Book - 1999 | 1st ed
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A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect of Melinda's freshman year in high school.
Publisher: New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, c1999
Edition: 1st ed
Branch Call Number: FICTION AND PBK
Characteristics: 197 p. ; 22 cm
ISBN: 9780374371524


From Library Staff

Laurie Halse Anderson's novel about one girl's descent into silence and crushing depression following a sexual assault preceding her freshman year is a classic of YA literature. This adaptation, written by Anderson and illustrated by the immensely talented (and underrated) Emily Carroll, captures... Read More »

List - Reproductive Justice
SkokieStaff Aug 17, 2016

For young adults: After her summer ends with a traumatic event, Melinda struggles with the repercussions in her freshman year in high school.

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CMLibrary_Veronica Mar 23, 2021

I have read this book multiple times throughout my almost 21 years of existence. I think the first time I read it, I was in 8th grade? Maybe 9th. I'm not one hundred percent sure. But I've read it maybe 4 or 5 times and every time it's different.

The last time I read it, I was a freshman in college and in a completely different spot in my life. When I read it the last time, I hated it. I just found the pacing to be bad, I didn't enjoy the novel itself, but I recognized the importance of Melinda's story. I still do. But now, reading it 2 years later and being where I am, I feel so different. I love this book. I loved it the first time I read it and I guess my relationship with this novel has just ebbed and flowed as I've gotten older and I've floated along with my own trauma and experiences.

I think what I love most about this book, besides its relatability and its incredibly important story, is the truth in it. I think so much of Melinda's experience and her story and the way she copes or doesn't cope is left in the things she doesn't say, in the things that aren't explicitly written. I think you take as much as she gives and then some more. I'm not sure if that makes any sense, but that's what I get from it.

I'm still a firm believer that everyone should read this book before high school and before college, but now I just think that everyone should read it every once in a while. I'm definitely going to check in with this book again in a couple of years and see where I find myself with it again.

Feb 13, 2021

The graphic novel Speak is an amazing and eye-opening story. The book is about a teenage girl who, because of her past, is broken and depressed. Due to her gloomy attitude, she has trouble making friends and excelling in school. The protagonist is struggling with her previous decisions and has been coping with her mental health all by herself. With the novel’s very detailed drawings and immersive writing, the book is very emotional and allows the reader to step into the shoes of a young victim. I would recommend this book to everyone, especially teenagers who are in high school, because this story allows us to understand what it’s like to be all alone. 5/5 stars
@Ash_Grey of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Sep 20, 2020

A touching story, appropriate for teens, which pretty-realistically represents the aftermath of trauma, and the discovery of a path forward.

CCPL_Teens Jul 24, 2020

Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak: The Graphic Novel is a faithful adaptation of her award-winning book. The book, which many consider one of the best young adult novels ever written, is based on Anderson’s experiences as a teenager. The graphic novel follows a similar format whereby Melinda Sordino’s thoughts are shared through a series of daily episodes, much like a personal diary. Anderson collaborated with Eisner Award-winning artist Emily Carroll and the combination of words and images is nothing short of a graphic masterpiece. The story focuses on a tragic event in Melinda’s life where she is forced to call the cops at an underage drinking party. Following the incident, she is treated disrespectfully at school and labeled an outcast there and at home. While the tragic event catapults the story, there are also numerous moments where Anderson’s depiction of high school is quite humorous. This balance between heartbreak and humor demonstrates that the author clearly understands her audience. Her statement, “sometimes I think high school is one long hazing activity,” encapsulates the struggles Melinda experiences as she tries to cope with the past and heal as a young woman. I loved this book. It’s heartbreaking. It’s humorous. It’s insightful. And it demonstrates the inner conflict young adults experience as they try to balance algebra homework with the pains and struggles of growing up.

JCLBrittanyC Apr 07, 2020

I know I missed this train long ago, but I’m glad I was able to jump onboard with the graphic edition. What can I even say that hasn’t been said? Wow. This is powerful. For those who might be unfamiliar with the story, Speak follows Melinda who is starting her freshman year of high school as an outcast after she calls the cops at the end of summer party. Little does everyone else know she was raped that night by a fellow student, and that is why she was calling the cops. With no one willing to listen to her or her story, Melinda falls silence for the majority of her freshman year, isolating herself from friends, family, and peers. As I’m sure others felt with the novel, I could not put this one down. There were so many emotions involved in this one that you had to keep reading to find out just what ends up happening to Melinda. It is a heavy topic, but it is so important. If you’ve been wanting to read this one for a while now, the graphic is a great option that conveys just as much emotion through both the images and text.

Mar 15, 2020

I loved this book. It is a tough read but so engaging, and ultimately uplifting.

Hillsboro_ElizabethH May 15, 2019

Amazing. Anyone who has been ostracized in school will relate.

Mar 17, 2019

Not a happy book, but a suuuuper good book. Haunting.

Jan 27, 2019

Hard read (warning: contains stories about rape) but well done. There are some resources in the back for anyone who needs help.

Dec 13, 2018

Melinda knows high school is going to be tough. Abandoned by her old friends and ostracised by the rest of the students for calling the cops at an end-of-summer party, she goes through her year in a haze, haunted by what happened at the party. But when her ghost comes back to haunt her, will she be able to fight back this time or will she succumb again? While this is an outstanding novel, readers should be aware that the book deals with rape and can be considered a heavy read.

