SpeakBook - 1999 | 1st ed
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“Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance,” said author Laurie Halse Anderson, whose book Speak is one of the American Library Association’s (ALA) top 100 most-challenged books in the past decade. Here at the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library we believe in free access to books of all kinds—including banned books! “The books that have gotten banned in the past repr... (more)
From the critics
AgeAdd Age Suitability
OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over
MariaAcePro thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 18
green_alligator_1784 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over
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You have to know what you stand for, not just what you stand against.
"Remember what you said about Andy Evans being big trouble?" I say.
"Why did you say that?"
Ivy rinses the soap from the shirt. "He has such a reputation. He's after only one thing and if you believe the rumors forget it no matter what."
He handed me a box of tissues.
"You've been through a lot, haven't you?"
The tears dissolve the last block of ice in my throat. I feel the frozen stillness melt down through the inside of me, dripping shards of ice that vanish in a puddle of sunlight on the stained floor. Words float up.
Me: "Let me tell you about it."
IT happened. There is no avoiding it, no forgetting. No running away, or flying, or burying, or hiding
i see IT , IT looks at me ,IT smiles at me , i can get IT out of my head (sorry im sorry forgot how it goes )
We lived in a different house then, a smaller house. Mom worked at the jewelry counter and was home after school. Dad had a nicer boss and talked all the time about buying a boat. I believed in Santa Claus.
"I try to draw a branch coming out of a tree trunk for the 315Th time. It looks so flat, a cheap, cruddy drawing. I have no idea how to make it come alive."
There is a beast in my gut, I can hear it scraping away at the inside of my ribs.
Violence: This book does feature sexual violence, though it presents a powerful message that survivors should be believed and supported.
SummaryAdd a Summary
Speak follows Melissa Sordino’s first year in high school. She is relentlessly bullied, teased, and ostracized for calling the police to break up a party she attended over the summer, and falls into a crippling depression. However, none of her bullies know the real reason Melissa called the police. At the party, Melissa was raped by senior Andy Evans. Due to the trauma of both the night of the party and the bullying that followed, Melissa becomes almost entirely mute, only expressing herself during art class. Andy continues to stalk and harass Melissa throughout the story. At the end of the year, Melissa has come to terms with the fact that she has been raped, and tells an old friend. The story ends with Melissa finally standing up to her attacker.
Melinda Sordino, a freshman at Merryweather High, is an outcast because during a summer party she called the cops, breaking it up. Why? Well – that’s what this book is all about – the real why of the reason for the call. She keeps this locked tightly in her head, staying mute throughout much of the school year. In dealing with her pain she skips school, refuses to talk to her parents about it, and is on the verge of failing most of her classes – except art, her passion. In her art class, the teacher has students randomly choose their theme. Trees become Mel’s raison d’etre. She struggles with how to present the tree as an art form just as she deals with truth of what happened that fateful night of the party. And during the school year, she grows in spite of the nightmare and discovers strengths and gifts she didn’t know she had.
It takes a confrontation where the truth of the matter rears its ugly head. In a terrifying conclusion where Melinda almost falls prey to another attack of It, The Beast.
It’s not surprising that this book is on the Best 75 Books in the Last 75 Years List.
Melinda has started freshman year with a secret: What happened at the party during the summer. It changed her so much, and she has to cope with it throughout the worst year of high school.
The summer before her freshman year of high school, Melinda Sordino meets Andy Evans at a party. Outside in the woods, Andy rapes her. Melinda calls 911, but does not know what to say. The police come and break up the party. Melinda does not tell anyone what happened to her, and no one asks. She starts high school as an outcast, shunned by her peers for calling the police. She remains silent and sinks into depression. Melinda is befriended by Heather, a new girl, who clings to Melinda only to ditch her for "the Marthas". As Melinda's depression deepens, she begins to skip school, withdrawing from her parents and other authority figures, who see her silence as means of getting "attention". Only in Mr. Freeman's art class can Melinda express her inner struggle, as he shows interest in her artwork. She slowly befriends her lab partner, David Petrakis, who encourages her to speak up for herself.
Throughout the school year, the past unfolds and Melinda gains the strength to confront what happened to her. Melinda learns that "IT", Andy Evans, goes to her school. Eventually, she allows memories of what happened the night she was raped to surface. But she remains silent. However, when her ex-best friend, Rachel, starts to date Andy, Melinda feels obligated to warn her. At first, Rachel ignores the warning. Melinda tries again, telling Rachel that Andy raped her at the party, but Rachel does not believe her.
Following a traumatic incident at a party the summer before her freshman year of high school, Melinda Sordino calls the cops, who come and break up the party. This causes Melinda's friends to all reject her. With the help of her art teacher, Mr Freeman, Melinda begins to regain both her self-confidence and some of her old friends, but none of them understand what actually happened that night at the party. Will Melinda ever gain the courage to speak up?