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Cher-y-lynne {sher-uhl-lin} –noun 1. One who formerly sold and recommended children’s books at a bookstore; a specialist in young adult, middle grade, and picture books. 2. A para-educator at a middle school. 3. A struggling young adult writer. 4. A lover of chocolate and popcorn. Archaic: An Audiology and Speech Language Pathology major at Brigham Young University. Questions? Suggestions? Books you'd like me to review? E-mail me at cherylynne1 (at) gmail (dot) com.
This is a blog for my ranting, raving, and occasionally brilliant opinions. You have been warned. Enter at your own risk.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Book Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. New York: Penguin, 2006.

I wasted the last weeks of August watching bad cartoons. I didn’t go to the mall, the lake, or the pool, or answer the phone. I have entered high school with the wrong hair, the wrong clothes, the wrong attitude. And I don’t have anyone to sit with.
I am Outcast.
The kids behind me laugh so loud I know they’re laughing about me. I can’t help myself. I turn around. It’s Rachel, surrounded by a bunch of kids wearing clothes that most definitely did not come from the EastSide Mall. Rachel Bruin, my ex-best friend. She stares at something above my left ear. Words climb up my throat. This was the girl who suffered through Brownies with me, who taught me how to swim, who understood about my parents, who didn’t make fun of my bedroom. If there is anyone in the entire galaxy I am dying to tell what really happened, it’s Rachel. My throat burns.
Her eyes meet mine for a second. “I hate you,” she mouths silently.

Something horrific has happened to Melinda over the summer. So horrific that all of her friends, and tons of people she doesn't know, have turned on her. And she has turned into herself, refusing to speak to nearly everyone.

Incredibly witty, even though it deals with such a dark and depressing subject. This is one of the defining novels in the YA genre. YA voice doesn't get any better than this. It's a character-driven novel, but the suspense is never lacking. I couldn't wait to get to the next page. I loved Melinda as if she were one of my best friends. I never got tired of listening to her. She is a smart, sharp girl going through a terrifying experience. I related to her. I loved her.

I would definitely recommend this to older kids, though (13+), considering the reveal at the end. Also a wonderful choice for book clubs. Will boys read it? Probably not, unfortunately. But girls will eat it up, and I think it's a great novel for helping them to work through their own issues.

And of course, if you're serious about studying YA literature, you have to read it. It's one of the standards.


  1. I really liked this book and just lent it to one of my neighbors. Anxiously awaiting the report back!

  2. I can't imagine anyone not liking it, unless they have objections to the content. It's one of those books that I fell in love with from the first sentence.

  3. I've been wanting to read this one. I'll have to put it next on my list.

  4. I'm 100% positive you'll like it, Karen. Laurie Halse Anderson has the same strengths as Ann Dee Ellis, strong character voices and suspense that drives you crazy. I'm really anxious to read Wintergirls, which is also supposed to be good.