Book Club Book #42: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Okay, okay. I haven’t mentioned the book club challenge in A WHILE. But I finished a book today that I really wanted to share with you guys. An official blog is coming soon, filled with broken rules and a list of the books I’ve read. But for now…. I will talk about this amazing book.

Book: Speak

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Number of Pages: 198

Okay, synopsis from the back of the book:

Melinda Sordino busted and end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t know hate her from a distance. It’s no use explaining to her parents; they’ve never known what her life is really like. The safest place for Melinda to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she admitted it and let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have no choice. Melinda would have to speak the truth.

I want to start this post off with a disclaimer. It doesn’t matter how old you are; there are amazing– simply AMAZING books in the young adult section of the book store. I am 21 and I can not tell you how many great books I find perusing the shelves in the young adult lit section. Don’t let the concept of Twilight (or even Harry Potter) freak you out. Not all books revolve around love, or men with sparkly chests, or wizards. I’m telling you that you need to read this book, and the only place to find it is in the young adult section.

Moving on.

This book is told from the perspective of Melinda Sordino. You don’t actually find out the cause of her sudden “muteness” until a nice ways into the book. But that is a good thing; the tension builds, you don’t know who did what or why everyone hates Mel. Now, having read my share of books, I pretty much figured out what happened at the party (hint/possible spoiler: think of what happened to Veronica at the party in Veronica Mars.) The way Laurie Halse Anderson paints the details of the book, the smallest, tiniest details that you don’t think are significant but really are, is brilliant. I will definitely be reading this book a second time next year, but I’m surprised at how much I picked up on the first time around. (That is what happens when you’ve read 41 books over the course of a year. You pick up on things.) The main character says, roughly, 20-25 lines in the entire book, and you would think that hinders the story telling. Except it enriches it that much more. You are in Melinda’s head; you know what she is thinking, what she really wants to say, but her character has, quite literally, lost her voice. She can’t talk; she tries and nothing comes out. This thing, this event that happened to her, has turned her into a mute and she spends a portion of the book wondering if she is crazy and insane, or just a freak.

I connected with this book more than I thought I would. Not that what happened to Melinda happened to me, but the things she thinks- they are so real. Often an adult writer will compose a high school character and often the dialogue and thoughts of that character aren’t exactly what teenagers are thinking. But at some point or another I’ve felt A LOT of what Melinda feels, but I just couldn’t tell anyone. So it felt as though I was going through this with her. And that is one of my absolute favorite things about books. To be able to experience the story first hand; to imagine you are there and you know what this character is going through. It is just wonderful.

The story itself was a hauntingly beautiful and melancholy tale. I managed not to cry once…but then I got to the last paragraph and I teared up. Then I got to the last line, and before I closed the book I was crying. I don’t want to really explain why it made me cry, for fear of ruining the ending. Just know that it is a beautiful tale of a beautiful girl who has experienced a horrible tragedy and has to live with it in silence.

I really, really recommend this book to girls, guys, adults, and teens and everyone.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Book Club Book #42: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

  1. Caleb

    I applaud you whole heartedly for not calling those things in Twilight vampires. Bravo!

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