Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Puffin (first published October 22nd 1999)
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.
“Speak” is a story of a teenage rape victim, who is forced not only to keep a painful secret and live through shame and guilt, but to face being ostracized at school and ignored and misunderstood by her parents, school teachers, and authorities. The story is so touching and Melinda’s thoughts and inner struggles are so skillfully conveyed, that you can’t stop yourself from rooting for her and admiring her strength and courage to finally face her victimizer and succeed.
I liked the subplot with Melinda’s Art teacher. I thought it really gave him depth and overall, I liked his character and how real he seemed. He didn’t seem flat or false. While the high school social structure was cliché, I found it fitting for the story and I was never bothered by it—except when Heather was being a butthead, and Rachel, too.
I always found myself under a cloud after I put it down.
For those of you who haven’t read it, I urge you to do so. It’s a short book, only a few pages shy of 200. It’s a remarkable story and worth the time.