Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson

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51 Responses to “Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson”

  1. McKenzie T. Says:

    Melinda is just starting high school, but she already knows she’s an outcast. She’s lost all of her friends and peers. She’s the laughingstock of the school, and no one understands her, not even her parents. But when she runs into her ex-friend, memories re-enter from that one summer night when so much happened. But Melinda knows to never speak of it.

    I gave this book a one star rating, because I thought it really just sounded like every other teenager/ high school story ever. In the book Melinda was an “outcast” and everyone “hated” her. I just didn’t find it unique at all. I think another element that really ruined this book in my opinion is Melinda’s attitude about everything, she was always so negative and expected so much from people, when they weren’t aware of the whole incident.

    I would recommend 13 Reasons Why as well as The Catcher in the Rye.

  2. Jillian L. Says:

    Summary: The book “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson tells the story of a young girl going into high school. However, this girl does not face normal circumstances. Melinda, the freshman girl, faces a series of horrible events starting with an incident that occurred over the summer. Ever since she called the cops at a party over the summer she is extremely hated by those in her school. People became angry that she ruined their fun and they all assumed that she called 911 for no reason. As a result of making that phone call she is bullied by the people at school, has trouble with her family, and has lost all of her friends as they disperse into new groups. She does not fit in at all and no one knows the real reason that she called the cops. She is always alone and she struggles with an internal battle as she thinks about the horrible thing that occurred at the party. This struggle continues throughout her entire freshman year and it has caused her to rarely speak. Without speaking it is impossible for Melinda to feel connected to those around her. She is isolated from everyone and is in her own world. Throughout the story the reader watches Melinda slowly try to recover from this event but it is not until the end of the book when they finally get to see Melinda’s life come together.

    Evaluation: In my opinion, the book “Speak” was a very good book. I feel that the author greatly represented how an individual might feel after an event as horrible as the one that Melinda faced. She showed the readers how Melinda felt lost and alone. The story was written about a depressing topic and I thought that the author lightened up the mood by adding subtle comedy within Melinda’s thoughts. The author chooses to not reveal what happened to Melinda until half way into the book. I think that this was a good decision because it makes the reader want to keep reading to find out the truth. Overall, “Speak” was a very powerful book and I believe that it was well written.

    Rating: I would rate this book with 4 stars

    Recommendations: If you enjoyed this book you may also like “Before I Fall” by Lauren Oliver or “The List” by Siobhan Vivian. Both of these books are similar to “Speak” and they are based in a high school setting.

  3. Carmen S. Says:

    Summary: Melinda was a normal teenage girl with friends, good grades at school, and a healthy life altogether. One summer at a party, all of that is taken away from her. Melinda became intoxicated and stumbled into the woods. Without anyone around a older student named Andy Evans took advantage of her and she later called the cops “ruining” the party for her friends. After that incident Melinda went into her freshman year in high school as a loser and a complete nobody. Throughout that first year, she struggles with making friends, her misunderstanding parents, horrible teachers and her old friends who just want to make life miserable for her. She tries to reconnect with her old best-friend Rachel, who comes to date Andy, but realizes that she is too arrogant to see the truth. Bit by bit she regains some pieces of her old life and finally decides that she doesn’t want to live in fear forever. Melinda comes face to face with Andy, not by choice, and stops his rein of terror permanently restoring her old life.

    Evaluation: I personally loved this book. For me a good book is able to weave in more than one theme within its pages. Mystery, some comedy, struggles of teenagers, courage and friendship were all portrayed though Melinda’s story. Some people might say that this book is depressing but really it tells a story of a real girl. I know this specific story isn’t true, but there are many people out there with struggle with horrible things like rape all the time. I also loved how the author was able to put in some sarcasm and humor even though the main idea of the story was grim.

    Rating: 4.5

    Recommendations: Pivot Point, Animal Farm, Unbroken.

  4. CJ C. Says:

    Melinda Sordino, lives with no voice. No comfort; even in her own skin. She lives on edge as she keeps her secret hidden deep within her because of that night. The night that started it all because of IT himself. As she makes her way through her freshman year with no friends, having to see IT in the halls, and lives as the community “snitch” because of her call for help to the police (which coincidentally broke the party up), she can’t seem to find her voice again. Will Melinda find a way to find her voice again and let the truth speak for itself? Or will she find comfort in the quiet in which she lives.

    I knew the plot to this book in the beginning but it didn’t affect reading Speak at all. I felt it portrayed imagination from the reader’s point of view of what Melinda had to go through and it added mystery to what actually happened. Melinda’s character was difficult to understand and get in her mindset, but by the end it was easy to empathize and sympathize on what she went through. The ending was a bit too dry and cut off, and I felt it should have gone into a little more context of what her life was like now that everyone knows the truth and she feels comfortable in her own skin, but besides that I enjoyed the book and how it portrayed what victims go through after their event and be able to maybe relate.

    Rating: I would give this book 3 out of 5 stars

    Recommendations: Tiger Curse series and Between Shades of Grey.

  5. Shane A. Says:

    Summary: Speak is about a freshman named Melinda, who is trying to fit into her new high school. She has a very hard time getting friends because of something that happened in her past. She’s depressed, but she doesn’t realize that she is, till her friend tells her so. She doesn’t talk much; this book is pretty much her thoughts and feelings about high school and life.

    Evaluation: I didn’t like this book at all; Melinda (the main character) is a brat and super rude. All her thoughts are filled with so much drama, and I hate drama, it’s quite boring to me, which is why I didn’t like this book too much. In my opinion I would rate this book a 1 out of 5 because of all the drama and the plot just seemed flat; there wasn’t much action (which I love).

