Laurie Halse Anderson’s award-winning novel Speak shows the importance of speaking up for yourself, the struggles of everyday high school life, and the raw reality of what it’s like to have no one. This book follows Melinda Sordino in her freshman year of high school. Melinda is friendless, outcast, and hated by her classmates, because she called the cops at a party the summer before. But there was a reason why Melinda called the cops that night, a secret that she hasn’t told anyone.
Speak, in one word, is honest. It’s honest, raw, and relatable. Melinda’s voice is sarcastic and snarky, like any other teenager. One line that really hit me in this story was, “All that crap that you hear on TV about communication and expressing feelings is a lie. No one really cares what you say.” Her honesty and bluntness makes the reader feel like she’s a real person. When she cries, you’ll find yourself crying. When she laughs, you’ll laugh.
Another word to describe this book is powerful. Melinda has a chilling way to undermine herself, making the reader wish they could enter the book and just give her a hug. For example, she says “Maybe I’ll be an artist if I grow up.” The moment I read that line, I knew this book was going to be good. If your looking for a book that will make you laugh, make you cry, and give you goosebumps, read Speak.
I would recommend this book to readers over the age of 12.