Friday, January 6, 2012

Speak by Laurie Anderson

Melinda Sordino is a typical teenager. Or she used to be before a party the summer before ninth grade. She called the cops and everyone knows about it making her the loser, the outcast, the pariah. Her only friend at the beginning of the school year is the new girl, Heather, and that is only because Heather doesn't know any better.

Struggling socially and academically, Melinda hardly speaks and she won't even admit to herself what is wrong. Her friends have ditched her, never once asking for her side of the story, and a popular senior boy terrifies her just by looking at her. The only person who seems to be on her side is her art teacher Mr. Freeman who has given her a year long art project with the theme of "trees".

Lost in the new world of high school, Melinda must find her voice and face that dreaded night before the start of school. If not, she may lose herself and her voice all together.

Geared toward female readers (but appropriate for males as well), Speak is a perfect example of how a victim may deal with a life altering experience. Readers will follow Melinda's story and feel the pain, angst, and rage the Melinda herself feels. The reveal of her experience is horrifying and readers will feel shocked even with the hints that lead up to the climax. This is a book for mature readers, but it is enjoyable all the same. It deals with several of the traumas many deal with at the high school level, even if our experiences are not the same as Melinda's.

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