I just finished reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson this afternoon.
I'd seen the movie some time ago. Wasn't aware there was a book, unil I saw a review for it on another book reviewers blog. I'm glad I bought it. If I thought the movie hit home, the book was that much more.
Everyone knows a Melinda Sordino. Or maybe you are Melinda Sordino. This book is like that first person that steps forward and inspires others to do the same. It gives other people that may have been in similar situations the opportunity to find their voice. And use it. Obviously it's appropriately titled.
It really is a beautifully written story. Melinda is such a strong character and she doesn't even realize it. She went through an unspeakably horrific event that has changed her from the carefree 8th grader she'd been before our story takes place, to the incredibly depressed 9th grader that thinks she's barely keeping her head above water. But she keeps treading water on her own.
Everyone just assumes she's a freak. They assume she's just begging for attention. SO many people who could give her a hand out of the dark hole she's been forced into but no one bothers to take the time to notice that she needs it. So she carries this soul crushing secret throughout her entire first year in highschool. And it doesn't break her.
I recommend this to absolutely everyone. Boys, girls, adults, teens... it will have a profound impact on ANYONE who decides to turn the pages.