Summary: High School freshman Melinda starts out to be a normal girl. But soon she becomes an outcast because she called the cops on a party she was at during the summer. No speaks to her and little by little she loses the ability to speak up at all. She blames hr sore throat or her dry lips, but in reality, she is just to nervous to say anything because she was raped at that party, which is the reason she called the cops. All she can rely on now is her art, which she loses herself in. But with both time and confidence she decides to speak out against her attacker.
Strengths: This book is a work of realistic fiction. The author does an amazing job of creating realism in this book. For starters, there is subject matter related to modern and teenage readers, a criteria noted in our text. This whole book deals with the issue of rape, and being to scared to come forward about it, an unfortunate occurrence in our daily world. The main character is not over the top and is in most cases relatable to teen and older readers. The events of being a high school outcast and going to high school parties is also something a lot of teenagers can relate to. What also works is the way the plot moves forward. It wasn’t rushed and everything went along at just the right pace.
Connections to Text: This book was a 1999 National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature. This book also follows basic literary elements. We have a clear protagonist; Melinda, who has a clear conflict; not being able to speak, with also an antagonist; her attacker. The mood of the whole story fits in with the dark theme of surviving a rapist attack. The whole part of her looking for excuses for not speaking is symbolism to society where most victims are too scared to speak up.
Anderson, L. (1999). Speak. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux.