Speak

By Laurie Halse Anderson

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1999

Genre: General fiction

ISBN: 9780374371524

Audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 198

Setting: Syracuse, NY

Time period: Late 1990s

Plot summary: Melinda Sordino starts her first year of high school as an outcast for calling the cops at an end of the summer party.  None of her former friends will speak to her and Melinda becomes more withdrawn as the year progresses.  With no friends and poor grades Melinda has very little desire to speak with anyone, until she realizes that she is not as alone as she originally thought.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: Brisk pace

Characterization: The story is told in first person by Melinda.  The most important secondary character is her art teacher, Mr. Freeman.

Frame: Anxious – the story begins with simple observational statements mixed with glimpses of Melinda’s state of being, which is very troubled.

Tone: Humorous, sarcastic

Story line: An intense story about a girl trying to heal from a traumatic event.

Subject headings:

From Pima County Public Library:

Emotional problems — Fiction.

High schools — Fiction.

Rape — Fiction.

Schools — Fiction.

Teenage girls — Fiction.

Similar works/ authors:

Ideas offered from LibraryPoint

Personal notes: This book is both funny and painful at the same time.  It’s very well written.  Melinda’s story is raw and riveting.

Other (diversity, themes, websites): Diversity – rape victim, social outcast

Laurie Halse Anderson’s website

This book has won many awards:


 

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