    Rating: 1/5 Stars

    Recommendations: Dairy of a Wimpy Kid, Twilight, The Hunger Games

  6. Jack F. Says:

    In short, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, was a very drawn out story about a girl named Melinda. Now, being a high schooler, Melinda struggles with friendships, being introduced to her new school, and trying to fit in while also trying to grasp what happened at that party last summer. In high school, she meets some cool people, others annoying, and some completely awful. Her one chance to open up is through her art teacher Mr. Freeman, a spunky and quirky dude with an edge. He tries his best to push her, but he ends up just shoving her farther and farther into her shell. Kids at school won’t leave her alone, her grades are suffering due to her anxiety, and the entire world feels as if its closing in on her. After standing up to her “friends”, the possibility arises of her finding the confidence to tell others about what happened at the party on the farmhouse. But what if IT finds out what shes been saying?

    In all honesty, I really did not like this book. I felt like Melinda was very over judgmental and negative about absolutely everything. She was a very difficult character to stay with the entire book. If the book followed different characters with every chapter I feel as if it would not only be a lot more flavorful to read but also be a lot stronger of a book. The writing often feels very one sided and boring, and many chapters are full of useless fillers that don’t propel the plot or characters in any way. Little of the book gives insights to how other characters feel, and there is frequently little characterization. There isn’t any meat to any of the characters, save Melinda, whose traits are all negative. It feels like there was no effort as to giving any of the characters any information useful to the reader. They are very flat. It was also very difficult to connect with Melinda. I feel like much of this book was force fed to me. Also, if I didn’t know the basic plot of the book before I began to read, I would’ve been very confused. It doesn’t even mention what had happened to her until about halfway through the book.

    Rating: I would rate this book 1 star. I hated it, and would not recommend it to others. It could’ve been a good book if it was gone about in a different manner.

    Recommendations: If you liked this book, you may like the book Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian.

  7. Francis D. Says:

    Melinda Sordino is a shell; the ghost of a girl who disappeared the night of an end of summer party. Something happened to her that night, something awful, but she can’t tell anyone because Melinda is finding it harder and harder to speak … That’s what’s stopping her from going to an adult, and she can’t tell her friends because everyone hates her since she called the cops who broke up the party. Melinda is entering high school with a secret that’s destroying her and no one in her corner. As her freshman year progresses, Melinda will have to face cliques, symbolism, prejudice, jeans, Valentine’s Day, turkey soup, trees, and IT, the monster that has plagued Melinda since the party and now may be after her ex-best friend. Can Melinda find the courage to speak again?

    First off, I knew the ‘twist’ before I started reading, but it did not affect my enjoyment of the book at all. Although it took me a little while to get used to her, Melinda is an interesting head to occupy, and her dry humor made the book that much better. By the back half, she had all my empathy. I do wish the ending had more definition, I understand it’s a stylistic choice, but I would’ve enjoyed seeing Melinda being happy as opposed to it being implied. I do know people who felt like Melinda was whiny, annoying, and a grating protagonist, but I disagree with this. One must remember that most of Melinda’s choices in this book are not of a rational mind. What she had to go through is an awful thing, and Melinda, without any support to speak of, had it much worse than many who at least have people on their side. This is an amazing book and it’s one that needed to be written. Thank you, Laurie Halse Anderson.

    4 ****

    Recommended: We Were Liars, Between Shades of Grey, Salt to the Sea

  8. Olivia S. Says:

    Speak, written by Laurie Halse Anderson is about a freshman girl named Melinda. She struggles with losing all of her friends due to busting a huge party all of them were at, for a mysterious reason that unravels as the story goes on. This causes Melinda to speak less and less about her feelings and keep to herself. Melinda falls into depression and struggles with her inner issues and really goes into depth about her family, friends, and school views throughout Speak.

    This was not the best book I’ve ever read, but it was not horribly written. Melinda is a very interesting character to follow and she has her own way when she comes about issues. She has very mixed, bold opinions but never seems to share them aloud. It was very stereotypical in the way that the author/Melinda talked about high school and the social groups within it. There were some good parts, and things that made you think and feel for Melinda, but overall it wasn’t very capturing.

    Rating: I will rate this book a 3.5

    Recommendations: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson and Love the One You’re With by Emily Griffin

  9. Kimi G. Says:

    Summary:
    In the book “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson a girl named Melinda is haunted every day about a party she went to in the summer. She now struggles through her freshman year of high school with friends and grades and her old friends shun her as they go off to their own little groups. That summer night Melinda called the cops on the party and everybody despised her thinking she just couldn’t have a good time. What everybody doesn’t know, was that something else happened that night that changed Melinda forever.

    Evaluation:
    This book talks about high school in an unrealistic way, making it seem so horrible and mean. It really blows high school out of proportion. High schools aren’t usually like the one in the book; they don’t have groups especially one called “The Marthas.” Those kinds of high schools are really only seen in the movies.

    Recommendations: I would recommend the book “Silence” because it’s kind of like “Speak” but better in my opinion. I’d also recommend the book “Thirteen Reasons Why” all these books share a serious merit and are kind of similar, so if you like “Speak” you should read those other books.

  10. Christina F. Says:

    In the book Speak, Melinda is going through a rough time starting high school. She has no friends, a teacher who has set out to get her in trouble, and a horrible family life at home. At school, Melinda is relentlessly bullied by her classmates since she’s known as the snitch of her grade. She is called this because over the summer, she was at a party with Andy Evans when he…. She didn’t know where to turn so she called the cops, who came and busted the party. Nobody knew why she called 9-1-1, they just thought she was a party pooper who liked to get other people in trouble. People pulled her hair, called her names and threw potatoes at her. She was miserable, which was evident in her grades as they began to plummet. She becomes depressed and refuses to open up to anyone and only speak if spoken to. Melinda has a rough time finding someone who doesn’t hate her as much as the others at school, since she has a bad reputation. Once Melinda’s ex-best friend Rachel starts dating Andy, Melinda wants to protect her. She makes Rachel aware of how despicable Andy is when she tells her what really happened at the party. Rachel is disgusted and sorry for Melinda, so she breaks up with Andy at a dance. At the end of the book, Andy tries to assault Melinda again in a supply closet, but Melinda at last finds her voice and yells for help when the lacrosse team discovers Andy and reports him. People realize what Melinda went through and begin to feel sorry for her. Melinda is no longer an outcast or a loser; she’s finally a normal high schooler people look upon with respect.

