eBook - 1999
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A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school.
Publisher: New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 1999
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781429997041
Characteristics: 1 online resource (197 pages)

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SFPL_Teen Mar 22, 2018

This classic, groundbreaking novel follows Melinda, who uses art as a way to face what happened to her an end-of-summer party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who attends her high school and is still a threat to her.

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Mar 15, 2020

I loved this book. It is a tough read but so engaging, and ultimately uplifting.

Dec 09, 2019

It’s the first morning of high school, 9th grade, and Melinda has seven new notebooks, a skirt she hates and a stomach ache. The school bus comes to her corner. She’s the first pick-up of the day. She sits in the front, hoping to make eye contact with one of her friends, that is if any of them has decided to talk to her yet.

The bus picks up students in groups of four or five. As they walk down the aisle, people who were Melinda’s middle school lab partners or gym buddies glare at her. This is what she’s been dreading. As they leave the last stop, she is the only person sitting alone.

At school, the ninth graders are herded into the auditorium. Again Melinda has no one to sit with. The kids behind her laugh at something so loud, she knows they’re laughing about her. She turns around only to see Rachel, her ex-best friend, at the center of the crowd. This is the girl who suffered through brownies with Melinda, who taught her how to swim, who understood about her parents. She’s the only person in the entire galaxy Melinda is dying to tell the truth about that night.

Their eyes meet for a second and Melinda’s throat burns with the desire to talk. But Rachel mouths the words “I hate you” and turns back to laughing with her friends. Rachel actually hates Melinda. But then so does everybody else. Who can blame them?
Melinda, busted the biggest party of the summer by calling the cops. Everyone is so mad at her! If only she could tell Rachel why she made the call. But obviously, she can’t. And if she can’t tell Rachel, she can’t tell anyone. The way Melinda sees it, if she’s got to keep something this painful to herself, why bother talking at all?

Mar 17, 2019

Not a happy book, but a suuuuper good book. Haunting.

Aug 25, 2018

Great book. Makes you understand to not judge people if you don't know what happened to them. Also teaches you to speak up. After reading this book I learned about Melinda's, the main character's mistakes. I would recommend this to every reader out there especially students in high school since I had a big unit on this. Have fun reading this book.

Here is one of my paragraphs from the unit. DON'T COPYRIGHT.

In the story Speak written by Laurie Halse Anderson, Melinda is a creative, shy and fearful character. One of Melinda’s character traits is that she is creative. The only subject she gets A in is art, since that is the only class where she feels comfortable and expresses her secrets by drawing. Moreover, her art teacher, Mr. Freeman gives a project that takes most of the year and Melinda uses that project to draw a tree; the tree represents her mental state at the time. At the end of the story, Melinda’s old friends begin to understand her; she realizes that she wasn’t the only one who was assaulted and starts to see “birds bloom in the light, their feathers expanding promise”. (197) She creatively shows that her life is becoming better in her art through the optimistic image of flying birds. Another characteristic that Melinda has and that hurt her a lot throughout the story is that she is shy. Melinda’s problem was that she was too shy to speak up and tell the truth about what happened to her; that hurt her a lot since she became lonely, depressed, and started doing poorly in school. One day, while Melinda was sitting alone in the bus and thinking to herself, she hears some kids behind her laughing loudly about her. She then turns around and discovers that it was her ex-best friend, Rachel Bruin. Rachel starts to stare at her and Melinda wants to say something, but cannot. It was like “words climb up [her] “throat”, and she is unable to speak (5). The author, Laurie Halse Anderson, uses this metaphor to show how hard was for her to speak up even to someone she was once extremely close to. In addition, an event that supports that Melinda is shy is when her parents have a meeting with the principal. The reason why they had this meeting was because of her poor grades in school and her recent absences. In that meeting they try to ask Melinda to solve this problem, but Melinda doesn’t say anything throughout the whole meeting, and her mother knows that “she won’t say anything! [they couldn’t get] a word out of her. She’s mute” (114). Melinda has become so reserved and shy because of the traumatic event that happened at the party. Furthermore, Melinda is also a fearful character. After the attack happened in the party before school started, Melinda called the police, but was too afraid to tell them what happened to her. Meanwhile, people at school and her friends started to hate her because they thought she called the police to ruin the party. Additionally, one day in English class, Melinda’s ex-best friend Rachel doesn’t agree with her English teacher, Mrs. Hairwoman, about symbolism and speaks up about it. Unfortunately, her teacher is upset that someone is trying to prove her wrong, so she gets mad and gives lots of homework to the class. After that event, Melinda sees how the whole class is unhappy with Rachel and thinks to herself “that’s what you get for speaking up” (102). This was important since it made it harder for her to tell her friends what happened to her at the party because she thinks it might make it worse. In conclusion, the reason why Melinda gets these characteristics is because of other characters, events, and symbols such as Mr Freeman or the party; this also relates to us as we are influenced by our surroundings.

