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Speak Paperback – 1 Apr 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Apr 2001
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Product details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014131088X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141310886
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 1.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,287,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Grips right from the start. (The Parents Guide)

Anderson holds the reader's sympathy with impressive skill in this classic 'outsider' story. (The Herald)

Highly recommended. (The Scotsman)

An outstanding book which invites the reader's admiration and empathy rather than pity. (Books For Keeps)

A dark but ultimately uplifting story. (Writers News)

A stunning first novel... Anderson infuses the narrative with a wit that sustains the heroine through her pain and holds readers' empathy. The book's overall gritty realism and Melinda's hard-won metamorphosis will leave readers touched and inspired. (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY)

Nails the high school experience cold. An uncannily funny book even as it plumbs the darkness, Speak will hold readers from first word to last. (THE HORN BOOK)

The plot is gripping and the characters are powerfully drawn, but it is its raw and unvarnished look at the dynamics of the high school experience that makes this a novel that will be hard for readers to forget. (KIRKUS REVIEWS)

Strong and searching novels that cover very difficult scenarios...The humanity of the protagonist really shines through in the expert characterisation and writing, making these novels really challenge the reader's empathy. I would strongly recommend these stark and thought provoking titles. (The Bookseller, 13th April 2001)

Anderson has produced an outstanding book which invites the reader's admiration and empathy ... The power of Speak to evoke a positive response in spite of harrowing realism lies in Anderson's poetic prose and witty first person narration. (BfK, July 2001)

Highly recommended. (THE SCOTSMAN) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A powerful novel with a believable, bitterly ironic teenage heroine, following her through her first year at high school, from outcast to acceptance. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 27 Sept. 2001
Format: Paperback
Melinda hates high school already. Her old friends won't speak to her because she ruined a dumb high school party by calling the cops. But only Melinda knows why. And meanwhile, she's not saying. And her life is cruddy. Her parents. Well. Who in their right mind would speak to them? And her new so called friend is just with her until she finds someone cool to hang out with. Melinda knows she [feels like rubbish]. But can she pull herself out of it and speak out about the truth? This book shows you just how vile school can be. And even though it's set in the states, the issues of friendship and sex it tackles are really well written. It's funny, it's brave. It's one for the girls, but it's not a girly book. It's honest. As a school librarian, i've passed this to a couple of keen reading girls, and they both read it it one night, coming back to say how they loved it. Excellent, and recommended for any school library.
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Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this novel. After glancing at its first few pages, I found myself competing with my youngest sister of reading it who was in Lower School. As a teenager, portraying a teen's mind is a difficult feat. It has never been told in a form that closely relates to today's teenagers like this one. Anderson has revealed it all through Melinda, a quiet and witty character who has become more of a herione in her own story. An outcast, 'artistic' and terribly rejected freshmen girl attending a highschool of students that detest the sight of her is a bitter, yet perfect, setting for this one girl's true-to-life story. Her untalkative, solitary, yet charming character will glue the readers' eyes to every page. What makes this novel unique is that it stabs the reader in the heart: you become Melinda and react similarly to situations inside the novel while you read her world. It allows readers to experience what it feels like to be that person, a person who's ruined reputation was made by her one (desperate) phone call. You will feel pity for Melinda, learn and grow to actually cheer on her personal or social successes, and smile contently whenever she cleverly uses imagery when comparing something to another ie. a greek-god teenager, her volcanic-expolding parents at the dinner table. I tell you, this novel is the bomb of all (short) teenager novels. It will make you inseparable from reading it. A clever piece of work that must be owned by any teenager or adult. It's that good.
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By A Customer on 20 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
I started reading this book on the way to work and I got so into it, I just wanted to "disappear" and continue reading all day. It is one of the best books I've read this year, and one of the best so far in my life I think. I am truly impressed by the way Laurie Halse Andersen mixes irony, humour, insights and the deepest pain. Anybody who's gone through school will recognise _something_ in it, even though you may not have been in Melinda's shoes, and anybody's who's still in school will find comfort in it. It's one of those books you like so much that you don't how to describe it because whatever you say, you feel it's not enough. It was a couple of weeks since I finished it, but it's still on my mind. And I've convinced a couple of my friends to read it as well, and they loved it too!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book incredibly intense and moving. It's not an easy read. I knew something bad had happened to Melinda, but wasn't sure what until around the middle, when I began to suspect what had happened to her. I'm so glad Laurie Halse Anderson didn't go into too much detail about the situation, especially because of the age range this book is directed at. There are so many issues that are explored in this book including pain, friendship, suffering but on a positive note it is also a story that shows growth and strength.

Melinda is the main character and the narrator of the story. Something had happened to her when she was 13 and begins high school as an outcast as she can't move beyond what tragically happened to her. She phoned the police at the party she was at, leaving her shunned by her peers. Melinda barely speaks leading her peers to think she's weird, and her parents and teachers wondering what is wrong with her. Is she just a difficult teenager or is there something much more than Melinda lets on. When the boy who raped her begins to date her ex best friend Melinda can't just stand back and let the same thing happen.

I thought despite the tough subject matter this book at times was funny. I think with an intense read like this, some light relief is much needed. I also liked Melinda as a narrator. The story coming from a teenage perspective makes it much easier for teenagers to relate to. Obviously, it's not always light and humorous. There's a section where Melinda considers suicide. Laurie Halse Anderson has done an amazing job with Speak. It's considered and extraordinary.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The moment Melinda Sordino starts her first day at Merryweather High, she knows she is an outcast.
The story starts a few months after something traumatic happened to Melinda. But what happened to her is not revealed until later on as the story slowly unfolds.
All we know at first is that she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops and now her old friends won't talk to her and people she doesn't know glare at her. No one knows why she called the police, and she can't get out the words to explain. Her parents are too wrapped up in themselves to notice that something is wrong and her only so-called friend, Heather, is just with her until she finds someone cool to hang out with.
So Melinda retreats into her head and becomes silent on the outside. But it's not so comfortable in her head, either - there's something banging around in there that she doesn't want to think about. But, try as she might, it just won't go away...

What makes this novel unique is the inner dialogue of Melinda Sordino. It has been written in the first person narrative from her point of view. Melinda has a wonderfully sarcastic sense of humour and her thoughts really made me laugh. She is very opinionated and outspoken but she keeps these thoughts to herself and utters not one word out loud. She is also suffering inside and being tortured by a memory that she desperately wants to forget.

This book is very special to me. This is the only book that I have found that relates to me in every was possible. In a way I feel as if it has been written for me!

Melinda Sordino begins to suffer from Selective Mutism after a traumatic experience. This is a condition that means a person cannot talk in most social situations and to almost everyone except a handful of people.
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