    Personally I really enjoyed this book. It’s a book everyone can relate to in someway. Though it is heart-wrenching and depressing, it’s also filled with subtle humor that makes the reader want to keep turning pages. It was filled with suspense since the author didn’t tell you why Melinda was hated so widely or what happened at the party. You don’t find out until the second half of the book which is fun because it made me want to keep reading. I liked how the author described Melinda’s sadness and confusion with descriptive language and a lot of imagery and diction. You could practically feel Melinda’s pain the way the author describes her experience.

  11. Tanisha C. Says:

    An 8TH grade summer changed Melinda, a teenager, who experiences something terrible that happens at a party. Melinda is starting at Merryweather High School with no friends, a teacher who doesn’t like her, and a bad family life. Melinda’s life is heading downhill fast; because of this Melinda decides to not talk unless spoken to by an adult. With all of this hazing and disrespect towards Melinda, her grades take a huge hit which causes her to go through more in her life. Melinda had one supporter through 9th grade, her art teacher Mr. Freeman who helps her get through this horrible time.

    I recommend the book Speak to any 8th-12th graders with beating hearts. The book Speak is a heart wrenching book. Speak is a book that everyone can relate to in some way. This book is an easy read but an in-depth read. This book is a really good book. I enjoyed the how the book was laid out and written in as if it were in Melinda’s head or point of view. I also recommend The Hunger Games series. To anyone who doesn’t like reading it comes on tape and is easy to get in to. I also recommend Flight to Thoughts who want to experience the lives of many people.

  12. John B. Says:

    In the book, Speak, there were a lot of challenges that Melinda had to face. Melinda is a teenage girl that was being bullied by the kids at school because she was known as the school snitch. She got this nickname because she was at a party one night and a boy named Andy attacked her. Melinda called the cops and the party got busted. No one knew why she called the cops that night, because she didn’t say anything to anyone after Andy did that to her. Melinda became depressed, and she tried to talk to her friends during the summer and act like nothing happened but since she called the cops that night they wouldn’t talk to her. This forced her to go to school and have to start high school with no friends. Her old friends gave her a bad reputation, and Melinda had a hard time finding someone she could actually call a friend. Melinda started to get an attitude that her parents and teachers were not used to. Her grades started to go down and when someone tried to talk to her her first reaction was to say nothing back to them. Once Andy and her ex-best friend Rachel started dating, that’s when she tried to give more awareness to Rachel and others about Andy. Although Rachel didn’t believe a thing she was saying she shortly learned how sick Andy really is. Rachel felt it would be best to go over to Melinda’s and talk things out with her. Melinda told Rachel everything that happened that night and Rachel was lost for words and sorry for Melinda. She felt bad for treating her that way throughout the school year. In the end, Andy tries another attack on Melinda in a storage closet and is caught by the girls lacrosse team and they finally see him as the pig he is.
    I would recommend this book to anyone you don’t have to be a certain age or like a certain genre of books. This book is perfect for a teen to read so they can know what happens when they don’t know what they are getting themselves into. This is something that happens to girls all over, and if they were to gain awareness then they could be ready to defend themselves when (if?) the time comes.

    Recommendations: Juice and Flight

    Rating: 5. I rate the book (Speak) five stars.

  13. Alyssa B. Says:

    Summary: The summer before high school a young teenager named Melinda is traumatized by something that happens to her at a party. When school begins no one talks to her, and she does not talk to anyone unless it is necessary. She has no friends besides one, and she is a new girl that came to Merryweather High School. Melinda is categorized as the outcast. The young teen girl never has an escape. When she came home her family life is even bad. She escaped to the janitor’s closet to be by herself. Melinda’s grades are slipping. Her art teacher, Mr. Freeman, sees she is struggling. He supports her and is always by her side. In the end she gets her revenge on IT.

    Evaluation: The book Speak is a fantastic book! It’s a quick, easy read. But at points it can be sad. I recommend this book to anyone from eighth grade and up. The author writes Speak in a really creative way. There are no chapters. The story line always keeps you entertained. You’re always waiting for the next thing to happen. You could say it keeps you thinking about what is going to happen next.

    Recommendation: Juice by Eric Walters

    Rating: 4 Stars.

  14. Chasity D. Says:

    In the book Speak, the main character, Melinda, attends a party during the summer before 9th grade and something terrible happens. Now in high school, no one will even speak to her. So, to hide the pain, she goes into a closet and refuses to speak. Her parents’ marriage is horrible, her clothes are too small, and to top it all off her mouth is mangled and disgusting. She has no friends except a cold hearted fake one and a lab partner who might like her. But when IT comes around can she run from the past forever? Read Speak and find out.

    The book Speak in my eyes is an extremely amazing novel. I say this because the author clearly understands the working of a teenage mind. Personally I think she executed this book well and I am very impressed. I would rate it a five stars. If you would like this book I recommend that you read the Tiger Curse series or the Chaos Walking series first book in Tiger Curse series is Tiger Curse the first book in the Chaos walking series is The Knife of the Never Letting Go.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

  15. Autumn F. Says:

    Speak is about a ninth grader named Melinda who has had something tragic happen to her at a post-summer party. This tragedy causes her to lose all her friends and turn them against her, some more so than others. She is committed to silence unless it is absolutely necessary to speak. Her past and IT haunts her almost every day. She has tried to hide, to run, and to ignore. But can she continue to dismiss the monsters around her when they come looking for her?

