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an outcast? That question is answered in the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Melinda is an upcoming freshman who starts school off to a rough start. Melinda is the victim of sexually assault. During an end of the summer party Melinda gets caught calling the cops. Why because the party was getting too wild? No, because Melinda got raped by a stranger no one knows the truth until Melinda has the courage to speak up. Throughout the book I enjoyed the theme, the setting, and the word choice.

I enjoyed the theme in Speak because it happens in everyday life. No one wants to be an outcast because you don’t have any friends and people constantly make fun of you. Melinda struggles in speak because everyone talks about her and no one talks to her. Melinda called the cops because she was raped not because the party got out of hand. The concept of getting raped and being an outcast would be a great discussion to females across the world, because people are being put down and getting raped every day. We should be nice to everyone we don’t know what they go through every day. You watch the news and always hear about teenagers committing suicides. They always commit suicide because the parents say that they get made fun of and even people have killed themselves for getting raped because they think students would bully them for it. Speak teaches you not to judge a book by its cover and that is a good message to send to the readers.

I also enjoyed the setting which was a high school. I liked the setting because like most realistic fictions you probably have been to the location of the story. I have, like the setting in Speak it is a high school, I attend one every day for seven hours. I think Laurie Halse Anderson picked a school as the setting because the reader can relate more she could have just discussed what happened after the party and not even mentioned her in school yet just talking about the last week of summer and what happened in that length of time. But, adding a school made you feel more emotional; it made me emotional because I was nervous on my first day of high school. But Melinda’s nervousness was on a new level she feared what people would say to her or what they would even do to her and I couldn’t image the way she felt everyday at school.

Lastly, I liked the word choice; I really enjoyed the perspective from Melinda. I really enjoyed how the novel showed how what others said affected Melinda physically and mentally. Like when her Lab partner David would talk to her the novel expressed what she said and what she thought. Instead of saying what she wanted to say she said what people wanted to hear. Also when her ex best friend Rachel said she hated her the book showed how saying that affected Melinda. Melinda was super quiet so throughout the whole book anything someone said the book showed what she thought of about them and what they had to say which I thought was a really nice touch.

I really enjoyed the novel and I hope that they make a sequel I want to know what happens when everyone finally figures out what actually happened at that party. I recommend the book to teenage girls because, I think showing the book to teenagers would show them what bulling does to a person physically and mentally. Also if they have been raped or know someone that has been raped reading the book would give them the courage to speak up no matter the consequence is. Melinda is weak and when she was brave enough to speak up and not be afraid anymore was amazing. The climax of the story is the message teenagers need to see; that being weak and letting people be mean to you isn’t okay. And Laurie Halse Anderson expresses that with the great theme, the realistic setting, and the creative word choice.

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3 responses

  1. First of all, I absolutely love this book! I’ve read it three times, and reading your book review made me want to read it again. I’m glad you enjoyed it and felt the strong emotional impact that Laurie Halse Anderson intended to convey. I liked how you were able to relate the book to real-world events, and you see how realistic this realistic fiction novel truly is. One suggestion I would make would be to use a specific quote that highlights what you liked about the word choice. Comparing your nerves on the first day of high school with Melinda’s anxiety on her first day shows you cannot begin to comprehend what she was going through; unless a person has been in that situation, I don’t think anyone could truly understand. You seemed to really grasp the magnitude of the themes this book presents to the readers, and I think adding more specific details from the book would really benefit the strength of your main points.

  2. Sarah ,
    Thank you for saying you liked my essay it means a lot! I also loved this book as well I felt like Melinda would be a could role model to young girls for such a strong girl. On my future essay I will use more details because details give the reader more of an image of what I’m trying to say , it makes them feel more connected
    – Thanks again Emilee

    1. Emilee,

      I love how you said details make readers feel connected! It is especially important for readers that have not read the book you are discussing since book reviews are used to help people decide whether or not they want to read a book. In my case, you accomplished the goal of making me want to read this book for the fourth time.

      Good job,
      Sarah

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