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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Silent Crescendo
Melinda Sordino, 14 starts her freshman year of high school under a cloud. Ostracized by her peers for calling the police during a summer party she attended, Melinda is forced to fend for herself to a large extent.

Melinda's parents don't really communicate with her. Melinda's behavior hollers trauma - the extended silence and change in eating patterns as well...
Published on Sept. 2 2010 by BeatleBangs1964

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book, not as good Audiobook
When Melinda calls the cops at an end of the summer party, she causes herself to become an outcast of her high school before she's even attended her first day. Taking place over the course of the school year, Melinda slowly begins to reveal what happened at the fateful party. This leads to a revelation that by design is anti-climatic as Melinda finally can begin to cope...
Published on June 5 2004 by Lane Young


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Silent Crescendo, Sept. 2 2010
By 
BeatleBangs1964 (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Melinda Sordino, 14 starts her freshman year of high school under a cloud. Ostracized by her peers for calling the police during a summer party she attended, Melinda is forced to fend for herself to a large extent.

Melinda's parents don't really communicate with her. Melinda's behavior hollers trauma - the extended silence and change in eating patterns as well as her poor grades are all red flags. One can cheer Melinda's logical refusal to answer rhetorical questions. It does make one wonder what the point of rhetorical questions are since the one asking them usually doesn't want an answer. It irked me that Melinda's parents would ask such foolish questions which in turn precluded any chance at discourse. It bothered me that Melinda said they were "heartbroken" once Melinda learned "the Santa lie," as she rightfully called it. It was sad that Santa was really more for them. (In "Twisted," the parents cling to Santa long after the kids wisely ditched him once they learned the truth. Santa is ostensibly for the kids, but really for the adults involved in the charade).

Melinda has also become quasi-mute. Only one girl attempts to befriend her. Heather, a transfer student is the only person who attempts to befriend Melinda. It turns out Heather has an agenda - she wants to be accepted by a clique called the Marthas (after Martha Stewart) who are held in high regard by teachers and administrators alike. The Marthas are known for doing home ec projects for the community and creating party motifs for school functions. Heather feels Melinda's artistic skills will give her a leg up with the Martha crowd.

There are notes of humor that offset the grim and serious subjects covered in this book. The school board didn't want to spend money on changing the school uniform colors when the issue of choosing a new mascot came up. The high school principal is humorously named Principal Principal. Melinda's art teacher, the aptly named Mr. Freeman, encourages his students to free themselves of inhibitions through art. He assigns each student an object to create in some artistic medium. Melinda's assignment is a tree. (Landscaping and trees also crop up in "Twisted" and lanscaping plays a significant role in both of these books). Mr. Freeman is a delightful character and is also a sympathetic ear for his students. He has a brilliant way of lashing out at injustice - he inserts rude caricatures of school board members who have made budget cuts into the school art program.

A kind classmate named David Petrakis also stands up for Melinda. He even stages a brilliant coup d'état in their government class. He brilliantly rebuts the dictatorial tone their government teacher takes when he closes down a debate simply because his students are offering differing viewpoints. David also encourages Melinda to speak up and provides her with the tools to do so.

In time, Melinda discovers her true voice. The writing style of giving readers a glimpse into Melinda's mind and guiding readers with her thoughts make for very effective story telling. Readers can feel Melinda's rage at those who have harmed her. Over time, her character builds in strength and momentum.

I just loved it when Melinda, drawing upon her newly discovered resouces tells Heather that she refuses to let her use her to get in with the Marthas. After Heather drops her as a friend, she has the temerity to come to Melinda when she needs something. Melinda wisely turns down Heather's offer to redecorate her room and help her with a school project the Marthas have taken on. After Heather had rebuffed her once in the book, readers will want to cheer Melinda's refusal to accept crumbs from a fair weather friend. (I just loved watching Melinda tell Heather what for in the film version of this book).

Readers are not informed as to what trauma caused Melinda's quasi-mutism. The incidents and reasons for that are unfurled as the story rolls along. Simon & Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" underscores this book.

Laurie Halse Anderson is a genius, plain and simple. This is a very serious and important book that I would highly recommend to families, educators and medical professionals. This is a book that is screaming for attention for book discussion groups. This is a book everyone needs as the serious issues it covers are relevant and timely. This is a book for everyone.