    Speak, is a book directed toward a more mature audience, but I believe that it is also suited toward younger ages such as middle schoolers as it shows exactly how bad life and even other humans can be. The main character Melinda is a good representation of the hidden insecurities almost all human beings have. In my opinion this book deserves 4.5 stars as I was not completely into it.

  16. Jade H. Says:

    Ever thought that only you have been through something? Melinda, from the book Speak really knows that feeling. Author Laurie Halse Anderson really captures how one girl can feel so singled out and socially exiled through a type of book meant for teens and young adults. One of the things that was good about the book is it is inspirational to people who have had something serious happen to them, it lets them know that it could have happened to anyone. It could also help empower teens to speak up for themselves. This book seems to be aimed for kids in high school, due to the fact that the book is centered around a freshman girl, and what has happened to her. Some of the things that happen younger children would not get. This is one of the better books that I have read, it leaves you wondering and it is a page turner. Half the time I didn’t want to put it down! It is so well written, there is a little bit of everything in the book: drama in her family life, a best friend’s betrayal, and the sudden realization that she is not alone and other girls have been in the same situation. The main character goes through a lot, Melinda learns how to cope with the unthinkable with no one to talk to. On my scale I would give this book 8 out of 10 because of its uniqueness and how it keeps you on your toes through the book. This is a must read book. If you are looking for a good book to read go check this one out.

  17. Dylan E-W. Says:

    Speak by Laurie Anderson was one interesting book about the life of a teenage girl going into high school. Melinda is the main character and she is just a normal teenager, with a slight twist in her life. At her first high school party she meets a guy so horrible his nickname is “IT,” Andy Evans. Melinda calls the cops which ends up crashing the whole party when the cops come. From that day on everyone at her high school hates her. Anderson made this into a great book of a girl’s teenage life and how they can be so stressed through high school when something tragic happens to them. Melinda is just a depressed girl who always hides in a closet at school and doesn’t talk to anyone. Hint the book title “Speak” Towards the end of this novel Melinda ends up getting on the school basketball team and talking to people ending up forgetting about every thing that had happened to her at the party. Laurie Anderson made “Speak” into a young adult realistic fiction. Which makes the book really interesting and you never wanted to stop reading it. It always made you think “What if I put my life in the shoes of Melinda?” “What would my life be like then?” I highly recommend reading this book especially if you are in high school, so you can look around the school and notice people like Melinda and help them. Be their friend and comfort them. I would rate this book an 8 out of 10.

  18. Noah T. Says:

    Have you ever been through a traumatic event? A moment that makes you question your purpose in life, who you are, and sends you into mental isolation? This is the story that is detailed in the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Speak forces the reader to stop and consider the silent isolation that follows going through a traumatic event. The theme is all about discovering and overcoming a mental barrier. It follows Melinda as she goes through life as a freshman in high school with no friends and a distinctive layer of self pity integrated into her daily life. Laurie Halse Anderson’s writing can be somewhat disengaging at times but has appropriate voice for the character it portrays. I wouldn’t recommend that anybody who lacks a certain level of maturity read this book because some of the prominent themes, such as underage drinking and rape, are not suitable for younger readers.
    Overall I give Speak book three and a half stars for trying, but it’s still disengaging so it doesn’t deserve any higher rating. I would recommend it as a good read for somebody who has no better alternative or just needs a short read, but I do not think it is a must-read.

  19. Rosamund D. Says:

    Book Review on Speak
    ★★★ out of five!

    Speak by Laurie Anderson, is the type of book that makes you really think about the choices you will have in your life. It is about friendship, and how art is the only way you can really express yourself. In the book Speak, the main character is named Melinda. Melinda’s freshman life is a snafu like most of ours is, but on top of the normal teenage girl problems she has to make hard decisions. One of the hardest decisions Melinda has to make is to “speak” about what happened to her, or forever hold her silence alone and always be in the bottom of the pit of eternal darkness.

    Speak has all the parts for a successful “teen” drama. It has suspense that makes your eyes want to fly across the page, back and forth until you know what, why, and how the book turns out in the end. Every time something goes right for Melinda something twice as bad comes up to take its place. I call it bad luck. She also fights all the emotions she has. She does this by hiding away from the prying eyes of all the high school students.

    Speak is the sort of book that is written in a way that makes it possible for you to imagine you are in the book with all the deeply emotional characters. Melinda has no “real” friends because they wont talk to her, except for Heather, a girl who tries to capture the attention of all the “popular” people in order to fit in with them. There are mostly mean teachers at the school she goes to, which is the worst school I’ve ever heard of. There is one teacher who is good and his name is Mr. Freeman, Melinda’s art teacher. Melinda never tells Mr. Freeman what happened to her, but he helps her in his own way by hinting to her that she can express herself through her art!

    I like this book even though some people do not. The book speaks to me because it tells the story of someone different and how she dealt with what happened to her. She is unique and different and she reminds all the people that read this book that we are all different. We all need to be respected for who we are. Do you respect everyone for who they are?

    The events that happen in the book are appropriate for all ages above 12. Still, I would recommend approval from parents before reading the book. Is has some sexuality, mild language and in one scene, violence. If you enjoyed this book I suggest you read Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr, The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin, Sold by Patricia McCormick, and A Step from Heaven by An Na.

  20. Destiny K. Says:

    Laurie Halse Anderson’s book, Speak, is an attention grabbing novel in which Melinda Sordino begins her ninth grade year as the total outcast of the school, hiding the biggest secret of her life. This book can be identified as either a contemporary fiction novel or a young adult novel. The thing that I enjoyed most about this book is the fact that it brings to the reader’s attention that a traumatic moment in someone’s life can change the way that person thinks, feels, or acts toward society. Not very many stories talk about rape because it is such a touchy subject. The book sends out an influential message to young adults that there are people in society who are willing to listen to and help you through difficult times. Anderson’s use of the metaphor of silence as ones voice is brilliant and fills the pages with many ideas for the reader. The protagonist is fourteen years of age, which suggests that the novel is appropriate for anyone aged 12 and up.

