Speak

Speak

Book - 1999 | 1st ed
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19
18
 …
A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school.
Publisher: New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 1999
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780374371524
0374371520
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: 198 p. ; 22 cm

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Banned Books Week: Protest censorship, read a banned book!

“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


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h
Herbivore_Reader
Sep 20, 2020

A touching story, appropriate for teens, which pretty-realistically represents the aftermath of trauma, and the discovery of a path forward.

CCPL_Teens Jul 24, 2020

Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak: The Graphic Novel is a faithful adaptation of her award-winning book. The book, which many consider one of the best young adult novels ever written, is based on Anderson’s experiences as a teenager. The graphic novel follows a similar format whereby Melinda Sordino’s thoughts are shared through a series of daily episodes, much like a personal diary. Anderson collaborated with Eisner Award-winning artist Emily Carroll and the combination of words and images is nothing short of a graphic masterpiece. The story focuses on a tragic event in Melinda’s life where she is forced to call the cops at an underage drinking party. Following the incident, she is treated disrespectfully at school and labeled an outcast there and at home. While the tragic event catapults the story, there are also numerous moments where Anderson’s depiction of high school is quite humorous. This balance between heartbreak and humor demonstrates that the author clearly understands her audience. Her statement, “sometimes I think high school is one long hazing activity,” encapsulates the struggles Melinda experiences as she tries to cope with the past and heal as a young woman. I loved this book. It’s heartbreaking. It’s humorous. It’s insightful. And it demonstrates the inner conflict young adults experience as they try to balance algebra homework with the pains and struggles of growing up.

JCLBrittanyC Apr 07, 2020

I know I missed this train long ago, but I’m glad I was able to jump onboard with the graphic edition. What can I even say that hasn’t been said? Wow. This is powerful. For those who might be unfamiliar with the story, Speak follows Melinda who is starting her freshman year of high school as an outcast after she calls the cops at the end of summer party. Little does everyone else know she was raped that night by a fellow student, and that is why she was calling the cops. With no one willing to listen to her or her story, Melinda falls silence for the majority of her freshman year, isolating herself from friends, family, and peers. As I’m sure others felt with the novel, I could not put this one down. There were so many emotions involved in this one that you had to keep reading to find out just what ends up happening to Melinda. It is a heavy topic, but it is so important. If you’ve been wanting to read this one for a while now, the graphic is a great option that conveys just as much emotion through both the images and text.

c
CThomasBooks
Mar 15, 2020

I loved this book. It is a tough read but so engaging, and ultimately uplifting.

Hillsboro_ElizabethH May 15, 2019

Amazing. Anyone who has been ostracized in school will relate.

l
lunabookworm55
Mar 17, 2019

Not a happy book, but a suuuuper good book. Haunting.

b
booksmile
Jan 27, 2019

Hard read (warning: contains stories about rape) but well done. There are some resources in the back for anyone who needs help.

r
RaptorMouse
Dec 13, 2018

Melinda knows high school is going to be tough. Abandoned by her old friends and ostracised by the rest of the students for calling the cops at an end-of-summer party, she goes through her year in a haze, haunted by what happened at the party. But when her ghost comes back to haunt her, will she be able to fight back this time or will she succumb again? While this is an outstanding novel, readers should be aware that the book deals with rape and can be considered a heavy read.

a
Amirsadegh
Aug 25, 2018

Great book. Makes you understand to not judge people if you don't know what happened to them. Also teaches you to speak up. After reading this book I learned about Melinda's, the main character's mistakes. I would recommend this to every reader out there especially students in high school since I had a big unit on this. Have fun reading this book.

Here is one of my paragraphs from the unit. DON'T COPYRIGHT.

