Book: Speak By Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: Young Adult fiction, Drama
Audience: middle school
Summary: It’s a coming of age story about this girl named Melinda Sordino and how she is starting 9th grade and starting high school. She is an outcast after a summer gone wrong. It was when she was 13 she went to her first high school party with her four best friends drinking and having a good time when she was raped by a junior named Andy Evans. Melinda calls the cops on the party and leaves because she doesn’t want anyone to know she was raped. She then becomes an outcast to her friends and blocks herself from the rest of the outside world. Her parents are busy and are never around and don’t know what’s going on with her and she ends up expressing her emotions in her art class and her art teacher is the one that helps her end this battle with herself and speak through her art.
Themes: Sexual assault and symbolism. Symbolism is a key player in this book. Melinda speaks to us and expresses her emotions through her art project which is her making trees. The tree shown a lot she hid in the trees when she was raped and is on the cover of the book. She hides herself from the world and she’s hiding behind this secret of being raped. Sexual assault is another theme Melinda is one of the girls who doesn’t report her assault and is left dealing with the aftermath on her own and falls into the statistic of no one believing her.
Connections: This book reminds me of Winter Girls Melinda is going through an issue and is walking around going through life as practically a designated winter girl she isn’t really a live, she’s not really dead she’s just there. Melinda is dramatized by what has happened to her, she loses her best friends, same as Winter Girls and her mother isn’t never around for her or understands her.
Reactions: This book is a perfect example of a young adult book to teach in a classroom. It teaches students about the awareness of sexual assault and the aftermath. It’s a perfect book for them to read and relate to in some ways whether it be there first year of high school or their not fitting in and lost all their friends. It’s a book with many dimensions.
Reception: : htswimmer
teen, 16 years old
One of those books…
This is one of those books I just couldn’t put down. I have read other good ones, but this one I stayed up late in the night just to get that one chapter in to find out more. The feelings and pain Melinda, the main character, shares with the reader is truly an experience. I watched the movie before the book because I didn’t even know the book was out! But I loved the movie so much, I saw the book one day, bought it, and didn’t put it down until it was finished. I read this when I was 14 I believe, and I would only recommend this book to ages 13+. DEFINITELY READ IT. 🙂
Perfect for 13 and older
One of the best written, most literate books I have come across in my job as a middle school librarian. This book perfectly captures what it means to be a teenager in today’s society. It flies off the shelf regularly and often has a waiting list even though we have multiple copies available. I recommend it for mature 7th graders and older.