  21. Sienna G. Says:

    Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, is a book that makes you want to take back that nasty thing you said to your friends about that quiet girl the other day. It’s a book that makes you want to reevaluate every person that you’ve previously judged. The major theme in Speak is conformity, behavior in accordance with socially accepted conventions or standards. Melinda’s challenging past keeps her from being content and outgoing like she was before, instead she ends up depressed and withdrawn from the world around her. Other themes include friendship and transformation. Most of us have at least one best friend, but Melinda does not have anyone anymore. What happens to her tests her friendship with Rachel and the others, and unfortunately they don’t pass. After that, Melinda struggles to fit in and goes through every day yearning for her old friends. Sarah Dessen, author of Just Listen and Dreamland says, “Life is an awful, ugly place not to have a best friend.” Transformation into high school is also hard, in fact, I went through it at the beginning of this year. Speak covers some things that we may go through in high school, but they are just life, they are part of growing up, and this book helps you understand that. For this book, I typically thought Melinda Sordino was an excruciatingly boring character. She could have done a lot more to at least try and fix her problem, but instead she just sat on the sidelines waiting for something to happen that was never going to happen. You can’t change something if you don’t make a change first.
    Voice in Speak is different, considering she didn’t really talk because Melinda doesn’t actually say anything out loud. Speak was written in first person, so she does most of the talking not only through dialogue, but through the story and in her head. It was one thing that made the book unique. I would say that this book is suitable for ages 13 and up. I think anyone younger than that would probably get the wrong idea about high school and become petrified of going when they grow older. In Speak, there isn’t a lot of horrible language, but there is a little bit of excessive violence and sexuality. I would recommend this book just because I think that it’s inspiring and it’s one of those classics that everyone should read. It explores the idea of what is going on in other people’s lives and how they are feeling. These days, a lot of people just think about themselves, their family, and friends, but they forget that they can be generous and help others who need it too. I would rate this book 4 stars, it’s not the most interesting book you’ll ever read, but I guarantee you once you are finished with it you may think differently. It’s definitely one that melts your heart.

  22. Justina A. Says:

    Summary: Melinda, a freshman in high school now, is currently facing the worst time of her life. She was pressured into going to a party and thinking she was the responsible one, she called the cops. Now, going back to school is torturous. She has never really been a girl that is heard. So some people take advantage of that and do things to her no girl should have to deal with. After school got over, the horrible events didn’t stop. She was hurt by a young male and is now having to live with it her whole life.

    Evaluation: It took a long time for this book to get going to the good part, but having the little hints of something happening kept me reading on. Once the events started happening, it got really intense really fast. The ending was a shock to me, because I didn’t think that anyone would be such a bad person to do that to a girl who is already obviously not having the best high school experience.

    Rating: 3 stars

    Recommendations: Fever 1793, Catching Fire

  23. Josh C. Says:

    Speak is the story of a girl named Melinda. She is a freshman and is struggling with a secret. The story revolves around her and an incident that happened at a party she had gone to over the summer. The story is written as if it were a journal which gives deeper insight into her feelings. In the end she comes to terms with what happened and is able to live her life unburdened by the depression that had plauged her life prior.

    I found this story to be very emotional. I liked that it was written as if it were her diary. Throughout the story I felt as if I could relate to Melinda, because the author was able to portray the emotions so realistically.

    Rating: 4/5 stars

    Recommendations: The Hunger Games, Of Mice and Men

  24. Torri A. Says:

    Summary: A freshman girl is going on with life like any other girl. She calls the cops for a party, and now going to school sucks. Everyone hates her now. She eventually becomes massivley depressed about this because of all the stress with school and everyone on her case. She still makes it through everyday though she begins to make small friends with people. In the story, she just tries living her life even with all the crap coming at her. She makes it through.

    Evaluation: I, personally, did not like this book. I did not like the way it was set up in any way. I just don’t plan on reading it again. It’s just not my type of book to read.

    Rating: 2.5 stars

  25. Athena P. Says:

    Summary: Melinda, a freshman, gets influenced to go to a party, and something traumatic happens. She’s naive, and she is constantly reminded of her past. Throughout her days in high school, she’s an outcast, and one of her teachers noticed that she takes interest in art class. She learns to cope with her problems and learns how to depend on others, because she’s never done that before.

    Commentary: I think it’s pretty good, and it sends out a strong message to teenagers that it is okay to speak to others around us. It shows that even though society is messed up, there’s always somewhere you can go to. It also tells us that even though there’s some tough times, you can always get through it with the help of your peers.

    Rating: 5/5

    Recommendations: City of Bones, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Shiver, Lovely Bones, The Odyssey

  26. Kate Y. Says:

    Summary: Speak is a book about a freshman in high school named Melinda, who is an outcast. She hides a haunting secret from everybody she knows, including her only friend, Heather, and her parents. As the year progresses she finds comfort in an old janitor’s closet at school. The whole year she struggles with her past. Eventually, she stops talking all together. In the end she finds the courage to face her past and stand up to the bullies.

    Evaluation: Overall, I did not like this book. I felt bad for Melinda, but she was not making the right choices with her life. The book was really slow, and she didn’t do much until the end. There were a lot of chapters where nothing happened.

    Rating : 3 stars

    Suggestions: The Hunger Games series, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, and The Lying Game.

  27. Desirae D. Says:

    Summary: Melinda is a normal teenage girl but with a big secrect. Something bad happend to Melinda last summer, and now “it” goes to school with her. High school took a down fall for Melinda; she is left with no friends, and an ex bestfriend that says she hates her, and an annoying girl that won’t leave her alone. Throughout the whole book Melinda tries to fit in and struggles to.

    Evaluation: Honestly, I didn’t like the book; it was good at first, then it got super boring.

