Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Book Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.

Overview: 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.

Review: I read this about a month ago, but I completely forgot to write up this review. One thing that surprised me? Why hadn't I ever picked this up before? I really wish I had read this as a teen and not an adult because it really would have illuminated a lot of issues going around at the time. Reading it as an adult, it was easy to connect the dots and what happened to Melinda. So this wasn't a plot-driven book, mainly an issues book with such a rich and distinct voice that keeps you reading.

Melinda's perspective despite the ordeal she's been through is authentic and at times, pretty funny. I loved her view of high school and found that many teens would identify with her. This really lightened the issue enough that it wasn't a 'depressing' book. Rather I found it pretty hopeful.

My favorite part was the last scene of the book. When you hit the last word, you instantly know this book is going to be a reread. That's how profound it was. Teenage me would batter this book to wrinkles rereading and picking out favorite lines.

This is probably why I struggle so much writing contemporary, because my own stuff doesn't have that 'profoundness' or takeaway 'feeling' that my teenage self has associated contemporary with. At least not yet, anyway. For me, this subgenre is like diving into water, coming back for air, and realizing the world is different even though it's been less than thirty seconds and every thing is still ordinary. The only difference is the way in which you're seeing it.


  1. I haven't heard of this one before, but it sounds really good. I know what you mean about struggling with YA contemporary. There are so many amazing books out there with so many powerful messages. It's easy to feel lost in that sea.