Thursday, January 27, 2011

Speak up now

In Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Melinda starts her freshman year of high school completely ostracized by her school, even her closest friends from 8th grade because she called the cops on an End-of-Summer party. Her only friend, Hannah a recent transfer, tries desperately to fit in, but Melinda just retreats farther and farther into herself. It's a shame too, because Melinda has something she needs to say to the world. No one should have to face IT again.

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This book is classic YA realistic fiction. There's angst. There's the kind art teacher. There's the parents you don't talk to. There's cliques. There's the cutey smart kid who sees there's more to you than meets the eye. And Melinda's narration is pure dry wit, snark to the max. Ugh. I just want to give her a hug. There's a slow reveal of THE BIG DRAMA which I'll save for those who don't like spoilers, but it's done rather masterfully. It's not a book for the faint-hearted*, but watching Melinda grow is worth it.

Realistic fiction is not my favorite kind of YA, but Speak was good. I'd read it to find out if there's anything worthwhile in YA literature. Melinda's story is definitely worth hearing.

*Seriously the climax, I pushed the book away and didn't want to find out what happened, but then I had to pick it up again because I couldn't leave Melinda hanging.

*Well unless it involves Manhattan's Upper East Side or fabulous exotic locales, and some would argue that's NOT realistic. I like glam in my realistic fiction.


Colleen said...

This totally just made it onto my library list!

brnh said...

That's great! I hope you enjoy it!