    Rating: 3 stars

    Recommendations: Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

  28. Sarabeth P. Says:

    Summary: Melinda is a teenager who goes to Merryweather High. She is the outcast because she called the cops on a party the previous summer. All her friends ditch her, and she relies on her art teacher to be her companion. Since she has nothing she wishes to say, she remains quiet. She goes through life in a closet, literally. Finally she decides to not be silent anymore and releases her story of what really happened at that party. Only her true friends believe her, and she begins to open up and become comfortable with herself as a person.

    Commentary: I enjoyed reading this book, it’s not one of my favorites though, because it used a lot of stereotypical characters of high school. I found it interesting that the author keeps the main event of the story hidden for so long in the book. Also I love the stories of the different relationships between Melinda and all the other characters. Mainly between her and her art teacher, Mr. Freeman. The author’s use of metaphors was really cool too, because it showed what Melinda truly thought of things. I suggest this to people who want an easy read.

    Rating: 3 stars

    Suggestions: Harry Potter, Bloomability, Don’t Eat This Book!

  29. Emma B. Says:

    Summary: Melinda starts high school with no friends, the wrong clothes, and a bad attitude. Everyone hates her. If only she could tell people what really happened at the party. IT is the monster. IT should be exposed and punished. Not her. Throughout the book Melinda is silent, but she finally learns to speak out.

    Evaluation: I really enjoyed this book for its suspense and mystery. One thing I didn’t like is that the story was told very slowly, and not very much exciting happened until about halfway through the book. It takes a little longer to get into, but I recommend it to anyone who likes typical high school stories and mystery.

    Rating: 3.5 stars

    Recommendations: Juilet, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian

  30. Nathan P. Says:

    Summary: Speak was about a girl named Melinda. She enters high school as the “weirdo” of her grade and has no friends. She eats lunch alone and doesn’t do well in her classes. There is a boy who she has a crush on, and whenever she sees him outside of school she is speechless. His name is Andy Evans. She ends up going to a party. She thinks nothing’s going to happen, but then the unthinkable is about to happen! When post-prom comes around she talks to people about what happened and how she got away from the police.

    Evaluation: I really liked the book! The author, Laurie Halse Anderson, relates to a lot of problems that teens, and high school students, face today. When I first arrived at Bellingham I didn’t know many people, but as I became attached to the school, I started meeting a bunch of people! Unfortunately it took Melinda a lot more time!

    Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

    Recommendations: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,
    Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Read all of them!)

  31. Kelsie H. Says:

    Summary: Melinda is a girl going into high school as an outcast. She has no friends, and everyone makes fun of her and laughs at her. Her old friend Rachelle turns on her and starts hating her, and so does everyone else. Melinda did something that everyone hates her for, but she couldn’t help it. But she keeps going on and taking the hate, until she breaks free from the past.

    Evaluation: At first it went by kind of slow. It kind of progressed during the middle but not enough for me to be interested in it. It isn’t that bad, but it’s also not a book I’d like to read again.

    Rate: 2 stars out of 5

    Recommendations: Hot Zone, Flight

  32. Owen J. Says:

    Summary: A teenage girl, named Melinda, finds herself struggling with her first year of high school but manages to make one friend, named Heather. Her old best friend, Rachel, who now hates Melinda, is the one causing the grief. Melinda is failing most of her classes, except art because she has a good teacher. By the end of the year, her secret becomes revealed. Melinda had her social life plummet, but she ended up finding herself for recovery through art.

    Evaluation: This book was good and got better towards the end. It tended to exaggerate on how the school system worked and had an odd dialogue format, but generally it kept me interested and had a good ending.

    Recommendations: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, Boy, Scat.

  33. Katy S. Says:

    Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, is a young adult novel tracking the struggles of a freshman in high school. Melinda, the main character, is not a normal freshman though. She has no friends, a distant family, and no one to tell about what happened that summer. For months, she skips school, doesn’t do homework, and is avoided at all costs by her ex- best friends. Page after page, she takes us through her feelings of the personal hell she is experiencing in high school. When the villain of her pain continues to torment her, the truth can’t be kept indefinitely.

    Overall, this book was pretty good. As a writer, I find Anderson to be great at portraying vivid truths of Melinda’s feelings. On the other hand, some of the events that are described are very unrealistic. If I were to put myself in Melinda’s shoes, I can see myself acting similarly, but I do not see my peers acting similarly to Melinda’s though. This is a book I could recommend to most teenage girls.

    Rating: 4 stars

    Recommendations: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier.

  34. Sara C. Says:

    Summary: This book begins with Melinda’s first week in high school. As Melinda settles in, she has difficulty finding friends and getting over her big fight she had with her old ones. For some reason, a lot of people hate Melinda for something she did a summer ago. As the year goes on Melinda struggles with friends, teachers, grades, and fitting in.

    Evaluation: I did not like this book. It dragged out way too long, and it’s not even a long book! I think you should know what Melinda did way earlier in the book. I think the way people treat her is dramatic and unrealistic. I would not recommend this book.

    Rating: 1 Star

    Recommendations: Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, A Wrinkle in Time, Lord of the Flies.

  35. Morgan D. Says:

    Halse Anderson did a great job at writing the book called Speak. It is about a girl named Melinda. She’s a new girl in town. She is hated in school and doesn’t have any friends because of an incident that happened at a party. The story is all about her experiences and feelings that happened as a result of the party.

    Review: This book was ok. It was a little over dramatic at times, but other than that it was fine. It was really easy to relate to, and, well, if you like dramatic, easy to read books, then READ THIS BOOK!

    Rating: 3 stars.

