Sunday, October 23, 2011

SPEAK-Book Review


By Laura Halse Anderson
240 pages
Ages 12 and up
From Inside Cover:
The ninth graders are herded into the auditorium. We fall into clans: Jock, Country Clubbers, Idiot Savants, Cheerleaders, Human Waste, Eurotrash, Future Fascists of America, Big Hair Chix, the Marthas, Suffering Artists, Goths, Shredders. I am clanless. I wasted the last weeks of August watching bad cartoons. I didn't go to the mall, the lake, or the pool, or answer the phone.I have entered high school with the wrong hair, the wrong clothes, the wrong attitude. And I don't have anyone to sit with.
From her first moment at Merryweather High, Melinda Sordino knows she an outcast. She busted an end of the summer party by calling the cops-a major infraction in high school society-so her old friends won't talk to her, and the people she doesn't know glare at her. She retreats into her head, where the lies and hypocrisies of high school stand in stark relief to her own silence,making her all the more mute. But it's not so comfortable in her head, either-there's something banging around in there that she doesn't want to think about. Try as she might to avoid it, it won't go away, until there is a painful confrontation. Once that happens, she can't be silent-she must speak the truth.
My thoughts:
I really wanted to read a challenged book for Banned Book Week but was having a hard time deciding which one. I was subbing at our middle school library and much to my surprise saw this book on the shelf. So I guess you could say the book choose me.
Melinda is a 9th grader going into high school. A scary event without drama. But during the summer while Melinda was at a party she was involved in a situation and called the cops. We the reader are left in the dark for most of the story as to exactly what transpired but we know the Melinda has been emotionally damaged and lost all of her friends. Her depression and isolation is heart breaking. What I found most frustrating was her parents and their lack of reaction to her drastic mood and personality change.  Thank goodness Melinda finds a way to deal with her hurt and grief through an art class and a perceptive teacher.
This book belongs in school libraries and public libraries. Parents should be reading this book with their daughters. It's true to life and could prove to be helpful in social situations.
I am overjoyed that it's in our middle school library and I hope many girls check it out and take something away from Melinda's story.

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