Speak is Written by: Laurie Halse Anderson


Melinda Sordino just started her freshman year of high school. She's had a horrible start to her year so far. Everybody hates her for calling the cops at an end of the summer party. "My brother got arrested at that party. He got fired because of the arrest." (Anderson 28) Melinda is struggling in most of her classes and has to do an art project of a tree which she can't seem to ever get right. She wants to be avoided at all costs. Months pass and she finally reveals why she called the cops. She got raped by a character known as Andy Evans. Everyone believed her.

Character Analysis

Melinda Sordino used to have friends but they all changed. "Rachelle is reclaiming er European heritage by hanging out with the foreign-exchange students." (Anderson 20) She's a very quiet person but doesn't love school. Melinda grew up with fighting and unable parents. "Unable" as in not making dinner or even tending to their yard. Melinda kept her feelings to herself and didn't confront others.


In Speak, Melinda was having a type of conflict called character vs. society. Nobody likes her because she called the cops at Kylie Rodger's party and got people in trouble since they were drinking. Everyone is constantly giving Melinda a hard time but she somehow puts up with it. "Thwap! A lump of potatoes and gravy hits me square in the center of my chest. All conversation stops as the entire lunch-room gawks, my face burning into their retinas." (Anderson 8). Melinda resolves this conflict by actually telling people why she called the cops. She got raped at the party and in school. Somebody caught Andy Evans raping her in the Janitor's closet. They got help and nobody really liked Andy anymore.


The theme of this book is that not everything is going to go your way in life but you'll find a way to make everything better. Melinda struggled in school with grades, popularity and social issues. All of her friends drifted away from her into new groups. She did make one friend named Heather but Heather announced that her and Melinda were two different people. She got raped twice. Once in school and the other at a party. She finally told why she called the cops at the party. When she told everyone she was raped by Andy Evans, nobody believed her until people witnessed it in a closet. Her year got better when people finally realized why the cops were called and asked if she was okay.

Textual Evidence

Speak had many powerful parts including when Melinda had mashed potatoes thrown at her. This part shows just how far people go when one thing bad happens to them. Another powerful part of speak was when the author explained what actually happened at the party and what events lead to Melinda's raping. I also liked the part when Andy Evans is actually busted raping Melinda again in the Janitor's closed. My favorite quote from the book was, "I reach in and wrap my fingers around a triangle of glass. I hold it to Andy Evans's neck. He freezes. I push just hard enough to raise one drop of blood. He raises his arms over his head. My hand quivers. I want to insert the glass all the way through his throat, I want to hear him scream. I look up. I see the stubble on his chin, a fleck of white in the corner of his mouth. His lips are paralyzed. He cannot speak. That's good enough. Me: I said no." (Anderson 195). This was my favorite quote because It shows that even at desperate times, Melinda still had the strength to pull away from Andy. She had the strength to be on top. She had the strength to Speak.

Book Review

I would give Speak a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. I would give this rating because the book could be put together a little differently. The author could have started the book when Melinda was at the party. I did love how the book talked about a girl who doesn't talk much to people and isn't liked until she actually speaks the truth. (Hence the title Speak)
Speak- Laurie Halse Anderson- book trailer

Bullying and Sexual Assault Awareness Websites


"Bullying - It Affects, It Hurts - Dunya Blog." Dunya Blog. 25 Mar. 2016. Web. 05 May 2016.

"Laurie Halse Anderson Biography | List of Works, Study Guides & Essays." Study Guides & Essay Editing. Web. 05 May 2016.

"Sexual Assault | RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network." Sexual Assault | RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. Web. 05 May 2016.

"Speak Out 4 Care: Get Your Voice Heard." Disability Horizons. 14 May 2014. Web. 05 May 2016.

"What Is Bullying." What Is Bullying. Web. 05 May 2016.

Mazzliaa. "Speak- Laurie Halse Anderson- Book Trailer." YouTube. YouTube, 19 Feb. 2012. Web. 05 May 2016.