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Speak Paperback – 20 Mar 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Children's Books (20 Mar. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340950773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340950777
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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)

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of my favourite books.
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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
Phew, this was a really hard read for me. So emotional on a multitude of levels, taking into account the subject matter I found this particular scenario totally scary as I have 3 daughters and the oldest is only a few years younger than Melinda in this book.

Written in first person narrative from Melinda's point of view. The reader is dropped into the middle of something but is not made aware of exactly what has happened until later in the story. From the beginning we establish that Melinda is isolated due to an event that has occurred within the last few months.

I have to say I did not find Melinda particularly like-able at the beginning, before the story unfolded, due to her complete lack of enthusiasm for anything, I found her hard to relate to, which I guess is part of the point. The events leading up to this point and her current emotional state are revealed slowly..

The omnipresent cliques are portrayed in unnerving accuracy. These stereotypes dominate events throughout life not just in school. We are shown through the narrative that people will always believe what they want to, not necessarily the truth. There are always two sides to a story although it is rarely acknowledged. People always side with the popular clique and don't bother asking questions that would upset the status quo.

Plot teasers are placed throughout the narrative making the reader imagine the worst case scenario. I found the reference to book banning totally ironic in light of recent events.

The imagery was very powerful making the tension palpable from between the lines. The narrative contained terrific use of metaphor to convey the isolation and desolation that Melinda felt.

I was left speechless at the relationship that Melinda had with her parents.
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