Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Reviewer: Sachi, 9th Grade
Speak, written by Laurie Halse Anderson, depicts the struggles of Melinda Sordino, a high school freshman, as she navigates her new life as an outcast. This sudden separation from her peers results from a misunderstanding during a summer party. Sordino suffered a traumatic event and, in her attempt to receive help, called the police to shut down the party. Now, she faces ridicule and shame, while also attempting to speak her truth.
Anderson’s novel is incredibly well-written, conveying emotion perfectly through precise word choice. Despite being written by an author in her mid-thirties at the time it feels as if you are genuinely inside the mind of a troubled teenager. Speak covers heavy topics and includes indirect, but powerful, messaging. The side characters in the novel are well thought-out, complex, and intriguing in their own ways, despite the novel’s focus on Melinda’s struggle. Remarkably, this is all achieved alongside the incorporation of dry humor that feels very reminiscent of the comedy we see today among teenagers.
I highly recommend that you read it!