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Speak

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November 08, 2008  
 
4.6 (5)
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Speak

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Publish Date:
ISBN:
9780142407325
Pages:
197pp
Reading Age:
Award Year:
Available As Kindle Book
Yes
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Synopsis

A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect of Melinda's freshman year in high school.

Annotation

1999 National Book Award Finalist
School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
Booklist Editors' Choice

Horn Book

(Young Adult)
Speaking out at the "wrong" time-calling 911 from a teen drinkingparty-has made Melinda a social outcast; now she barely speaks at all.A conversation with her father about their failed Thanksgiving dinnergoes as follows: "Dad: 'It's supposed to be soup.' / Me: / Dad: 'Ittasted a bit watery, so I kept adding thickener....'/ Me: ." WhileMelinda's smart and savvy interior narrative slowly reveals the searingpain of that 911 night, it also nails the high-school experiencecold-from "The First Ten Lies They Tell You" (number eight: "Yourschedule was created with your needs in mind") to cliques and clans andthe worst and best in teachers. The book is structurally divided intofour marking periods, over which Melinda's grades decline severely andshe loses the only friend she has left, a perky new girl she doesn'teven like. Melinda's nightmare discloses itself in bits throughout thestory: a frightening encounter at school ("I see IT in thehallway....IT sees me. IT smiles and winks"), an artwork that speakspain. Melinda aches to tell her story, and well after readers havededuced the sexual assault, we feel her choking on her untold secret.By springtime, while Melinda studies germination in Biology andHawthorne's symbolism in English, and seeds are becoming "restless"underground, her nightmare pushes itself inexorably to the surface.When her ex-best-friend starts dating the "Beast," Melinda can nolonger remain silent. A physical confrontation with her attacker isdramatically charged and not entirely in keeping with the tone of therest of the novel, but is satisfying nonetheless, as Melinda wields ashard of broken glass and finds her voice at last to scream, "No!"Melinda's distinctive narrative employs imagery that is as unexpectedas it is acute: "April is humid....A warm, moldy washcloth of a month."Though her character is her own and not entirely mute like theprotagonist of John Marsden's So Much to Tell You, readers familiarwith both books will be impelled to compare the two girls made silentby a tragic incident. The final words of Marsden's books are echoed inthose of Speak, as Melinda prepares to share her experience with afather-figure art teacher: "Me: 'Let me tell you about it.'" Anuncannily funny book even as it plumbs the darkness, Speak will holdreaders from first word to last. l.a.

User reviews

5 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.6
Story held my interest 
 
4.6  (5)
Writing style 
 
4.5  (5)
Characters 
 
4.7  (5)
Ratings (the higher the better)
Story held my interest
Writing style
Characters
User Review
Discuss the setting and the role it played. Describe when and where the story takes place.
Who are the main characters? What problems or conflicts does each character face in the book? Briefly describe each character.
What are the good points of this book? What did the author do well? Tell why you liked the book.
What, if any, were the bad points in the book? What did you feel the author did poorly? Tell why you didn't like the book.
This is where you give a brief summary of the book. Tell about at least two events that took place in the story. Don't give away the ending but give a 20 second synopsis that describes the story.
Without giving away the ending tell whether or not the ending was satisfying. Did the end fit the story?
Overall rating 
 
