Starting high school is stressful enough, even when you're not an Outcast, but for Melinda the beginning of freshman year is a disaster. An Event at the end of summer leaves her entering high school as the pariah of the freshman class. Even her best friend hates her; nobody understands the real story of that night.
But Melinda doesn't know how to share what really happened, and she's caught in a downward spiral of social anxiety, bad grades, and depression. She can't even admit to herself what she's gone through, much less Speak up to someone else. She locks herself away, mentally and physically, where she can't get hurt again.
In Speak, the story of one girl's struggle with acknowledging the truth, Laura Halse Anderson addresses issues that plague many teens all over the country. This book is useful both to those dealing with the aftereffects of trauma and those trying to understand what they are going through.
Speak is a truthful book. Melinda is a totally believable character. Anderson's portrayal of high school is honest and accurate in so many details, from “the first ten lies they tell you in high school” to grading Lunch and Clothes right along with Biology and Spanish. Whatever your high school experience, you will probably recognize Merryweather High as if it were your own.
The pacing in Speak is spot on as well. I could hardly put the book down. The truth unfolds little bits at a time, just enough to make me want to read “one more chapter” over and over. And I would gladly read the whole story over again.
I highly recommend this book.