by Laurie Hale Anderson
Melinda didn't want to start freshman year as the girl everyone hates, but after calling the cops on a party at the end of the summer she has found herself to be persona non grata with everyone. No one asked her her side of the story, and even if they did she's not sure what she'd say. With no one to turn to she takes refuge in the one class she likes, art. As the year goes by she finds that the things she really needs to say she can't. But when her friend is threatened by what she experienced at that party, she realizes that the courage to speak was there all along.
Speak is a powerful book about a girl's reaction to being raped. Her confusion and shame, unwillingness to talk, and ostracism by her peers (though none of them knew about it) are all taken matter of factly by Melinda herself. What struck me the most about the book was how no one really stepped in to talk to her, how her parents left her alone and didn't question as she withdrew from everyone. How her friends turned on her after learning she had called the cops, without asking her why. But once she does tell her side of the story, everyone stands by her, realizing that she was the only one who had it right all along.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Grade Level: 9th grade