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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson – Review by Angela, Teen Blogger

“I feel the frozen stillness melt down through the inside of me, dripping shards of ice that vanish in a puddle of sunlight on the stained floor. Words float up.” (pg. 198) of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.


Have you ever felt a strong urge to say something but you can’t?

The following piece is my own re-enactment of the protagonist, Malinda’s thoughts. It is written in third person, and I am the narrator. 

Sometimes itSpeak - book cover seemed that she was two different people, one being the carefree self before the incident. But things were different in high school, and it was no secret. She recalled the painful experiences of her freshman year…

 Malinda Sordino entered her first year of high school, friendless. Her former best friends were all absorbed by the rival groups, and that left her, clan-less. Her ex-friends hated her. Everyone hated her.

She could have just left the party, if she didn’t like it. Why did she have to call the police?

Say something, Malinda. Her parents urged.

You are just too depressing for me, Heather, her new pretentious friend complained. Maybe we shouldn’t hang out.

When I said oral I meant oral! Mr. Neck bellowed and took her to the office. This girl has no respect.

Why? The principal asked.

What did you do to her? What is wrong with the school? Her dad yelled furiously.

Still, she said nothing. Nothing. Sometimes, silence is better than words.

Mr. Freeman encouraged, you’ve chosen your destiny. Now, draw a tree. What do you imagine it to be? Give it some thoughts. You can do better than that. I know you can.

Would you like to come over to my house to finish the lab? Dave kindly offered. I could help you with the assignment.

Silence, no words to come.

She watched the world as it went by. Surely no one would notice if she disappeared, soundlessly.

Why is Rachel dating Andy Evans? I need to warn her, she thought. So she did. But Rachel was furious. How dare she? Pathetic and shameless.

What did you say to Rachel? Andy implied. Tell the whole school that you lied.

No. No no no.

Speak. Let the whole world know your story.


******Spoiler Alert******

This novel allowed us to put ourselves in the shoe of a girl who was raped. Her sorrow and her struggles heavily affected her life. Malinda was helpless in the beginning of the novel, with parents who failed at being supportive and friends who turned their backs on her. Her new friend Heather was self-centered and oblivious to her feelings. And teachers like Mr. Neck just weren’t helping. Through the guidance of Mr. Freeman (the art teacher) and the support of her valiant lab partner Dave Petrakis, Melinda gradually found the courage to speak out.

It was not until she spoke to Rachel about what happened at the party, in which Andy violated her, that she started to speak. And Rachel believed her in the end and spread the story. Now the whole world knows and everyone is willing to help her.

*****End of Spoiler Alert*****


In my opinion, it is the author’s intention to encourage us to speak out about our problems. It is best to let others know and seek help. There are more supportive people out there than you might think. Don’t be afraid. After all, how can your family and friends do anything if they know nothing about it?

This is perhaps one of the most meaningful books I have ever read. On the surface it seems that there aren’t a lot of ups and downs in the plot, but the story conveys a very powerful message. I would recommend this book to almost everyone who is comfortable with reading about sensitive teenage issues.

You can also watch the movie, Speak (2004). It is a pretty accurate interpretation of the book and provides a visualization of the characters’ interactions.


Teen Blogger

 Editor's Note: if you need to speak to someone but you don't know where to turn, try calling one of these helpful numbers.


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