Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Book Source: library
Normally, this is the part of the review where I give the synopsis. However, the point of a synopsis is to give an idea of what the book's about, and the point of Speak is that neither reader nor characters actually knows. All we know is that something terrible happened to Melinda the summer before ninth grade, something that has forced her into nearly total silence. Her friends have abandoned her, her parents and teachers are giving up, and not even she knows whether she'll ever talk about what actually occurred.
Speak is about dark, hard issues, but it's not depressing. One of the things that makes Melinda such a compelling character is her voice, which is dry and sarcastic as well as brutally honest. Her sense of humour gives the reader hope that there's still something in her worth fighting for, a strength that has survived her trauma. Even though her actions aren't always rational, they're easy to understand and her story is one that a lot of teens will sympathize with.
Anderson's book is suspenseful, emotionally gripping, and beautifully crafted, and I thoroughly recommend it, especially for fans of Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why. I also suggest reading the Platinum Edition, which contains an extensive author interview. For more information on Laurie Halse Anderson and her books, visit her website.