Literary Friday: Speak

Synopsis according to GoodReads:

"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." 


Speak is a quick read, and a compelling read, and will give you the feels in a way that is uncomfortable and spot-on. 


If you can believe it, this is Laurie Halse Anderson's debut novel (I can't- the author has such an excellent, nuanced grip on dialogue, both external and internal, imagery, high school politics, adult folly, and dramatic tension). 


I probably can't say enough positive things about this book. I read it in 2 days, and had a hard time putting it down to go to work and sleep. It made me cry, in part because of the story, and in part because Melinda's voice is so authentic.  It took me straight back to high school, in a way that no other contemporary YA has ever done before.


It's also uniquely awesome in that the heroine's journey is a solo one. She must do all the legwork in dealing and healing, just like real life (no magic bullets, no fairytale advice, no intervening savior). It's emotional and difficult and compelling, and the end gave me a moment just like this:



Read it. Let your teenage kids read it. Make your parents read it (assuming they enjoy contemporary YA). If Laurie Halse Anderson's other novels are this good, she'll be on my forever-favorite-authors list.

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