4.8
Story held my interest 
 
5.0
Writing style 
 
4.5
Characters 
 
5.0

Speak

User Review

Setting
The setting of the story is in modern times, the age of technology and the interweb. It takes place mostly at Melinda’s home and school. The school especially plays a huge role because that is where most of the events happen.
Characters
The main character Melinda is a very shy and quiet girl who doesn’t get good grades and has no friends. Melinda’s internal conflict is staying quiet but also wanting to speak up so bad. She’s basically struggling to know what to say and how to say it. Her outer conflict is trying to please everyone, stay hidden, and avoid Andy Evans. Then there is Rachel/Rachelle who is her ex best friend and the meanest person. Mr. Freeman is her art teacher and really the one who shows her who she is and who she can be, that she can speak up. I think he has some conflict with inner sadness as well.
Good Points
I think what the author did really well throughout the book was showing the reality of someone who was a victim of sexual assault. It’s real, it’s raw. It shows what real humans go through and how they’re lives and the people around them are affected by this incident. That’s mainly why I liked the book too, because the author didn’t sugar coat anything, it was realistic fiction.
Bad Points
I think the only thing is some people might get confused because in the beginning it doesn't straight out tell she was raped, it builds up to that point. That's all, I didn't find it confusing though.
Plot Summary
The book is about this 13-14 year old girl (Melinda) who goes to a part with her best friend (Rachel). She get’s drunk and goes outside to get some air. Then a boy (Andy) flirts with her, takes advantage of her and rapes her. She calls the police and everyone gets busted and hates her for it. She starts sophomore year an outcast, nobody likes her and people bully her. She struggles a lot and meets this girl Heather, they become friends and then Heather bails on her because she’s weird and depressed. Her art teacher Mr. Freeman is basically her only friend. He teaches her how to show her feelings through art. Rachel/Rachelle goes out with Andy who Melinda is really trying to avoid but can’t. She has this closet at school that she spends most of her time in. Andy finds her one day in that closet…
Ending
The ending was so good, it ended how I wanted it to and it was happy. I highly recommend this book, I read it in one day. Yes it did fit the story.
Do you recommend this book?
Yes
Language
PG-13
Sexual Content
PG-13
Violence
PG-13
Drug and Alcohol Use
PG
Overall rating 
 
4.2
Story held my interest 
 
4.0
Writing style 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.5

Speak

User Review

Setting
The story takes place at a school and just how life is during high school.
Characters
melinda, andy, ivy, Rachel, heather
Good Points
Showed the dangers of partying also told a story of possible things that can happen. Even the most drastic things can happen during high school. She also raised awareness of rape.
Bad Points
I felt like she switched up the story a lot so it was kinda hard to follow if you didn't pay attention to details.
Plot Summary
So melinda who went to a high school party and called the cops because she got rapped. Now everyone does not like her because she got a lot of people in trouble and also ended the party. She ends up taking an art class and expresses herself through that. She was afraid for her friend rachel who was her bestfriend. She was worried because andy the one who raped melinda would do the same to rachel.
Ending
yes it was and especially when she finished her drawing of the tree and told what it meant to the treacher.
Do you recommend this book?
Yes
Language
PG-13
Sexual Content
PG-13
Violence
PG-13
Drug and Alcohol Use
PG
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Story held my interest 
 
5.0
Writing style 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0

Speak

User Review

Setting
Merryweather High School in Syracuse, New York
Characters
Melinda, a high school freshman, is the protagonist in Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak. The summer before starting high school, she was raped by a senior student, Andy Evans. Due to her trauma and inability to tell anyone about what happened, Melinda spirals into a dark depression; loses her ability to speak with ease; and can express her pain only through physical acts, such as biting her lips and nails. Melinda's introspection and dedication to her art allow her to grow and eventually see herself as a survivor rather than a victim. She learns that the only way to counter evil is to speak out against it.
Andy Evans is the antagonist in Speak. He is a narcissistic senior in high school who is used to getting his way, either through charm or by force. After raping Melinda at a summer party, he continues to antagonize her throughout the novel, showing his inability to empathize with others. He has sexually assaulted other girls at school. Eventually, he gets what he deserves when Melinda defends herself against a second attack and he gets caught.
A new girl from out of town, Heather is the opposite of Melinda in many ways. Unlike Melinda, Heather does not accept her role as outcast and does her best to win popularity by ingratiating herself with various groups at school. She is self-centered and unable to see that she uses Melinda (the same way Melinda uses Heather) to avoid facing the fact that they're both friendless. Heather fails to grow, however, and while Melinda is able to reconnect and create genuine friendships, Heather continues to try to win people's favor through superficial means.
Good Points
She speaks up!
After facing the fact that she was raped, Melinda begins to recover from the trauma of the event.
Bad Points
After many months of painful silence and self-harm, she finally admits to herself that Andy Evans raped her at the party last summer.
Plot Summary
Melinda Sordino begins her freshman year at Merryweather High School in Syracuse, New York, with a heavy secret weighing on her. Over the summer, she and her friends went to a party and Melinda ended up calling the police, causing her friends and everyone at the party to socially reject her. Melinda's only friend is Heather, a new student, who tries to get Melinda involved in school clubs to gain popularity.
Melinda, however, is not interested in gaining popularity and spends much of her time in an abandoned closet at school. She has stolen some late passes, so she uses the closet as a hideout to avoid teachers she dislikes and painful interactions with her ex friends. The only class she likes is art class, where she is working on a year-long project to create various interpretations of a tree. In the school hallways, she occasionally sees IT, a name she has given to senior Andy Evans, and she slowly begins to face what he did to her. Whenever he sees her, he makes her remember the feeling she felt in her initial experience with him. She was so hurt and felt so lonely she stars to isolate more herself and even ditches whole days of school. Her parents and counselor try to get her to open up about what's going on in her life that has leading her to have this grades but Melinda refuses to speak to them. However, over many months of painful silence and self-harm in the form of lip- and nail-biting, Melinda finally admits to herself that Andy Evans raped her at the party last summer.
Ending
The ending was satisfying and it did fit in the ending even though i still have a lot of doubts of what happened to her art teacher(Mr. Freeman) and Andy Evans.
Do you recommend this book?
Yes
Language
PG-13
Sexual Content
PG-13
Violence
PG-13
Drug and Alcohol Use
G
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Story held my interest 
 
