Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tough but relatable high school experience

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a great book!  I've read it several times, but I felt it was time to read it again.  Speak is the perfect high school book with emotion, symbolism, and meaning throughout.  It won the Printz (which is equivalent to the Newbery but for Young Adult books) in 2000.  A co-worker informed me that there was a movie made in 2004 with the same title.  I have yet to see the movie, but I think I shall look for it at the library.  Please let me know if you have seen the  movie and what you thought of it.

I really enjoy reading this book because of the emotion felt throughout it.  You become sad for Melinda but frustrated b/c she won't speak.  She won't tell anyone what happened so they can help.  I think there are many people that have something horrible happen in their lives.  Many people will close up and won't talk about it; they think this will help the event or problem disappear.  I think this has the opposite effect, and it makes it that much worse.

Speak is an excellent book for any high schooler or higher; I think it is a bit much emotionally for anyone younger that 7th grade.  This book is excellent for reluctant readers; it is written from a girls point of view so most boys will not like this book as much.  However, girls will be able to relate to many of the same feelings Melinda has.  Readers will be able to relate to the high school culture that is written about as well as the home life Melinda encounters.  All will enjoy this fast but meaningful read.  There are only 198 pages, and they are written so well that you want to keep turning the pages.

I did say that this won the Printz, and that is a huge honor.  However, this may make some of you unsure if it is something you'd enjoy reading.  Lately, the Printz books have been quite dirty and I feel unnecessary for YAs to read.  However, this was the Printz winner in 2000, and at that time they gave a Printz to this clean book.  There are few swear words, you hear high school kids drinking once, and there is reference to a rape and sex but it is not detailed at all.  I was pleasantly surprised by the cleanliness of this Printz book.

If you have not read this book, please pick it up.  It is a story that many high school kids will relate to all if not part of the story and Melinda's experiences.  I find that by reading it we can become more aware and seek to help those that have to experience such tough times.

Laurie Halse Anderson has many fabulous books.  I have seen many reluctant readers in my high school library love and enjoy reading any Anderson book.  However, I feel Speak is the best.  Let me know if you have read it and any thoughts you might have.  

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