I also highly recommend "Twisted" for the same reasons.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It was good, May 18 2014
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This review is from: Speak (Paperback)
I enjoyed the book throughly, plot was kind of slow but the end was very good. Anderson gives an interesting outlook on the thoughts of a teen going through a difficult time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars, Jan. 22 2014
This review is from: Speak (Kindle Edition)
I read this book when i was fifteen. I still remember it being one of the greatest and most heart wrenching books out there. You will certainly cry. Good thing the ending is good!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite novel, April 26 2012
This review is from: Speak (Paperback)
This was probably my favourite book that I read all year during grade eight. I found that it helped me learn to research more about things like sexual abuse, drugs, and rape.
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5.0 out of 5 stars this book was awsome, Aug. 6 2006
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This review is from: Speak (Paperback)
this book was a little confusing in the begining but the middle and the end we awsome and i couldnt put the book down......it was like they wrote a book about me....i could relate so much.....i love books like this and if any1 knows 1 they should tell me! well you should read this book and dont put it down till your dun reading it!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Whatever you say can and will be used against you, July 19 2004
By 
This review is from: Speak (Paperback)
Speak is an amazing read for anyone. While it is targeted towards Young Adults, I think it would be a good book for parents to read as well. Perhaps parents could read more YA books and it might actually give them a better understanding of their own teenagers. This gives the reader a good insight into the theory that there are two sides to every story. Not only does the unspoken character have to deal with the horrid aftermath of rape pulling at her emotional soul, but she can't talk about it to anyone. Fear of rejection, peer pressure, and teen angst play a major part in this powerful coming-of-age story
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mrs Q: Book Addict, Nov. 20 2010
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Pages: 230
Source: Personal Copy
Category: Young Adult
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Melinda Sordino is a typical high school teenager. She's entered the 9th grade, and she harbors a huge secret. One that is tearing her apart. Her first summer high school party ended with Melinda calling the police. Melinda starts her first year as an outcast. She can't speak to her friends, they're not talking to her, they consider her a snitch and teaser her every chance she gets. She can't speak to her parents, they're never home and Melinda is left alone, money left on the table to order food. Melinda has no one to turn to, she trusts no one. Melinda said nothing when students threw food at her, she said nothing when her best friend turned on her and told her she 'hated' her, she said nothing when she was abandoned by all. While everyone else seems to go on with their lives, Melinda is struck. She's stuck with her secret, she is stuck in her life. Melinda said nothing...while she was breaking inside.

Overall Impression:

I first heard about this book during 'Banned Books' week. I thought I really should read this one for myself, and then form an opinion on it. Honestly, this is a must read. High School for many teenagers is a bully's playground. In this novel, we really see the hurt Melinda is facing. While she wants to say something, she feels that she has no one to say it to. She is alone is a world that is out to get her. I loved how the novel really gets into Melinda's mind. The reader really sees the complex emotions she is dealing with. This is a very unique coming-of-age story. One that i'm sure will help teenagers in similar situations. This book tackles a very difficult subject that should not be ignored. When I see young teenagers and pre-teens committing suicide because of tragic situations, it breaks my heart. Bullying is on a much wider scale, teenagers are easily accessible and parents are not around as much as before. This books deals with much more than bullying. I highly recommend this one. This is one for any age. One that will keep you thinking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, Dec 29 2009
By 
K. Edwards (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Speak (Paperback)
Melinda is an outcast at school because she called the cops at the big end-of-year party. No one understands, and Melinda can't explain, because she can't seem to get the words out: "It is getting harder to talk. My throat is always sore, my lips raw. When I wake up in the morning, my jaws are clenched so tight I have a headache."

Worse, she keeps running into IT at school. She hates him, wants to kill him, but just ends up running away instead. Now Rachel is dating IT, and Melinda is worried. Will she be able to speak in order to protect her former best friend?

"Speak" was published over 10 years ago, but it continues to be extremely popular with teens, due to its genuine language and honest treatment of rape. This book is also used in many school programs.

This book is often challenged or banned based on its content. Although Anderson's treatment of the subject of rape is honest and authentic, it is not graphic.

"Speak" is compelling and powerful - a must-read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, Oct. 24 2008
This review is from: Speak (Paperback)
SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson is a riveting, compassionate book about a teenage outcast.

Melinda Sordino destroyed her reputation before even setting foot in the dangerous halls of Merryweather High School. By calling the police at an end-of-summer bash, she is now officially considered a loser. With her old friends gone, Melinda no longer speaks to anyone; even her new "best friend," Heather.

This novel on self-discovery, empathy, and social acceptance is simply breathtaking.

Without a doubt, SPEAK is a phenomenal book. It is emotional, inspirational, gripping, and surprisingly funny. It is told from Melinda's poignant, outspoken point of view. Anderson perfectly depicts the cliques, heartbreaks, and reality of high school. This book will grip you from cover to cover.

SPEAK captured my heart with it's sarcastic sense of humor and perfect portrayal of high school. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a laugh, a tear, or anything in between.

Reviewed by: Tara - The Class
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars speak, July 19 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Speak (Paperback)
I recommend Speak for ages 13 and up, especially, if you are going into high school. It talks about first experiences in high school, the struggles with her classes and teachers, and includes her experiences on the bus. "The bus picks up students in groups of four or five. As they walk down the aisle, people who were in my middle-school lab partners or gym buddies glare at me. I close my eyes. This is what I've been dreading. As we leave the last stop, I am the only person sitting alone." She met a new girl named Heather. "Another wounded zebra turns and smiles at me. She's packing at least five grand worth of orthodontia, but has great shoes. 'I'm Heather from Ohio', she says. 'I'm new here. Are you?' I don't answer. The lights dim and the indoctrination begins." This book gave me a heads up on what high school will be and some of the experience that an ordinary student would go through.
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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Paperback - April 25 2006)
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