Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Summary: Melinda is a new freshman in high school. This year should be about a fresh start and new beginnings, but an event that happened over the summer is keeping Melinda from enjoying high school as much as she should. She was invited to her first party and after trying a drink and becoming a bit unsteady, a boy takes advantage of her and rapes her. She doesn’t tell anyone at first. She isn’t even able to name the event or admit it to herself. She spends the year contemplating the event and trying to come to terms with what happened. The ending is powerful.
Six Word Review: Teaches important lesson about rape culture.
I started reading because: The cover really caught my eye. It has a tree on it. Melinda is good at art and she spends the year working on a project that depicts a tree. It’s very fitting because her personal growth coincides with the growth of her art tree.
I would give this book 10/10 stars because it was so good I couldn’t put it down. I read it all in one sitting. The message is so powerful and especially relevant to our culture today.
I loved Melinda’s hippie art teacher. The things he tells Melinda are some of the most quotable lines of the book. I hated that not everyone in the entire world had read this book.
If the lead character Melinda was in a high school yearbook, he/she would be voted Most Likely To: Become A Famous Artist
Anything else we should know? There’s a movie based on this book, but I think it’s really important that you read this book just because so much of the story is told through Melinda’s inner thoughts. It’s titled Speak because Melinda becomes so quiet after being raped and finally speaks out at the end of the book. It’s a powerful component of the story and it’s lost in the movie.