Friday, October 2, 2009

Book Review: Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson

It is my first morning of high school. I have seven new notebooks, a skirt I hate, and a stomachache.

The first two lines of Speak sound like they could come from just about any 14-year-old on her first day of ninth grade. But Melinda Sordino is not just any high school newbie. Her parents don't know what to do with her, her friends have turned against her, and she is an outcast to everyone else before she even boards the school bus - all because of what happened one night in August, shortly before school started. But her parents don't know what happened at all, and her friends and the other kids only know part of what happened. And the part they don't know - the secret Melinda harbors deep inside herself, the secret she is afraid to voice - is the part she desperately needs to tell. If only someone would listen.

For Teachers and Librarians:
Speak is one of those books. You know - a book with a story that truly "gets" what it's like to be a teenager, and to wade through that confusing place known as high school, and to figure out that confusing time known as the teen years. It is also a book about sexual assault, and depression; those are very hard things to deal with for adults, let alone teens. But, it is also about being true to yourself, about learning to trust those who deserve to be trusted, and about digging deep within yourself - with the help of someone you trust - to discover the strength to overcome, and to heal, and most not be silent when you are wronged. It gives a voice to the voiceless, a ray of light to those trapped in darkness, a measure of hope to those who see none. It will open many, many doors - a welcome thing for so many teens who have been unable to open them on their own.

For Parents, Grandparents and Caregivers:
Speak shows both the dangers that come from keeping things hidden, as well as the positive results that come from speaking out. It shows the undeserved power given to those who hurt us when we remain silent, and the rightful shift of power back to us when we stand up for ourselves. It shows that trust comes in small steps, but the more steps we take, the stronger that bond becomes. It shows the profound effect even one caring teacher can have on a teen. It shows that while families may be broken, with even a little bit of effort on all sides, those families can heal. It is a story of hurt, and of healing; of sorrow, and of joy. It can be just the thing to coax your teen to talk to you. It can be just the thing for you to start to make some sense of behaviors you may be seeing in your teen. It is a journey - one that you and your teen won't want to miss.

For the Older Kids:
If you're looking for a book that gets it right - one that gets what it's really like to be a teen - then Speak is a book you've gotta read. Whether you're someone who feels lost, or alone, or hurt, or angry, or doesn't feel like anyone understands you, or if you just know someone who seems like something's not quite right, and you're looking for ways to figure out how to help them, Speak is a good place to start. It is a story that will stick with you. It will make you laugh sometimes, and cry sometimes. Sometimes it will make you angry, and sometimes it will make you think, and sometimes it will make you cheer, and sometimes you'll see yourself in there, and sometimes you'll see someone you know in there. It is a book you will never, ever forget, and you will be glad you read it.

For Everyone Else:
Speak. Find it. Read it. 'Nuff said.

Wrapping Up:
Speak has meant many things to many people, from teens to adults. Below is a video of the author, reading her poem, "Listen," which was inspired by the emails and letters she has received from those who have read Speak. ***Note: Not something for the little kiddos to view. Teens and adults only:

Title: Speak (10th Anniversary Edition)
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Cover Illustration: Michael Morgenstern
Pages: 240
Reading Level: Young adult
Publisher and Date: Penguin Group, 2009
Edition: 10th Anniversary paperback
Language: English
Published In: United States
Price: $11.99
ISBN-10: 0142414735
ISBN-13: 978-0142414736

1 comment:

  1. You have a nice review! Here's mine: Have a nice day!


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