A gift to teens en searching for their voice

Summary:

Melinda is dreading her first day of school at Merryweather High School. When she ratted out a party to the cops, she became an outcast. No one talks to her. No one knows she was raped - and they wouldn't listen to her anyway. So Melinda keeps to herself, never speaking. High school is full of many other dangers though, and Melinda doesn’t know if she can speak out about them, either. Thanks to her art class, she is managing to get by. Art allows her to express feelings that she cannot speak out loud. After a second, violent encounter with her rapist, Melinda finds a voice that allows her to fight back and speak up for herself. 


BTSYA / Teen Reader (16):
Speak is an empowering read. It sheds light on the reality of high school: it is not quite the wonderful musical everyone thinks it is. With everyone forming their own groups, someone is bound to feel left out, just like Melinda. She is a relatable character, even for those who are not victims of sexual assault. Teens can connect to her high school experiences and understand what it’s like not being able to fit in. Melinda’s story was a gripping and gritty and one I believe any teen could benefit from. It certainly pulled at my heartstrings with the ending. It makes way for brilliant and deep discussions about major and minor issues, from trauma to cliques.

Readers need to be aware of violence and bad language. Melinda has flashbacks from when she was raped and drugged. This is a great gift for any teenager 14 and over, especially those who are in search of a voice.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Melinda's powerful voice will resonate with teens, especially those navigating high school. This is a book that you want to read and then never forget.

Content Awareness Factors:

The underlying theme of the story is sexual abuse and assault. Sexual violence and profanity are integrated into the plot. Despite the elementary-aged reading level, this book is for high school students and young adults.


Type of Book:
A realistic fiction novel for teens in high school.
Educational Themes:

The topics in Speak are presented without a sugar coating, creating a means to have very honest, direct discussions about navigating high school, choices, personal responsibility, integrity, anxiety, relationships, friendships, bullying warning signs, and safety plans with teens and young adults.

Reading Level:
4.5
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
15 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
15 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 16
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. This is a powerful story that will resonate with teens.

Title Speak
Author Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher Square Fish Books, Imprint Macmillan Children's Publishing Group © 2011
ISBN 9780312674397
Material Paperback
Cost $10.99
Genres Family, Health - Illness, Realism | Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Social Issues
be the star you are
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