Apr 28, 2018

If you have started this book and not finished it, you need to. It is not until you reach the end, and then think back over the whole book, that it really hits you. It may remind you of what life was like for you as a teen or young adult.
This book haunts me, and will haunt anyone who has been touched (literally or verbally) by sexual assault.
Which should be a wake up call ------to all of us------
Sexual assault is an issue we all need to talk about, openly and honestly. This is such a difficult issue to discuss calmly, or rationally, because it is so traumatic to the victim. But on behalf of them... us... (me), we need to.
It occurs far more often than we want to admit, and many are not sure how to respond when it happens. Open discussion, will help some potential victims stop from becoming victims.
p.s. I am an adult who came across this book in a round about way... (and yes, I am still dealing with it).

Jan 23, 2018

The book “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson is a fast but emotionally touching read. The story is about a girl who is suffering from mental health issues due to events taking place from an end of summer party. She seems to be a victim for something that wasn’t her fault therefore being framed or blamed, this with a series of event teaches the readers about women and their problems with sexual assault and mental health effects from sexual assaults. It shows what others think of her including her friends and family.She is clearly in need of help and the book narrates all of it. This has an amazing meaning behind the story and is a great fast read for someone to pick up. There were often really descriptive rambling going on which I didn't like. I would rate this book a 4/5 and recommend it to any teenagers looking for a fast, simple, and engaging read. @TheRomanV of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

The book Speak is written by Laurie Halse Anderson. The book is about a girl named Melinda Sordino (Also the narrator of the book) who was about to have the worst year of her life just because of an end-of-summer party. Melinda is about to start high school being depressed and quiet struggling with school, friends, and family trying to tell them what actually happened at the summer party. I give the book Speak three out of five stars just because some parts of the book were hard for me to follow and I didn’t really get the ending of the book.
- @purplepuff of The Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a book that was written so simply but had such an impactful message that everyone should be aware of. I found this book to be truly eye-opening. Melinda Sordino is a freshman at Merryweather High, and she enters it friendless, because she called the cops on an end-of-summer party. She’s seen as the weird girl in her school for busting it and everyone blames her for it, even though no one knows what really happened at that party. This book sends a message about rape, and how many girls suffer from sexual assault. It’s hard to speak out because we’re always kept in fear of what might happen if we do, and this was exactly Melinda’s case. She accepted that she was an outcast despite knowing that none of what happened was her fault. The title of this book is impactful from the start and hits people with the book’s message even before you start reading it. I found this book to be moving and rate it a 3/5. I recommend this book to anyone ages 12 and up.
- @ilovefood of The Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

GCPL_Teen Jun 29, 2017

This book touches on difficult issues like PTSD and sexual assault, as well as common problems faced by teens, such as pressure from friends. The plot is driven by character development, and as Melinda opens up about her traumatic rape, she moves closer to adulthood.

Jun 03, 2017

This book is well written, interesting and deals well with teenage emotion. It is so very different from my high school experience that I found the beginning a bit unrealistic (I cannot imagine a teacher like Mr Neck keeping his job at my high school) but once I got past that part, it became a truly compelling story.

Apr 26, 2017

Speak speaks to you.

It's one of those rare gems that manages to subtley get you invested in a serious story while posing as a generic teen fic.

Give it a read.

Aug 31, 2016

Why is it so traumatic, I have just been through the toughest year of my life trying to deal with the death of my Love and my father and there have been many times when I thought that being dead myself would surely be better than trying to deal with the death of two people that were a significant part of my life and all the misery that went with it. What I want to know is, what is the point of grief, why is it so awful to the point that you feel your own life is not worth living, why is the experience so shocking and what do we really gain from it. I know I am not the same person and that everything is different now, I don't view that as a bad thing really but what it took me to get to the other side of this is something I find hard to deal with and I wonder what your thoughts are on grief? Can we ignore it and just get on with our lives because some people seem able to do that, whereas I couldn't carry on, I couldn't even function at all for months and months. Maybe that's a tough journey

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Add a Quote
ArapahoeMaryA Sep 27, 2017

You have to know what you stand for, not just what you stand against.

Jul 19, 2016

"Remember what you said about Andy Evans being big trouble?" I say.


"Why did you say that?"

Ivy rinses the soap from the shirt. "He has such a reputation. He's after only one thing and if you believe the rumors forget it no matter what."

Me: Let me tell you about it.

Jul 04, 2014

He handed me a box of tissues.
"You've been through a lot, haven't you?"
The tears dissolve the last block of ice in my throat. I feel the frozen stillness melt down through the inside of me, dripping shards of ice that vanish in a puddle of sunlight on the stained floor. Words float up.
Me: "Let me tell you about it."

