Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson isn’t an upbeat fun novel. It tackles peer pressure, burying traumatic memories and dealing with rape. All through the book, you might be shouting at Melinda to just tell someone. Of course, that’s not what most teenagers do. They keep things inside often until it’s too late.
The pace of this book is fast and it pulls you in to the highschool world so real you can feel it again. During the summer Melinda called the cops at a party but then didn’t tell them anything. Now at school, no one wants to be associated with her. She’s the problem. Her grades drop and she refuses to speak – about anything – if she can help it.
It paints a brutal picture about how keeping it all in becomes a sort of self-abuse – one that almost surpasses what her attacker did. The author captures Melinda’s fear, pain and confusion spot on. It can open up some big discussions concerning issues too often left silent.