General YA, Tough Stuff:


22 Nov 2015 by Becca, No Comments »
Speakby Laurie Halse Anderson
Published by Penguin Publishing Group Genres: General YA, Tough Stuff

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.

I will begin this review with a few particularly interesting quotes that say so much, despite the few words that Melinda actually verbalizes throughout the novel.

“It’s easier not to say anything. Shut your trap, button your lip, can it. All that crap you hear on TV about communication and expressing feelings is a lie. Nobody really wants to hear what you have to say.”

“When the pep rally ends, I am accidentally knocked down three rows of bleachers. If I ever form my own clan, we’ll be the Anti-Cheerleaders. We will not sit in the bleachers. We will wander underneath them and commit mild acts of mayhem.”

“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time. You’d be shocked at how many adults are really dead inside—walking through their days with no idea who they are, just waiting for a heart attack or cancer or a Mack truck to come along and finish the job. It’s the saddest thing I know.”

“I just thought of a great theory that explains everything. When I went to that party, I was abducted by aliens. They have created a fake Earth and fake high school to study me and my reactions. This certainly explains cafeteria food.”


How could one person say so much and nothing at all?

Melinda is an outcast during her freshman year in high school. She made a phone call that changed her life (and the lives of many others) but failed to verbalize the horrors that she experienced during one terrifying night in late August.

Melinda is real. Her internal dialogue is sarcastic and so very appropriate for a typical teen who is finding herself when everything in her life has changed.

Tasked with expressing emotion through the creation of a tree, much of her work echoes her sentiments during the passages. When she makes a “disposable” friend, small slivers of hope peak through, only to be thrown into new situations that send her through a roller coaster of emotion that could only be experienced by a teenager in the throes of adolescent life.



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