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Jun 02, 2020

blue_cat_22969 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Dec 13, 2018

RaptorMouse thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Jun 27, 2018

lbbh thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 18

OPL_KrisC Mar 31, 2018

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jul 19, 2016

JanPruatt thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jun 24, 2016

MariaAcePro thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 18

green_alligator_1784 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Sep 13, 2015

SRSMITH1991 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

May 12, 2015

Paucar_Wami thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Hzyy2003 Nov 06, 2014

Hzyy2003 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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Jan 26, 2021

I loved this book and it was definitely worth reading. I love the note at the end. Just. Love. It.

ArapahoeMaryA Sep 27, 2017

You have to know what you stand for, not just what you stand against.

Jul 19, 2016

"Remember what you said about Andy Evans being big trouble?" I say.


"Why did you say that?"

Ivy rinses the soap from the shirt. "He has such a reputation. He's after only one thing and if you believe the rumors forget it no matter what."

Me: Let me tell you about it.

Jul 04, 2014

He handed me a box of tissues.
"You've been through a lot, haven't you?"
The tears dissolve the last block of ice in my throat. I feel the frozen stillness melt down through the inside of me, dripping shards of ice that vanish in a puddle of sunlight on the stained floor. Words float up.
Me: "Let me tell you about it."

Jun 09, 2014

IT happened. There is no avoiding it, no forgetting. No running away, or flying, or burying, or hiding

Jul 02, 2013

No one cares about what you have to say

Sep 01, 2012

i see IT , IT looks at me ,IT smiles at me , i can get IT out of my head (sorry im sorry forgot how it goes )

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 25, 2012

We lived in a different house then, a smaller house. Mom worked at the jewelry counter and was home after school. Dad had a nicer boss and talked all the time about buying a boat. I believed in Santa Claus.

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 25, 2012

"I try to draw a branch coming out of a tree trunk for the 315Th time. It looks so flat, a cheap, cruddy drawing. I have no idea how to make it come alive."

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Add Notices
GCPL_Teen Jun 29, 2017

Violence: This book does feature sexual violence, though it presents a powerful message that survivors should be believed and supported.

Jun 09, 2014

Other: Underage drinking, scenes involving self-injury

Jun 09, 2014

Violence: A male student traps the female lead and beats her

Jun 09, 2014

Frightening or Intense Scenes: A descriptive rape scene

Jun 09, 2014

Sexual Content: PG-13 situations

Twoey Gray
Jul 30, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.


Add a Summary
Feb 21, 2019

Speak follows Melissa Sordino’s first year in high school. She is relentlessly bullied, teased, and ostracized for calling the police to break up a party she attended over the summer, and falls into a crippling depression. However, none of her bullies know the real reason Melissa called the police. At the party, Melissa was raped by senior Andy Evans. Due to the trauma of both the night of the party and the bullying that followed, Melissa becomes almost entirely mute, only expressing herself during art class. Andy continues to stalk and harass Melissa throughout the story. At the end of the year, Melissa has come to terms with the fact that she has been raped, and tells an old friend. The story ends with Melissa finally standing up to her attacker.

Jul 19, 2016

Melinda Sordino, a freshman at Merryweather High, is an outcast because during a summer party she called the cops, breaking it up. Why? Well – that’s what this book is all about – the real why of the reason for the call. She keeps this locked tightly in her head, staying mute throughout much of the school year. In dealing with her pain she skips school, refuses to talk to her parents about it, and is on the verge of failing most of her classes – except art, her passion. In her art class, the teacher has students randomly choose their theme. Trees become Mel’s raison d’etre. She struggles with how to present the tree as an art form just as she deals with truth of what happened that fateful night of the party. And during the school year, she grows in spite of the nightmare and discovers strengths and gifts she didn’t know she had.
It takes a confrontation where the truth of the matter rears its ugly head. In a terrifying conclusion where Melinda almost falls prey to another attack of It, The Beast.
It’s not surprising that this book is on the Best 75 Books in the Last 75 Years List.

Jun 21, 2016

Melinda has started freshman year with a secret: What happened at the party during the summer. It changed her so much, and she has to cope with it throughout the worst year of high school.

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 25, 2012

The summer before her freshman year of high school, Melinda Sordino meets Andy Evans at a party. Outside in the woods, Andy rapes her. Melinda calls 911, but does not know what to say. The police come and break up the party. Melinda does not tell anyone what happened to her, and no one asks. She starts high school as an outcast, shunned by her peers for calling the police. She remains silent and sinks into depression. Melinda is befriended by Heather, a new girl, who clings to Melinda only to ditch her for "the Marthas". As Melinda's depression deepens, she begins to skip school, withdrawing from her parents and other authority figures, who see her silence as means of getting "attention". Only in Mr. Freeman's art class can Melinda express her inner struggle, as he shows interest in her artwork. She slowly befriends her lab partner, David Petrakis, who encourages her to speak up for herself.
Throughout the school year, the past unfolds and Melinda gains the strength to confront what happened to her.[2] Melinda learns that "IT", Andy Evans, goes to her school. Eventually, she allows memories of what happened the night she was raped to surface. But she remains silent. However, when her ex-best friend, Rachel, starts to date Andy, Melinda feels obligated to warn her. At first, Rachel ignores the warning. Melinda tries again, telling Rachel that Andy raped her at the party, but Rachel does not believe her.

Lauren Jul 29, 2008

Following a traumatic incident at a party the summer before her freshman year of high school, Melinda Sordino calls the cops, who come and break up the party. This causes Melinda's friends to all reject her. With the help of her art teacher, Mr Freeman, Melinda begins to regain both her self-confidence and some of her old friends, but none of them understand what actually happened that night at the party. Will Melinda ever gain the courage to speak up?

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