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Home » Books » Children's » Fiction » Social Situations » Adolescence

Speak

By Laurie Halse Anderson

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Format: Hardcover, 198 pages
Published In: USA, 01 October 1999

Product Description:

In a stunning first novel, Anderson uses keen observations and vivid imagery to pull readers into the head of an isolated teenager. Divided into the four marking periods of an academic year, the novel, narrated by Melinda Sordino, begins on her first day as a high school freshman. No one will sit with Melinda on the bus. At school, students call her names and harass her; her best friends from junior high scatter to different cliques and abandon her. Yet Anderson infuses the narrative with a wit that sustains the heroine through her pain and holds readers' empathy. A girl at a school pep rally offers an explanation of the heroine's pariah status when she confronts Melinda about calling the police at a summer party, resulting in several arrests. But readers do not learn why Melinda made the call until much later: a popular senior raped her that night and, because of her trauma, she barely speaks at all. Only through her work in art class, and with the support of a compassionate teacher there, does she begin to reach out to others and eventually find her voice." Though the symbolism is sometimes heavy-handed, it is effective. The ending, in which her attacker comes after her once more, is the only part of the plot that feels forced. But the book's overall gritty realism and Melinda's hard-won metamorphosis will leave readers touched and inspired. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times bestselling author of books for kids of all ages--including Fever 1793, Chains, Twisted, and many others. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous national and state awards, as well as international recognition. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Anderson was honored with the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award given by the YALSA division of the American Library Association for her "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature."Anderson was born in Potsdam, New York in 1961. Growing up, she loved reading and listening to family stories. She graduated from Georgetown University in 1984. Before becoming a full-time writer, she was freelance journalist, and then worked part-time at a bookstore to earn money while working on her fiction. Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in northern New York, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes.

Reviews

PW said of this stunning first novel narrated by a rape survivor, "Anderson infuses the narrative with a wit that sustains the heroine through her pain and holds readers' empathy." Ages 12--up. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Gr 7 Up-Young, talented actress Mandy Siefried becomes Melinda, a troubled teen who struggles to cope after a rape, as she reads Laurie Halse Anderson's award-winning novel (Farrar, 1999). Although Melinda calls the police, she remains silent about the incident even with her parents and friends. Siefried's expressive voice depicts the tender, insecure youth and her freshman year at high school. This compelling novel presents a realistic portrayal of life in a contemporary high school. The narrator reads at a quick pace, pausing effectively to increase the dramatic mood. She easily recreates the sound of a power saw, and does a fine job of whining, singing, and presenting the cheerleaders' "Go horny Hornets." Listeners will become emotionally involved in this very effective presentation which is sure to please teen audiences.-Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Speaking out at the 'wrong' time-calling 911 from a teen drinking party-has made Melinda a social outcast; now she barely speaks at all. . .While Melinda's smart and savvy interior narrative slowly reveals the searing pain of that 911 night, it also nails the high-school experience cold. . .An uncannily funny book even as it plumbs the darkness, Speak will hold readers from first word to last. "Starred, The Horn Book"" -Speaking out at the 'wrong' time-calling 911 from a teen drinking party-has made Melinda a social outcast; now she barely speaks at all. . .While Melinda's smart and savvy interior narrative slowly reveals the searing pain of that 911 night, it also nails the high-school experience cold. . .An uncannily funny book even as it plumbs the darkness, Speak will hold readers from first word to last.- --Starred, The Horn Book "Speaking out at the 'wrong' time-calling 911 from a teen drinking party-has made Melinda a social outcast; now she barely speaks at all. . .While Melinda's smart and savvy interior narrative slowly reveals the searing pain of that 911 night, it also nails the high-school experience cold. . .An uncannily funny book even as it plumbs the darkness, Speak will hold readers from first word to last." --Starred, The Horn Book "Speaking out at the 'wrong' time-calling 911 from a teen drinking party-has made Melinda a social outcast; now she barely speaks at all. . .While Melinda's smart and savvy interior narrative slowly reveals the searing pain of that 911 night, it also nails the high-school experience cold. . .An uncannily funny book even as it plumbs the darkness, Speak will hold readers from first word to last." --Starred, "The Horn Book"

EAN: 9780374371524
ISBN: 0374371520
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Dimensions: 21.59 x 14.73 x 2.54 centimetres (0.34 kg)
Age Range: 5-9 years
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1 review(s)
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A great read that reminds us how hard High School can be... a basically good girl, struggling with the normal teenage pressures and angst -- and bearing a terrible secret -- endeavours to fit in (while maintaining her individuality) in a world of jocks and nerds and geeks and cheerleaders...the author's ability to not only create the world, but to raise our sympathy for the protagonist, make this an excellent read... a must for parents, teachers... and high school students too, actually!

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