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Book Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Melinda is having a bad start to her freshman year at high school. None of her middle school friends will talk to her and most of the other kids in school hate her. Her grades are dropping and she's struggling to talk - to teachers, to her parents, to anyone. It all stems from the fact that she called the cops during an end-of-summer party, and ruined what was a great night for most kids. Not for her.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is another frequently challenged book that I'm highlighting for Banned Books Week. It appears on the top 100 challenged books of 2000-2009. This is a powerful read. One that should not be banned, but rather handed out to every girl over the age of about 12. I plan to send my copy to my goddaughter, who is a sophomore in high school, if she hasn't read it yet. It is a must read for high school and college girls.

Melinda speaks to the reader directly, pulling us into her heart and mind. She is struggling so much with the secret that she hasn't shared with anyone, with the pain of being ostracized by her peers, with the emptiness she feels at home. While her biggest secret is something that I would hope most girls won't have to experience, I do think many of her feelings and issues in school are things most high school girls deal with ~ issues with losing friends and trying to fit in and boys.

Speak is a very quick and easy, yet emotional read. As noted above, I recommend it to anyone over the age of 12 or so. Many girls have found their voices and spoken up as a result of reading this book. I cannot recommend it enough.

My rating: 5/5

More about Speak

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journey for hosting a roundup of Banned Books Week posts each year! Head over to see more reviews and posts about books that have been challenged.

This review was written based on a copy of Speak that I think I won a while ago. It's been on my shelf for far too long. This post includes Amazon Affiliate links. If you purchase something using my link, I will receive a very small commission but your price does not change.


  1. This is a fabulous book! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I'm reading Speak right now and didn't realize it's been frequently challenged or banned! Thanks for sharing. I think it's a must read for teen girls as well - and it would be great if boys could read it too, to see how assault and irresponsible behavior can affect someone.

  3. I'm reading Speak right now and didn't realize it's been frequently challenged or banned! Thanks for sharing. I think it's a must read for teen girls as well - and it would be great if boys could read it too, to see how assault and irresponsible behavior can affect someone.

  4. Really enjoyed this book, too. It had a dark humor, too.


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