Google+ Reading Teen: (Laurie Halse Anderson) Review: 'Speak' to your teen about rape

Thursday, September 23, 2010

(Laurie Halse Anderson) Review: 'Speak' to your teen about rape

Parents are you Speaking to your teen?  Teens, are you Speaking to your parents?

As I have ventured into the world of YA/teen fiction, I am finding myself more and more compelled to talk to parents about the importance of knowing what is going on in your teen's life.  I think a great way to do this, is for parents to read teen fiction.  I think parents need to be informed about what is happening in the lives of teenagers now, and be aware of what they are reading and how it can be used as a tool for better understanding between teens and their parents.  This book is a fantastic example.  The book is called Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, the review was done by my mother, Janeth.
Speak: 10th Anniversary Edition
National Book Award Finalist

Excerpt from chapter 1:
"The kids behind me laugh so loud I know they're laughing about me. I can't help myself. I turn around. It's Rachel, surrounded by a bunch of kids wearing clothes that most definitely did not come from the EastSide Mall. Rachel Bruin, my ex-best friend. She stares at something above my left ear. Words climb up my throat. This was the girl who suffered through Brownies with me, who taught me how to swim, who understood about my parents, who didn't make fun of my bedroom. If there is anyone in the entire galaxy I am dying to tell what really happened, it's Rachel. My throat burns. Her eyes meet mine for a second. "I hate you," she mouths silently.....

Something terrible and traumatic happened to Melinda Sordino in August before her freshman year of high school. As a result of this happening, events were set in motion by Melinda that that caused her to be isolated and hated by her closest friends and shunned by almost every student in her high school. No one in Melinda's life even knows what actually happened. Her parents are so wrapped up in their own careers and individual lives that they don't even realize that Melinda's life has altered completely. As Melinda goes through the school year, she becomes more and more withdrawn and finally refuses to speak for the most part because she feels unheard by anyone. Needless to say this causes problems with teachers, authority figures and parents. Her only escapes comes in the unlikely friendship with a new girl at school, a janitor's closet that she makes her own and her art class where she is encouraged and challenged to put herself into her project. Melinda is forced to "speak" when her former best friend starts dating "IT". She doesn't want anyone else to go through what she has and steps up to try to stop it. Using her art project to explore and communicate her feelings, Melinda finds the courage to stand up not only for herself, but all other girls.

This is not necessarily a book that one "enjoys" reading but I liked this girl. I hurt for her and wished that I could wrap my arms around her. The book is not a happily-ever-after kind of story. Melinda is just an ordinary girl who made some bad decisions and paid a terrible price for them. I think that this book would be beneficial for both teens and their parents to read. It could definitely be a starting point for conversations about decisions, consequences, communication and the cruelty of the land called high school. There is a question/answer with the author section as well as a discussion guide included in the book. I recommend it highly.


Parents should know:  Speak deals with the difficult subject of rape and has details about the crime.  It also has some curse words.  For more detailed content information go to Speak on Parental Book Reviews.

Kristin Stewart stars in the movie Speak.


  1. What a great blog! I wish my boys enjoyed to read! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Following you back!


  2. Good advice. Found your great blog through Friday Follow. Now Following!

  3. My girls are almost teens and yes definitely I will.Along with birth control self respect and drugs and pier pressure.I think it's my duty as a mom.Don't you?

  4. I remember loving this book in high school...looks like I need to revisit it!

  5. I didn't know there was a movie!

    I haven't read this yet but I've heard so many good things about it. I do plan on reading it some time very soon!


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