4.0
Writing style 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0

Speak

Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, is a novel about the freshman year of Melinda Sordino, who was raped by a senior boy prior to highschool. Melinda has not told anyone of this, and has in turn been excluded and wrongly judged for her reaction. Anderson’s novel unfolds a story of depression and then rebirth, as readers join Melinda on her journey to once again find the will to ‘speak’.
The setting of Speak is cliché and dramatized, but effective in creating a critical and aware opinion of highschool in readers. Everything about highschool is terrible for Melinda except art class. As most readers have experienced highschool, they realize that not every single teacher is as nasty and harsh as the ones at Merryweather High. Nor do these teachers usually let such ostracizing events take place between students without any punishment. However, because the setting of this highschool seems to be a bit exaggerated, by the conclusion of the story, the reader has been convinced of the negative influences that abuse between highschool students have.
Anderson also manipulates the use of characters in illuminating the different types of mistreatment that Melinda endures throughout highschool. Melinda is completely ignored by her past friends, and eventually looses a new friend she makes named Heather. Andy Evans, the boy that raped her, completely denies that anything ever happened. The fact that all of these different characters ignore Melinda aids Anderson in developing a reoccurring theme of injustice that she believes is very relevant to the issue of rape.
The plot structure of Speak is integral to its success. The story begins in the present, with some confusion as to why Melinda is such an outcast. Throughout the book the reader discovers small clues that eventually lead to the revelation of Melinda’s rape. Anderson is effective in evoking a great deal of empathy for Melinda by periodically revealing facts to her readers. At first, it seems that Melinda is just another outcast in highschool, mistreated by everyone around her. As the reader then discovers just what has happened to Melinda, they develop a greater appreciation for her and her struggle.
This novel is a heartbreaker. From start to finish I couldn’t believe the neglect of this young girl, and although it was an overall tragic read, Anderson’s point is revealed with astounding clarity. She wishes to raise great awareness for the susceptibility of young girls to mistreatment during highschool, and calls her readers to action in helping these young women to have a place to bring their troubles and then move on from them.

User Review

Do you recommend this book?
Yes
Language
PG
Sexual Content
PG-13
Violence
PG
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Story held my interest 
 
5.0
Writing style 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0

Speak

The novel is written in first person. Her name is Melinda and she was raped before school began. She deals with high school life with a witty tone and she deals with her own life in a more depressed tone. I really enjoyed this book. She gave a voice to those students that have "lost" their voices.

User Review

Do you recommend this book?
Yes
Language
PG
Sexual Content
PG-13
Violence
PG
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