    Recommendations:
    1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian
    2. The Host
    3. The Hunger Games

  36. Briana B. Says:

    Melinda is like every other teenage girl full of hope, looking towards her future and dreaming about boys. This all changes when… Melinda’s world is turned upside down. Melinda chooses to call the cops, but leaves the scene of the crime not telling a soul of the terror she experienced. Everyone hates her for calling the cops during the party. With no one knowing the truth, Melinda is an outcast and is falling apart. Throughout the book, Melinda gains her confidence and is able to move on with her life.

    I enjoyed this book. At times it was a bit slow, but the overall story was realistic and well written. It forces you to evaluate another person’s situation and try to understand what may be happening in her life. I would recommend this book to people who like drama and mystery.

    Rating: 4 Stars

    Recommendations: Chinese Cinderella, Animal Farm, and Tangerine

  37. Maria J-A. Says:

    Summary: Speak is about a young girl named Melinda, who goes to a party and calls the cops because of something serious that happened there. No one knows, though, so they hate and ignore her. She becomes depressed and begins not to talk to anyone, not even her parents. Throughout the book, Melinda trys to find ways to express her feelings about that night.

    Evaluation: I thought it sent a good message. The beginning was a little slow, but it caught on quickly. There was a good plot going on, and wanting to get to the resolution made you want to keep reading.

    Rating: 3 stars

    Recommendations: The Outsiders, Twilight, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

  38. Yuli B. Says:

    Summary:
    Melinda was entering into her freshman year in high school when a traumatic experience changed her life. She slumped into a depression and barely talked. Soon, her friends desert her and Melinda is avoided like the plague. She finds an outlet to her emotions in Art class where she creates trees. After Rachel, Melinda’s old friend, sinks her claws into a senior, Melinda conveys her thoughts and story through an anonymous letter. Rachel finally believes Melinda after her prom date takes her out of her comfort zone.

    Commentary:
    This was very well-written, and Laurie Halse Anderson does a superb job of reaching into a teenage girl’s mind. The peer pressure and social ladder in Melinda’s high school match that of mine.

    Rating: 4 stars

    Reccommendations: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, Revolution, Clarity

  39. Katie K. Says:

    Summary: Melinda Sordino is a girl who stood up for herself in the face of terror and continues to pay for her actions even months later. She no longer does speak up for herself. In fact, she does not speak at all. Only two people know the real reason behind Melinda’s call to the police on the night of the party. Who can guess why she has suddenly become mute? None of her former friends or would be friends can help her. They have all turned away from her. Melinda cannot speak to anyone about what really happened that night. Whenever she opens her mouth, all that comes out is a stutter. Her parents have forgotten how to communicate with their own daughter. Now Melinda is alone, cast out by the rest of the kids and forced to bear the burden of a terrible secret on her own. The only form of expression she has left is her art, through which her pain is revealed. That, and her writing, where the pain she cannot speak of, fills the pages with a grief and rage too long concealed.

    Review: Speak was a quite interesting and fast paced short novel. I enjoyed this book very much, however at some points I seemed to get thoroughly confused. Before the night of the party was explained, I got lost in words when Melinda would talk about that night; I didn’t understand what was going on. In the end I understood exactly what happened. The title “Speak” was a very ironic title in the beginning, for Melinda would never actually speak to anyone, although in the end she finally spoke up for herself and got rid of the burden of her secret.

    Rating: Four stars

    Other Books to read: The Outsiders, by S.E Hinton

  40. Megan W. Says:

    Summary: In 8th grade a girl named Melinda goes to a party and bad things happen to her, resulting in her calling the cops. Everyone now hates her for calling the cops, so as she goes into her freshmen year of high school she has no friends. In 9th grade she finds something that she enjoys: Art. Her art teacher assigns her a project where she has to create a tree, whether she has to draw it, or build it. She tries to incorporate her feelings in these trees throughout the book.

    Evaluation: This book was alright. In the beginning I was kind of skeptical, but when she explains what happened at the party it got way better. However I felt that the author did not have an incline going up to the climax.

    Rating: 3/5

    Recommendations:
    ~The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie)
    ~The Pretty Little Liars (Sara Shepard)
    ~The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

  41. Sophia S. Says:

    Summary: Speak is about a freshman girl named Melinda who is discouraged by her fellow classmates and her old friends who hate her guts for calling the cops at an end-of-summer party. Though there is something that happened at the party that she does not dare to speak of for fear of being hurt even farther. So being alone is the only way she can truly be comfortable. With the help of her art teacher Mr. Freeman, she finally finds the courage to speak.

    Review: This book goes through the depression and heartache of being hated and an outcast in school. Anderson writes so delicately about how hard it is to tell people the truth of a wrong doing, and the emotions of a teenage girl.

    Rating: 3.5 stars

    Recommondations:
    1. The Infernal Devices Series
    2. The Mortal Instruments Series
    3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

  42. Savannah S Says:

    Summary: Speak is a book about a girl that…calls the cops and they show up at the party, kids were drinking and all got busted. People hated her for calling the police. Most people forgot about it but ended up ignoring her instead of making friends again. The book takes place in her freshmen year of high school. It tells the story of what she goes through, how she finds her voice and how one incident will change the rest of her life.

    Evaluation: I liked this book because of how touching and inspiring the story line was. I liked that Laurie Halse Anderson put things in the book that teens can relate to, which makes them feel closer to the characters and draws them into the book. I didn’t like the format in which it was written, it was confusing to follow and felt like reading someone’s journal.

    Rating: 3 stars

    Recommendations:
    True Colors, Kristen Hannah
    1984, George Orwell
    Pretty Little Liars series, Sara Shepard

  43. Latisha J Says:

    Summary: This story is about a young girl who holds a deep secret about what happened at a party. This secret holds her back during her freshman year of high school. She becomes very depressed and unsocial because of what happened, and she is left friendless. It was more of a misunderstanding of the situation but Melinda continued to keep everything to herself. As the story goes along, young Melinda grows and tries confronting her issue.

