Jan 26, 2010

Review | Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Since the beginning of the school year, high school freshman Melinda has found that it's been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud: "My throat is always sore, my lips raw.... Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze.... It's like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis."
What could have caused Melinda to suddenly fall mute? Could it be due to the fact that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the seniors' big end-of-summer party? Or maybe it's because her parents' only form of communication is Post-It notes written on their way out the door to their nine-to-whenever jobs. While Melinda is bothered by these things, deep down she knows the real reason why she's been struck mute...

Thoughts: I'd seen this book at many bookstores, heard of it from many people who read it for school, but I really had no idea what it was about. It was one of those books I must've read about once and stored the image of the cover into the back of my mind, because when I saw it at the library, I couldn't remember anything about it, except that it was on my TBR list. So naturally, I picked it up.

This is a very quick and easy to read book (or in my case, listen to.) It starts off a bit slow, but the unknown reason to why Melinda will hardly speak, encouraged me to want to continue listening to it. As soon as I heard her mention "it" though, the mystery dissolved and I knew exactly why Melinda wouldn't speak. And why Andy Evans was the one to blame. And that kept me listening to it.

Melinda is cynical, sarcastic, depressing, angsty. I didn't like her at all. But I understood her. I can't say I could relate to her or any of the characters in this book. I could relate to the situations though, and to her feelings.

This was the first book I read written by Anderson and I liked how she tackled an important and tough issue. I currently have another one of her books on my desk, and I hope I can get to it soon enough.

I thought this book was well written, although at times it seemed a bit unrealistic. The beginning is a bit boring but it gets better towards the end and I would recommend it to anyone middle school and older.


  1. Great review Cindy :) I'm actually reading the book right now, so it's nice to hear some thoughts!

  2. I haven't actually read this book, but I know what it's about and I watched the movie. It is a really rough topic and the mystery is there. I read Wintergirls by her- that one was well done too, puts you right in the middle of everything.

  3. great review! I actually had to read this book for an English class and never forgot it.

  4. It's been a few years since I read this book, but I agree with you. It took awhile for me to get into it, but I found it to be pretty good, despite the tough issues being tackled. I enjoyed Laurie's writing style & I definitely need to check out some of her other works. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I read this book when I was in the 8th grade. Up until that point I'd never stumbled across something so ground breaking and real. This is a tremendous novel.