Jun 09, 2014

IT happened. There is no avoiding it, no forgetting. No running away, or flying, or burying, or hiding

Jul 02, 2013

No one cares about what you have to say

Sep 01, 2012

i see IT , IT looks at me ,IT smiles at me , i can get IT out of my head (sorry im sorry forgot how it goes )

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 25, 2012

We lived in a different house then, a smaller house. Mom worked at the jewelry counter and was home after school. Dad had a nicer boss and talked all the time about buying a boat. I believed in Santa Claus.

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 25, 2012

"I try to draw a branch coming out of a tree trunk for the 315Th time. It looks so flat, a cheap, cruddy drawing. I have no idea how to make it come alive."

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 25, 2012

There is a beast in my gut, I can hear it scraping away at the inside of my ribs.

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Jun 02, 2020

pink_swan_291 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jul 19, 2016

JanPruatt thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jun 24, 2016

MariaAcePro thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 18

green_alligator_1784 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Sep 13, 2015

SRSMITH1991 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

May 12, 2015

Paucar_Wami thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Hzyy2003 Nov 06, 2014

Hzyy2003 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jun 09, 2014

MissSherbetXO thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Violet_Butterfly_482 May 11, 2014

Violet_Butterfly_482 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Mar 01, 2014

aschotsm thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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Add Notices
GCPL_Teen Jun 29, 2017

Violence: This book does feature sexual violence, though it presents a powerful message that survivors should be believed and supported.

Jun 09, 2014

Other: Underage drinking, scenes involving self-injury

Jun 09, 2014

Violence: A male student traps the female lead and beats her

Jun 09, 2014

Frightening or Intense Scenes: A descriptive rape scene

Jun 09, 2014

Sexual Content: PG-13 situations

Twoey Gray
Jul 30, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.


Add a Summary
Feb 21, 2019

Speak follows Melissa Sordino’s first year in high school. She is relentlessly bullied, teased, and ostracized for calling the police to break up a party she attended over the summer, and falls into a crippling depression. However, none of her bullies know the real reason Melissa called the police. At the party, Melissa was raped by senior Andy Evans. Due to the trauma of both the night of the party and the bullying that followed, Melissa becomes almost entirely mute, only expressing herself during art class. Andy continues to stalk and harass Melissa throughout the story. At the end of the year, Melissa has come to terms with the fact that she has been raped, and tells an old friend. The story ends with Melissa finally standing up to her attacker.

Jul 19, 2016

Melinda Sordino, a freshman at Merryweather High, is an outcast because during a summer party she called the cops, breaking it up. Why? Well – that’s what this book is all about – the real why of the reason for the call. She keeps this locked tightly in her head, staying mute throughout much of the school year. In dealing with her pain she skips school, refuses to talk to her parents about it, and is on the verge of failing most of her classes – except art, her passion. In her art class, the teacher has students randomly choose their theme. Trees become Mel’s raison d’etre. She struggles with how to present the tree as an art form just as she deals with truth of what happened that fateful night of the party. And during the school year, she grows in spite of the nightmare and discovers strengths and gifts she didn’t know she had.
It takes a confrontation where the truth of the matter rears its ugly head. In a terrifying conclusion where Melinda almost falls prey to another attack of It, The Beast.
It’s not surprising that this book is on the Best 75 Books in the Last 75 Years List.

Jun 21, 2016

Melinda has started freshman year with a secret: What happened at the party during the summer. It changed her so much, and she has to cope with it throughout the worst year of high school.

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 25, 2012

The summer before her freshman year of high school, Melinda Sordino meets Andy Evans at a party. Outside in the woods, Andy rapes her. Melinda calls 911, but does not know what to say. The police come and break up the party. Melinda does not tell anyone what happened to her, and no one asks. She starts high school as an outcast, shunned by her peers for calling the police. She remains silent and sinks into depression. Melinda is befriended by Heather, a new girl, who clings to Melinda only to ditch her for "the Marthas". As Melinda's depression deepens, she begins to skip school, withdrawing from her parents and other authority figures, who see her silence as means of getting "attention". Only in Mr. Freeman's art class can Melinda express her inner struggle, as he shows interest in her artwork. She slowly befriends her lab partner, David Petrakis, who encourages her to speak up for herself.
Throughout the school year, the past unfolds and Melinda gains the strength to confront what happened to her.[2] Melinda learns that "IT", Andy Evans, goes to her school. Eventually, she allows memories of what happened the night she was raped to surface. But she remains silent. However, when her ex-best friend, Rachel, starts to date Andy, Melinda feels obligated to warn her. At first, Rachel ignores the warning. Melinda tries again, telling Rachel that Andy raped her at the party, but Rachel does not believe her.

Lauren Jul 29, 2008

Following a traumatic incident at a party the summer before her freshman year of high school, Melinda Sordino calls the cops, who come and break up the party. This causes Melinda's friends to all reject her. With the help of her art teacher, Mr Freeman, Melinda begins to regain both her self-confidence and some of her old friends, but none of them understand what actually happened that night at the party. Will Melinda ever gain the courage to speak up?

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