[Every girl going into high school
needs to read this book. You never know. I liked this book
a lot, it was very deep and according to statistics it happens so often
with acquaintances. -- Karen Womack <firstname.lastname@example.org>]
What would you do if you were
at a party and you were raped? Would you call the police? That
is exactly what happens to Melinda Sardino. She is so traumatized
that it affects her family life, her friendships, and she begins withdraws
into her self. How would you handle this situation? To see if Melinda
overcomes this tragedy you must read "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson.
I am an outcast.
My first day of high school
and I can see, as we are herded into the auditorium for orientation, that
I don’t fit in. Everyone else falls into a clan – you know, a clique; THE
JOCKS, THE CHEERLEADERS, FUTURE FASCISTS OF AMERICA, GOTHS, …well, you
get the idea.
Me? I am clanless…I have entered
high school with the wrong hair, the wrong clothes, and definitely the
wrong attitude. No one will speak to me.
I am an outcast.
The orientation begins with
“the rules” – All lies!
#1. We are here to help you!
#2. You will have enough time
to get to your classes between bells.
#3. The dress code will be
#4. No smoking is allowed
on school grounds.
#5. Our football team will
win the championship.
#6. We expect more of you
#7. Guidance counselors are
always available to listen.
#8 Your schedule was created
with your needs in mind.
#9. Your locker combination
#10. These will be the years
you will look back on most fondly.
Yeah, right! Fondly. NOT.
I didn’t want high school to
start out this way – it just sort of happened. I’m not used to failing
classes. I don’t skip school. I talk. I have friends.
Not any more.
It all started at that end-of-the-summer
party. Big deal, that party. Rachel and I were pretty excited about going
to a high school party.
Now, they all blame me – they
blame me for calling the cops and closing down the party. Even Rachel hates
I am an outcast.
No one knows the truth about
that night. No one CARES to know the truth. I don’t know the truth - can’t
face the truth, anyway.
So, I get a brilliant idea
… if they won’t talk to me, then I won’t talk to them! I’ll just retreat.
Yes, I’ll retreat into that old janitor’s closet I found on Senior Hall.
No one will find me there. The closet is abandoned – it has no purpose,
no name…. Perfect, for me. There, I can think.
Problem is, I don’t want to
think. I fainted in biology class the other day and hit my head on the
table. I was really worried… Worried when the doctor looked into the back
of my eyes with a bright light. Could she read the thoughts hidden there?
What will she do? Call the cops? Send me to the nuthouse?
Can’t they understand that
the whole point of NOT talking about it, of silencing the memory, is to
make it go away. IT won’t. I’ll need brain surgery to cut IT out of my
IT is my nightmare … and I
can’t wake up.
Bonnie Phinney (Colorado
Blue Spruce Children's Award)
It’s the first morning of high
school and Melinda has seven new notebooks, a skirt she hates and
a stomach ache. The empty school bus comes to her corner. She’s the first
pick-up of the day. She sits in the front, hoping to make eye contact with
one of her friends, that is if any of them has decided to talk to her yet.
The bus picks up students in groups of four or five. As they walk down
the aisle, people who were Melinda’s middle school lab partners or gym
buddies glare at her. This is what she’s been dreading. As they leave the
last stop, she is the only person sitting alone.
At school, the ninth graders are herded into the auditorium. Again Melinda
has no one to sit with. The kids behind her laugh at something so loud,
she knows they’re laughing about her. She turns around only to see Rachel,
her ex-best friend, at the center of the crowd. This is the girl who suffered
through brownies with Melinda, who taught her how to swim, who understood
about her parents. She’s the only person in the entire galaxy Melinda is
dying to tell the truth about that night. Their eyes meet for a second
and Melinda’s throat burns with the desire to talk. But Rachel mouths the
words “I hate you” and turns back to laughing with her friends.
Rachel actually hates Melinda. But then so does everybody else. Who can
blame them? That loser, Melinda, busted the biggest party of the summer
by calling the cops. If only she could tell Rachel why she made the call.
But obviously, she can’t. And if she can’t tell Rachel, she can’t tell
The way Melinda sees it, if she’s got to keep something this painful to
herself, why bother talking at all? (Ona Gritz, email@example.com)
Seven new notebooks, a skirt
she hated, and a stomachache. Melinda Sordino started out her first day
of high school with only that. She used to be a girl with lots of friends,
with everyone on her side, until she busted a summer party by calling the
cops. Now, since she is in high school, Melinda is trying to figure out
where she belongs and who she is, while trying to gain her old friends
back. Since nobody will talk, or even acknowledge her, she has become anti-social
to everyone around her, except her art teacher.
When Melinda takes her first step onto the school bus, every eye locks
onto her. Gossip has spread about what happened at that summer party. By
now, everyone knows. Kids are whispering and pointing at her all day long,
talking about her when she isn’t around. All Melinda wants is someone who
she can trust and call a friend. When the bus reaches school, Melinda thinks
her day can’t possibly get any worse, it does.
I thought Speak was fantastic! When I started reading it, I couldn’t put
it down. From page 1 to page 198, Laurie Halse Anderson captures every
little detail that teens go through everyday like, dealing with all the
cliques and becoming accepted by your peers. Speak kept me on the edge
of my seat throughout the whole book. I would recommend Speak to anybody,
boy or girl, from middle school to high school. (Kayti L., Maroa - Forsyth
Merryweather High had plenty
of groups. Melinda didn't belong in any of them. A few people whispered
about her as she walked by to find her seat in the gym for the assembly.
No one liked her. No one wanted her to sit by them. She was an outcast.
There is always something in the back of her head haunting her that won't
go away. She tries to avoid it, but it keeps coming back. She thinks that
if she tries hard enough she'll forget. It keeps popping up in her head
all the time. She can't tell anyone about it. She thought no one would
believe her. No one would care. It was at an end of the summer party where
she called the 911. Thats what started the hatred, the lies and her silence.
If her friends would have just given her a chance to speak it would have
been different. Will Melinda ever speak? (Mariah Snyder, Whiting
Community School Whiting, Iowa)