Laurie Halse Anderson – Speak
Length: 198 pages
Genre: Young Adult
Started / Finished: 28 December 2010
Where did it come from? Bookmooch.
Why do I have it? I don’t remember specifically, honestly.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 25 September 2008.
This slim book deals with
heavier topics than teens
should have to cope with.
Summary: Melinda is starting high school at a serious disadvantage: everyone in the school – including all of her former friends – already hates her for calling the cops on an end-of-summer party. But none of them have heard Melinda’s side of the story, and Melinda’s not talking… because in order to stays sane, she knows she needs to stay silent, or else the terrible secret she’s keeping inside since the night of the party will tear her apart.
Review: I am in an uncomfortable position with this book. It is clearly an Important book on a Serious Subject, and it equally clearly resonates strongly with a great number of people. So, I feel like kind of a jerk admitting this, but: it didn’t really do much for me. It was really well-written, very good at evoking Melinda’s pain while still retaining a dark sense of humor. It doesn’t shy away from the tough realities of high school, depression, or rape, and manages to present them in a way that’s appropriate for young teens without talking down to them or making light of their problems. I wasn’t being facetious when I called it an important book; it’s the sort of novel that should be recommended if not required reading for high school students everywhere.
But. I didn’t really connect with Melinda at all. We – thank goodness – don’t have much if anything in common. Her pain was vividly and realistically depicted, but it wasn’t something that I identified with. Her reactions would not have been my reactions, and I consequently had a hard time getting into her shoes. So, while this is objectively a good book, and definitely should be read, it’s not for everyone, and it wasn’t really something that spoke to me. 3 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Even though it wasn’t my favorite, I can easily see why it won the awards that it has, and since it’s so fast, I think it’s worth reading for just about everyone.
Other Reviews: At Home with Books, Bart’s Bookshelf, The Bluestocking Society, Book Gazing, Bookalicious, Books on the Brain, GalleySmith, Hey Lady! Whatcha Reading?, Maw Books Blog, A Novel Menagerie, She is Too Fond of Books, Things Mean a Lot, Trish’s Reading Nook
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.
First Line: It is my first morning of high school.
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