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In the story Speak written by Laurie Halse Anderson, Melinda is a creative, shy and fearful character. One of Melinda’s character traits is that she is creative. The only subject she gets A in is art, since that is the only class where she feels comfortable and expresses her secrets by drawing. Moreover, her art teacher, Mr. Freeman gives a project that takes most of the year and Melinda uses that project to draw a tree; the tree represents her mental state at the time. At the end of the story, Melinda’s old friends begin to understand her; she realizes that she wasn’t the only one who was assaulted and starts to see “birds bloom in the light, their feathers expanding promise”. (197) She creatively shows that her life is becoming better in her art through the optimistic image of flying birds. Another characteristic that Melinda has and that hurt her a lot throughout the story is that she is shy. Melinda’s problem was that she was too shy to speak up and tell the truth about what happened to her; that hurt her a lot since she became lonely, depressed, and started doing poorly in school. One day, while Melinda was sitting alone in the bus and thinking to herself, she hears some kids behind her laughing loudly about her. She then turns around and discovers that it was her ex-best friend, Rachel Bruin. Rachel starts to stare at her and Melinda wants to say something, but cannot. It was like “words climb up [her] “throat”, and she is unable to speak (5). The author, Laurie Halse Anderson, uses this metaphor to show how hard was for her to speak up even to someone she was once extremely close to. In addition, an event that supports that Melinda is shy is when her parents have a meeting with the principal. The reason why they had this meeting was because of her poor grades in school and her recent absences. In that meeting they try to ask Melinda to solve this problem, but Melinda doesn’t say anything throughout the whole meeting, and her mother knows that “she won’t say anything! [they couldn’t get] a word out of her. She’s mute” (114). Melinda has become so reserved and shy because of the traumatic event that happened at the party. Furthermore, Melinda is also a fearful character. After the attack happened in the party before school started, Melinda called the police, but was too afraid to tell them what happened to her. Meanwhile, people at school and her friends started to hate her because they thought she called the police to ruin the party. Additionally, one day in English class, Melinda’s ex-best friend Rachel doesn’t agree with her English teacher, Mrs. Hairwoman, about symbolism and speaks up about it. Unfortunately, her teacher is upset that someone is trying to prove her wrong, so she gets mad and gives lots of homework to the class. After that event, Melinda sees how the whole class is unhappy with Rachel and thinks to herself “that’s what you get for speaking up” (102). This was important since it made it harder for her to tell her friends what happened to her at the party because she thinks it might make it worse. In conclusion, the reason why Melinda gets these characteristics is because of other characters, events, and symbols such as Mr Freeman or the party; this also relates to us as we are influenced by our surroundings.

t
The_other_guy
Apr 28, 2018

If you have started this book and not finished it, you need to. It is not until you reach the end, and then think back over the whole book, that it really hits you. It may remind you of what life was like for you as a teen or young adult.
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This book haunts me, and will haunt anyone who has been touched (literally or verbally) by sexual assault.
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Which should be a wake up call ------to all of us------
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Sexual assault is an issue we all need to talk about, openly and honestly. This is such a difficult issue to discuss calmly, or rationally, because it is so traumatic to the victim. But on behalf of them... us... (me), we need to.
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It occurs far more often than we want to admit, and many are not sure how to respond when it happens. Open discussion, will help some potential victims stop from becoming victims.
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p.s. I am an adult who came across this book in a round about way... (and yes, I am still dealing with it).

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Age

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b
blue_cat_22969
Jun 02, 2020

blue_cat_22969 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

r
RaptorMouse
Dec 13, 2018

RaptorMouse thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

l
lbbh
Jun 27, 2018

lbbh thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 18

OPL_KrisC Mar 31, 2018

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

j
JanPruatt
Jul 19, 2016

JanPruatt thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

m
MariaAcePro
Jun 24, 2016

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

s
SRSMITH1991
Sep 13, 2015

SRSMITH1991 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

p
Paucar_Wami
May 12, 2015

Paucar_Wami thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Hzyy2003 Nov 06, 2014

Hzyy2003 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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Quotes

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ArapahoeMaryA Sep 27, 2017

You have to know what you stand for, not just what you stand against.

j
JanPruatt
Jul 19, 2016

"Remember what you said about Andy Evans being big trouble?" I say.

"Yeah".

"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."

Me: Let me tell you about it.

s
Stephanie_Sibbald
Jul 04, 2014

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."

m
MissSherbetXO
Jun 09, 2014

IT happened. There is no avoiding it, no forgetting. No running away, or flying, or burying, or hiding

a
afennessey
Jul 02, 2013

No one cares about what you have to say

t
tiarak
Sep 01, 2012

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 )

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 25, 2012

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.

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 25, 2012

"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."

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 25, 2012

There is a beast in my gut, I can hear it scraping away at the inside of my ribs.

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Notices

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GCPL_Teen Jun 29, 2017

Violence: This book does feature sexual violence, though it presents a powerful message that survivors should be believed and supported.

m
MissSherbetXO
Jun 09, 2014

Other: Underage drinking, scenes involving self-injury

m
MissSherbetXO
Jun 09, 2014

Violence: A male student traps the female lead and beats her

m
MissSherbetXO
Jun 09, 2014

Frightening or Intense Scenes: A descriptive rape scene

m
MissSherbetXO
Jun 09, 2014

Sexual Content: PG-13 situations

t
Twoey Gray
Jul 30, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Summary

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l
lcuai
Feb 21, 2019

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.

j
JanPruatt
Jul 19, 2016

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.

m
MariaAcePro
Jun 21, 2016

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.

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 25, 2012

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.[2] 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.

Lauren Jul 29, 2008

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?

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