Monday, April 19, 2010

Week 15: Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson (198 Pages)

TThis book was suggested to me by my mother. She is a 7th/8th grade teacher and this is a book that her students have really enjoyed. I took her up on her suggestion, and I found that I liked the book. It is an intense read and I found it hard to put down - I actually read it in 2 days time.

This book opens on Melinda, our protagonist, the summer before her freshman high school year. She has been shunned by her group of friends, because she called the cops at a party that happened over the summer. Lots of kids got in trouble - and all of the kids blame Melinda for landing them in hot water. The reason that she called the cops is slowly revealed throughout the story and is told mostly through narration in Melinda's head. Since the party and the negative reaction from her peers - she has stopped speaking. 

The author tells a provocative story with all of the pathos and humor that you would expect from a coming of age story. Melinda goes through the motions of high school, barely passing and living as an invisible member of high school society. She finds some refuge in her Art Class where her teacher gives the assignment of a "tree". She must define what a tree is, give the tree emotion, etc. Through this assignment - she begins to put into words the thing that has happened to her. She finds the voice to speak. 

So as not to spoil the story - I won't really go much further, but I do suggest that you read this compelling novel. YA is a genre that sometimes we adults dismiss, but I will say that I have found some true gems out there. This is another in that group.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds great! I am going to have to check it out.