by Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: YA Fiction
Published: April 2001
Goodreads Blurb:Since the beginning of the school year, high school freshman Melinda has found that it's been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud: "My throat is always sore, my lips raw.... Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze.... It's like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis." What could have caused Melinda to suddenly fall mute? Could it be due to the fact that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the seniors' big end-of-summer party? Or maybe it's because her parents' only form of communication is Post-It notes written on their way out the door to their nine-to-whenever jobs. While Melinda is bothered by these things, deep down she knows the real reason why she's been struck mute...
Laurie Halse Anderson's first novel is a stunning and sympathetic tribute to the teenage outcast. The triumphant ending, in which Melinda finds her voice, is cause for cheering (while many readers might also shed a tear or two). After reading Speak, it will be hard for any teen to look at the class scapegoat again without a measure of compassion and understanding for that person--who may be screaming beneath the silence.
I liked this book and felt sorry for Melinda. She had a horrible thing happen to her and wasn't able to really deal with it. This story shows how she works through the aftermath, some times she is doing ok, others times she turns a blind eye, but at all times she is doing the best she can. I did think her process was a very real one, she withdrew into herself, and struggled to just keep going. I did love her sarcastic wit and wished that she would have been able to talk to someone, anyone. I also loved that as the year went on she got stronger and was finally able to talk to someone and even the last scene in the closet, while horrible, was great for her to get back her own power and sense of self. I do plan on watching the movie, I hope it follows the book closely.
This review was written by my friend Darcy at Goodreads.