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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 Unrealistic
This book made me mad. It's well written, and has an OK premise, but it's extremely unrealistic. Adult reviewers stating that this book is so sad because it's something that could happen inreal life must have had the most horrible childhoods in existance. I am extremely thankful to know that I have such good people in my life, and can rest assured that I would never be...
Published on May 27 2004 by Katie


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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 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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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
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
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Silent Crescendo, Sept. 2 2010
By 
BeatleBangs1964 (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Speak (Hardcover)
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 Learning to SPEAK, July 8 2004
By 
This review is from: Speak (Paperback)
At first I wasn't even sure what this book by author Laurie Halse Anderson was about but when I saw it at a bookstore one day I decided to give it a try as I'd heard nothing but good things about it from both critics and casual readers. I don't read much YA books anymore but I really wish I could have discovered this back when I was in High School still. Then maybe I would have felt less alone for I can relate to the protagonist in many ways. I was somewhat of an outcast myself and while I didn't have to live with the secret Melinda Sordino does in this story I started my freshman year in a strange new town not knowing a single soul, which can be a very scary thing for school is no walk in the park, and just getting by can sometimes be tougher than getting good grades...
"Speak" briefly follows Melinda's first year of High School which is sometimes humorous and sometimes dark. She's mostly a mute, talking as little as possible, and has little to no friends as the year progresses. The now popular Nicole, who had been her best friend since they were kids, has turned her back on Melinda, as has everyone else, it seems, for she'd ruined their end-of-the-summer party by calling the cops on them. But what they don't know is why she did it and the secret she's had to harbor within herself since that horrible night. So to sum this up, "Speak" is pretty much a journey through Melinda's struggles to SPEAK and to let the truth be known before it eats her up inside; preventing her from moving on and living the rest of her life.
I usually read fantasy and horror novels but I found this to be very engrossing, and I believe everyone who reads this young girl's "fictional" experiences can relate to it in one way or another.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Speak is Captivatingly Humorous, June 25 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Speak (Hardcover)
Speak is a truly remarkable novel. I had to read it for school, and, oblivious to the fact that it is pure genius, didn't want to at first. However, after reading 18 pages worth on the way home from the bookstore, I couldn't put it down. It kept me on my toes. I read it the next day during breakfast- even while brushing my teeth! (Don't ask me how, but I did- honest.) I applaud its combination of wit and seriousness. Although it's about a serious issue (rape), Melinda's sarcasm adds a touch of needed humor. Speak is about Melinda, a girl who was raped at 13 at a senior party last August. She called the cops, and now no one at Merryweather High will speak to her- all except for David, her lab partner, and Heather, an exchange student from Ohio. Melinda is an outcast, choosing not to speak at all- not even to her parents. She tells no one of last summer's incident, and has a few "run-ins" with the Beast himself. This book has believable characters and an enjoyable plot. I highly recommend Speak to anyone looking for a good read. I would most definately read this book again. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars because, well, it's awesome! Outstanding job, Laurie Anderson! I can't wait to read more of your literary masterpieces!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book EVER, May 30 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Speak (Paperback)
Speak is the Best Book you could ever read. In speak the main character is Melinda and everyone hates her. She crashed an end of summer party by calling the cops, but no one knows why she called them. Also she is having inner problems with herself on what to do and what not to do and other stuff like that. The whole high school is against her which makes it even harder to get through freshman year.

I rate this book a 5 because it was really good. The way it was written on the page made it more fun to read by having paragraph breaks in a different kind of way. Also the whole plot of the story was cool. It was about something that I've never read before. The author puts you into the character fully and it's like you've known Melinda all her life.

A scene that was really heartbreaking was when a girl from Ohio, Heather, moves her and desides to be Melinda's friend. Then halfway through the year, Heather gives up on Melinda because "she was such a party-pooper". So now Melinda has no friends. Another scene is when Melinda and her ex-bestfriend are in study hall passing notes about the party. Melinda spills everything out but doesn't say who rapes her. Finally she passes a note saying it was Rachels boyfriend who hurt her and Rachel won't believe her.

To wrap things up, this was a 5 star book (ranked by me) because it really draws you into the story. This story would be perfect for anyone from the age of 13 to whenever. It is a really good book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Unrealistic, May 27 2004
This review is from: Speak (Paperback)
This book made me mad. It's well written, and has an OK premise, but it's extremely unrealistic. Adult reviewers stating that this book is so sad because it's something that could happen inreal life must have had the most horrible childhoods in existance. I am extremely thankful to know that I have such good people in my life, and can rest assured that I would never be alone through such an upsetting time.
I can't understand why Melinda was so sad about losing such horrible friends. Talk about a blessing. Just because they didn't know the whole story behind her decision to call the police does not excuse their behavior. Although I can understand one or two bad friends deciding to cut someone out of their lives for a stupid reason, an entire group of people casting someone aside is complete nonsense. I was offended by the fact that I was supposed to be deeply affected and think that most schools and teenagers are like the ones in Melinda's life.
On a positive note, Melinda was realistic. On the off chance that anyone could ever actually be unlucky enough to be in her predicament, I'm sure that many would behave just as she did. Her actions, choices, and the things she thought were understandable, and made the story bearable. I only made it through the entire thing because I actually felt so deeply attatched to her.
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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Paperback - April 25 2006)
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