    Evaluation: The book was sort of slow on getting to something interesting, and there was very little communication for the main character. But overall it was a pretty good book and really showed the point of how Melinda was very depressed. It was good because you had to really look for the hints Melinda brings up to get the whole point of the story.

    Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Recommendations:
    ~The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    ~The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

  44. Barb P. Says:

    Summary: This girl Melinda was a freshman in high school, and she had a really rough time in school. She had no friends except Heather. Melinda always hid in the janitor’s closet and got late notes so she wouldn’t be late. Not only did she not have any friends, she also got potatoes thrown at her the first few days of school…She has no friends because of a party where her old friend Rachel caught her and thought she was calling the cops on the party…

    Evaluation: Speak was a well written book. I did not like the way she wrote it, but it definitely made me feel sad. This book, in my opinion, is not a great book for guys because it is really emotional and dramatic.

    Rating: 3.5

    Recommendations:
    – Fever
    – The Hunger Games
    – Catching Fire
    – Mockingbird

  45. Aud M. Says:

    Summary: This girl goes into high school with no friends and hates school. She ends up finding peace in a closest.

    Evaluation: The book sucked; it was hard to get through. It was super boring.

    Rating: I would give this book a 0 out of 5 stars because nothing kept me wanting to read it.

    Recommendations: I don’t like to read, so I have no books to recommend.

  46. Haley N Says:

    Summary: Speak is about a girl named Melinda who goes into high school knowing everyone hates her because she called the cops at a party. Her old friends do not talk to her and her old best friend Rachel hates her, she has no one. Meinda goes through hard times while her first year of high school, without a friend until a girl named Heather comes along, and a weird art teacher named Mr. Freeman that wants Melinda to draw a tree the whole year.

    Evaluation: I would rate this book a 4 out of 5, because I liked the plot but it was sometimes hard to understand what was going on with her. I liked how the author expressed Melinda’s emotions and her feelings through her quietness; you can almost sometimes feel Melinda’s pain. I also liked that the author hid her reasons for why she called the cops at the party unitl the end.

    Rating: 4 stars

    Recommendations:
    1. The Hunger Games
    2. Looking for Alaska

  47. Anna S. Says:

    Summary:
    The main character is a girl named Melinda. Melinda had something bad happen to her one night at a party the summer of her 8th grade year. Melinda calls the cops and gets people busted. She doesn’t tell anyone what happened to her so everyone gets mad at her and she ends up alone.

    Evaluation:
    I liked the book. It had a good story that kept you guessing about what happened until about the middle. Even when you did know what happened, you kept reading because you want to know what happens to him and if she ever gets friends again. I like that at the end he got caught. The one character I don’t like is Heather. She breaks off the friendship with Melinda saying she was too depressed, then she comes back to her saying that she needed help with decorating! Doesn’t sound like a very good friend to me.

    Rating: 4 stars

    Books I Recomend:
    1. Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong
    2. Thirst series by Christopher Pike
    3. Maximum Ride series by James Patterson

  48. Amaya J. Says:

    Summary: Speak is about a freshman in highschool and what happened to her at a party that summer. No one will talk to her, but why? All these questions will be answered when Melinda starts to speak. She finally tells someone what happened to her at the party, why she doesn’t have any friends, and why she won’t talk to IT.

    Evaluation: I liked this book, I thought it was well written and descriptive. The one part I didn’t like was how the dialouge was written. It wasn’t normal dialouge with the quotes. It was the person’s name and then what they said. It irritated me.

    Rate: 3 1/2 Stars

    Reccomendations: Of Bees and Mist, Absolutely Maybe, Inkheart.

  49. Adam E. Says:

    Summary: Something horrible happens to Melinda one summer night before she starts high school and all of a sudden nobody likes her. So Melinda spends almost her first year of high school not talking, until she can’t hold in her secret anymore. Now Melinda struggles to tell her “ex” best friend Rachel what really happend that night.

    Evaluation: I kind of enjoyed this book. It started off really slow, but got a lot more exciting towards the end. I think the author did a really good job at getting the dialogue and word choices high schoolers would acutally use.

    Rating: 4/5

    Recomendations: The Thief Lord, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, The Outsiders.

  50. Michaela B. Says:

    Summary: Speak is about a girl named Melinda who went to a party in eighth grade and ended up calling the cops and getting everyone in trouble. The next year at high school, as a freshmen, she had no friends. Everyone hated her for what she did but no one knew the real reason she called the cops except her and IT. Throughout the year she starts to not talk to anyone because she feels so hated. Eventually she finds her voice and tells people what the true story is.

    Evaluation: I think Speak is a really good book. I liked how there were a ton of different sections, so it was an easy book to pick up and read a few pages with a good stopping point. The story line itself was really good as well. The whole book I just wanted to find out who IT was and what happened at the party. It kept me hooked. The only thing I didn’t like about the book was that there were some parts of it that were really slow and boring, but the good part about that was that they were short. This story kind of reminded me that all girls my age and younger (and even older) need to be more careful about hanging around older guys. Especially at parties with drinking.

    Rating: 4 stars

    Recommendations: 13 Reasons Why, Beautiful, and Forever

  51. Mario R. Says:

    Summary: Melinda, a freshman girl who is leading a normal life, suddenly pays for what she has done. After calling the cops on a highschool party she is forced to go to the school where everyone hates her but a few, she becomes depressed from all the stress from events happening in school and pushes her way through it making little friends. throughout this book she just tries to live through life with people having stereotypical opinion about her and her friends and teachers and parents is all she has.

    Evaluation: In my honest opinion, I really didn’t like the plot or storylike of the book, because it did not interest me at all. Speak was a depressing book which I don’t like because I find it really boring. My genre is more on the action adventure side, so I was not used to this book. I read through the whole book, so I guess it wasn’t as bad.

    Rating: 2 stars

    Recommendations: 1. Hot Zone 2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian 3. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight to Heaven

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