Friday, August 13, 2010

Teen Review by Diana. . .Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Shunned by her friends, Melinda Sordino starts a spiraling path of an outcast. Unable to speak, to defend herself, all she can do is watch as her life takes a 180, as her friends evolve into something she can't comprehend, longing for understanding and tearing up at life itself.

Anderson's quiet and betrayed narrative pulls the reader into a dark humour. In any other novel, the statements are enough to bring forth a laugh, but in this, all you can do is find it funny, humorous, yet unable to laugh in face of the setting. You start to find yourself in the world Melinda has created, a forced life in which she gives a forced laugh. The way she starts to separates herself from reality, by nicknaming those she seems to see as less than human: her English teacher, "Hairwoman," or her social studies teacher, "Mr. Neck." The detached observations she gives as if all she can do is comment on life.

Speak is not an action book or a fantasy. It's not science fiction or even a thriller. But it is a book in which can immerse yourself in the new universe Anderson creates like a fantasy. Find the dark mystery lost within it's pages. And begin to understand the mind of someone playing on the other side of light. Perhaps it's not a perfect novel. But the insight it carries is enough to let it be one of those books . . . the ones where you just quietly shut it closed after you've read the last page, and contemplate the journey you've just shared as a reader.

Thanks for the review, Diana. Hope to see more from you. If you have already read and enjoyed Speak, you might also like one of these titles:

by Jerry Spinelli

Whale Talk
by Chris Crutcher

Winter Girls
by Laurie Halse Anderson

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