Sunday, 8 August 2010

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Pub.Date: March 20th 2008
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 198
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: from the publisher - Hodder Children's Books

Since the beginning of the school year, high school freshman Melinda has found that it's been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud: "My throat is always sore, my lips raw.... Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze.... It's like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis." What could have caused Melinda to suddenly fall mute? Could it be due to the fact that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the seniors' big end-of-summer party? Or maybe it's because her parents' only form of communication is Post-It notes written on their way out the door to their nine-to-whenever jobs. While Melinda is bothered by these things, deep down she knows the real reason why she's been struck mute...

A realistic yet poetic story on a delicate topic that you, regardless of being a fan of Laurie Halse Anderson, should never miss.

The story starts out like any other ones in young adult books you will find, and with a vague synopsis like this you'll probably never know what it's all about. I think that'll give a better impression and influence of the story on readers because of curiosity.

Melisa's highschool story sounds nothing special: another outcast that somewhat lost all of her friends in middle school and now she doesn't know how to belong. But there's something darker and deeper about her that prevents you from putting the book down (even if you're extremely sleepy, in my case).

The book is almost a monologue which included very few conversations that are rather awkward. It highlights the title and the message the author wants to deliver. It's nice because you can feel the numbness of the character transferring to you here and there. That's what I like about Laurie Halse Anderson. She knows how to consume readers with emotions, whether that are light or heavy.

As for Melinda, I think she's a very unforgettable character with perfect development. Her journey of learning how to actually SPEAK is totally amazing.

Having said all that, I don't think Speak appeals to me as much as I expected. Because Wintergirls blew me away, I thought Speak would turn out to be better but I wasn't strongly captivated by Melinda's story, even it's a good one.

To sum up, if you're a fan of young adult, you have to read SPEAK. And watch the movie too (because I heard it's really good)

Rating: 4/5


Steph Su said...

Hmm interestinggg... I haven't read Wintergirls yet, but I think I read Speak when I was at an age that I was totally blown away by it. I wonder what I'll think of Wintergirls when I finally get to read it?

And the movie is eerily good. Kristen Stewart does an overwhelming performance as Melinda. It really haunts you.

debbie said...

I bought a copy of Vietnamese version of this book today. Will read and see if I think the same thing =)

kaylie said...

Interesting. I'd love to read books like this.

Loraine said...

You have a nice review! Here's mine: Have a nice day!