Laurie Halse Anderson
Awards and shortlistings to date:
- A 2000 Printz Honor Book
- A 1999 National Book Award Finalist
- An Edgar Allan Poe Award Finalist
- Winner of the Golden Kite Award
- An ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults
- An ALA Quick Pick
- A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
- A Booklist Top Ten First Book of 1999
- A BCCB Blue Ribbon Book
- An SLJ Best Book of the Year
- A Horn Book Fanfare Title
"The First Ten Lies They Tell You In High School:
- We are here to help you
- You will have enough time to get to your class before the bell rings
- The dress code will be enforced
- No smoking is allowed on school grounds
- Our football team will win the championship this year
- We expect more of you here
- Guidance counsellors are always available to listen
- Your schedule was created with your needs in mind
- Your locked combination is private
- These will be the years you look back on fondly"
Poignant, harshly truthful, unforgettable - this story of a year in the life of Melinda
Sordino. Written in a satirical and darkly ironic style, Melinda places her life as a high
school outcast on paper, an outcast ever since she broke up the end-of-summer party
she and her friends attended. Melinda had a good reason to, but she has told nobody, neither her parents nor her old friends.
"We fall into clans: Jocks, Country Clubbers, Idiot Savants, Cheerleaders, Human
Waste, Eurotrash, Future Fascists of America, Big Hair Chix, the Marthas, Suffering
Artists, Thespians, Goths, Shredders. I am clanless."
Speak is the tale of a girl finding the courage to speak out about who she is, and
bring "IT" (also known as "The Beast" by Melinda, referring to her rapist, Andy
Evans) to justice.
Ever since the fateful party and her awful encounter with IT, Melinda has not spoken
very much to anyone, and goes for long periods of time without anyone noticing that
she is not speaking. Throughout the year accounted here, Melinda struggles to move
on with life, but her grades drop, and she begins to cut classes. By the end of the
book, Melinda has changed. Her self confidence is returning, and she has been on a
year long path of self-discovery and healing. She is now ready to speak.
"Water drips onto the paper and the birds bloom in the light, their feathers expanding
in promise. IT happened. There is no avoiding it, no forgetting. No running away, or
flying, or burying, or hiding. Andy Evans raped me in August when I was drunk and
too young to know what was happening. It wasn’t my fault. He hurt me. It wasn’t
my fault. And I’m not going to let it kill me. I can grow."
This witty, beautiful and emotional book is an amazing début, and I consider it a
must-read for practically anyone aged about fourteen and up.