OVERRIDE

Speak

Laurie Halse Anderson

Square Fish

The first ten lies they tell you in high school.
 
"Speak up for yourself--we want to know what you have to say." From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication. In Laurie Halse Anderson's powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.
 
Speak was a 1999 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature.

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

  Speak
FIRST MARKING PERIODWELCOME TO MERRYWEATHER HIGHIt is my first morning of high school. I have seven new notebooks, a skirt I hate, and a stomachache.
 The school bus wheezes to my corner. The door opens and I step up. I am the first pickup of the day. The driver pulls away from the curb while I stand in the aisle. Where to sit? I’ve never been a backseat wastecase. If I sit in the middle, a stranger could sit next to me. If I sit in the front, it will make me look like a little kid, but I figure it’s the best chance I have to make eye contact with one of my friends,
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REVIEWS

Praise for Speak

“In a stunning first novel, Anderson uses keen observations and vivid imagery to pull readers into the head of an isolated teenager. . . . Yet Anderson infuses the narrative with a wit that sustains the heroine through her pain and holds readers’ empathy. . . . But the book’s overall gritty realism and Melinda’s hard-won metamorphosis will leave readers touched and inspired.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“An uncannily funny book even as it plumbs the darkness, Speak will hold readers from first word to last.”—The Horn Book, Starred Review

“A frightening and sobering look at the cruelty and viciousness that pervade much of contemporary high school life, as real as today’s headlines. . . . The plot is gripping and the characters are powerfully drawn . . . a novel that will be hard for readers to forget.”—Kirkus Reviews, Pointer Review

“Melinda’s pain is palpable, and readers will totally empathize with her. This is a compelling book, with sharp, crisp writing that draws readers in, engulfing them in the story.”—School Library Journal

“A story told with acute insight, acid wit, and affecting prose.”—Library Journal

“Melinda’s voice is distinct, unusual, and very real as she recounts her past and present experiences in bitterly ironic, occasionally even amusing vignettes. . . . Melinda’s sarcastic wit, honesty, and courage make her a memorable character whose ultimate triumph will inspire and empower readers.”—Booklist

A Michal L. Printz Honor Book
A National Book Award Finalist
An Edgar Allan Poe Award Finalist
A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
Winner of the SCBWI 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 Novel
A BCCB Blue Ribbon Book
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Horn Book Fanfare Title
A New York Times Bestseller
A Publishers Weekly Bestseller

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Laurie Halse Anderson

  • Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times bestselling author of books for kids of all ages--including Fever 1793, Chains, Twisted, and many others. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous national and state awards, as well as international recognition. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Anderson was honored with the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award given by the YALSA division of the American Library Association for her “significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.” Anderson was born in Potsdam, New York in 1961. Growing up, she loved reading and listening to family stories. She graduated from Georgetown University in 1984. Before becoming a full-time writer, she was freelance journalist, and then worked part-time at a bookstore to earn money while working on her fiction. Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in northern New York, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes.
  • Laurie Halse Anderson
    Laurie Halse Anderson
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READING GUIDE

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Discussion Guide
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Available Formats and Book Details

Speak

Laurie Halse Anderson

American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults, American Library Association Quick Picks for Reluctant Young, Michael L. Printz Award - Honor, National Book Awards Finalist, Kentucky Blue Grass Award, California Young Reader Medal, PA Carolyn W. Field Award, Booklist Editors' Choice, School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon Awar, Horn Book Magazine Fanfare List, Golden Kite Award Winner, NYPL Books for the Teen Age, Edgar Allen Poe Award Nominee
  • Trade Paperback

  • Hardcover

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Square Fish

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