Review – “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson

SpeakSpeak by Laurie Halse Anderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Melinda is raped the summer before her freshman year at a party, she calls the cops but never reports it. This makes her stop speaking and all her friend hate her. Her parents manage to not notice the monumental change that their daughter has under gone. The art teacher is the only person/class in which Melinda tries/participates/cares. Her year long project, ‘tree’, becomes an outlet. The trees she creates become symbolic of her own feelings.

I taught this as a student teacher to 7th graders. Though the subject of rape is a pretty adult topic, Anderson presents it in a way that is very appropriate for YA readers. My students, even the boys, enjoyed the book and I think that the first person POV of Melinda and access to her thoughts, she wants to tell but simply can’t, really makes this novel accessible.

This is a powerful book. The internal narrative of Melinda as she goes through the aftermath of her rape takes a turn in the the end of her freshman year and ends with her as such a different, hopeful person I can’t help but to be moved by it.

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