Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson , reviewed by Jenna Meade

Speak by Larie Halse Anderson

The first ten lies they tell you in high school.


from Barns&noble.com

“Speak up for yourself—we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication. In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.


Who doesn’t like high school? With all of your friends

With all you friends by your side, meeting new faces that you will be stuck with for nine months.  Well, it is the total opposite for Malinda Sordino.  She has no friends or familiar faces.  She has no one.  She is  outcast.  This idea comes from Laurie Halse Andersons book, Speak.  While I loved the whole novel itself, I mostly enjoyed the setting, plot, and them of the Speak.

I extremely enjoyed the original setting portrayed in the book and I that many students can relate to it many different ways.  This novel’s setting was in present day.  The main character is in high school and she has found herself in a predicament that is out of the ordinary.  The worst of these predicaments was when Malinda was raped by an upper classman and she had to face him daily.  Malinda is not alone in this situation, because many girls now of days experience such random acts of rape throughout the US.  The setting of this book for me was perfect and matched plot.  I often found myself living the book and became the character.

The second element of the book that I enjoyed was the plot.  Malinda is a shy and backward person who never wants to be seen or stand up for herself or what she believes in.  The Novel explains in great detail of how she became this person and what took place to help overcome her self-image.  The Climax for me was when Malinda was faced with her fear when she had to see Andy Evans on her own.  I became very proud of Malinda because she took a chance and stood up to him.  This move alone helped her come out of her shell and others followed by her example.  I liked the reaction of the students that thought that Malinda was just strange.  When she stood up to Andy, they found out her problem and began support and notice that she needed help.

The third Element I enjoyed was the theme.  The moral of this novel gives us an important life lesion that we all need to remember.  An example of this is when Malinda stands her ground against Andy and she gains her self-respect back for taking up for herself.  She became unstoppable and refused to allow anyone else bring her down.  In her world. Malinda was a no body and was misunderstood.  In our world there are many people that can relate her situation, although this is a sad realization, but a true fact.

In conclusion, I have truly enjoyed this book and I wish there was a sequel to it.  I would strongly recommend this book to every young teenager because it is a true problem for many around the world that is often forgotten about or ignored.  This book goes into detail in the first person point of view and can be a life lesson that everyone should be more informed and educated about.  I cannot truly relate Malinda because I have never been placed in her situation, but I have been educated and made more aware of the possibilities of the reality of the occurrence of rape.  The author, Larie Halse Anderson has wrote a winner in my opinion in her novel “peak”


One response

  1. Jenna,

    I love your attention grabber I think it starts it out strong and you are asking your reader to think about their own high school experience. Then what I found interesting and really good was you turned it around to the perspective of the main character from your book and how high school is opposite for her. Great job on the opening! I liked your thesis it states very clearly you will be talking about the setting, plot, and theme of the book Speak.

    Your paragraph on the setting was nicely done. You explained it happened in present day and in a modern high school, which is something teenagers can relate to. Perhaps when you mentioned about Malinda being rapped you could have mentioned where that happened or did it happen at the high school? Final note on this paragraph love your transition into the next paragraph you give a great transition into your next topic.

    The paragraph talking about plot I loved that you gave your own opinions and talked about what you liked that made it very strong.

    I felt like your paragraph on theme was very good and strong. The only suggestion I would give would be to read over and check for some spelling errors, which are probably a simple typing error.

    Overall, I felt like you did a great job and I felt like your organization of writing was a lot smoother. I can definitely see the improvement so great job. Keep up the great work.

    Courtney Brown

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