Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Erica Carroll


Speak is about a girl named Melinda Sordino who is struggling to find where she fits in. Melinda doesn't have a great home life. One night Melinda decides to go to her friend Rachel's house. Rachel decides to change the plans on Melinda saying they are going to a party Rachel's older brother is going to. They get the the party and something traumatizing happens to Melinda. Melinda called the police and busted the party causing Rachel to end their friendship. Since that party Rachel, who used to be Mel's best friend, hates Melinda. She glared at Melinda and mouthed the words "I hate you" making Melinda feel upset. Melinda struggles to find where she fits in all while avoiding Andy Evans, the person who attacked Melinda and traumatized her. Melinda has to keep up with school, friends, and when Rachel starts to date Andy Evans, Mel decides to take matters into her own hands to prevent her friend from getting hurt, which takes a turn for the worst, but in the end she decides to speak up about what happened to her at the party.

Character Analysis

Melinda is the type of person who keeps to herself and ever since her traumatizing experience at the party, Melinda doesn't really open up to people. She struggled with her grades and the only class she really liked was art. She has a habit of biting her lip sometimes causing it to bleed. She has parents but no siblings and doesn't have the greatest home life. She got along well with her science partner David. She lost all of her friends after she busted the party so she has trouble fitting in.
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Melinda encountered a lot of different types of conflict. She encountered character vs. character and character vs. society conflicts. Her character vs. character conflict was between her and Andy Evans her attacker. Andy attacked her at the party and ever since she's been afraid of him. She ran into him one time at school and she immediately froze. "I am a deer frozen in the headlights of a tractor trailer. Is he going to hurt me again? He couldn't not in school. Could he? Why can't I scream, say something, do anything? Why am I so afraid?" Melinda also goes through a character vs. society type of conflict because she couldn't really make any friends. Everyone had their own cliques and Melinda was known as the 'Outcast'. It was hard for her to find someone to become close with especially since she was the type of person who kept to herself.


I think the theme for Speak would be if you are experiencing or have experienced something traumatizing that you should always talk to someone instead of keeping it to yourself. It could scar you mentally if you keep thinking about it instead of talking to someone and figuring out ways to move past it. You could even use your experience to help others come forward.

Textual Evidence

The most powerful part in the book is when Melinda is trapped in a janitors closet with Andy Evans, her attacker from the party and Melinda fights back. She screams "No!" and uses something sharp she finds in the closet and strikes Andy Evans. Andy falls to the ground and Melinda opens the door to find a bunch of her classmates surrounding the door. They let her through and she escapes. That part in the book was so important because it was when Melinda who was usually quiet and kept to herself decided to fight back and call for help. My favorite quote from the book is when Melinda's classmate David, says if you don't speak up, "you let the bad guys win." I thought this was a meaningful quote because I think Andy felt like he was in control making Melinda panic when she saw him and since Melinda decided to speak up I don't think he will feel in control anymore.
What is depression? - Helen M. Farrell

Book Review

I would rate the book 4 stars because the ending doesn't really tell you what happens to Andy after Melinda speaks out about what happened and it doesn't give you the information on what happened after Melinda told Mr. Freeman about what happened. On the other hand, its a good read and sexual assault is an important subject that should be talked about to students and the book helps inform the reader about the subject and what its like to be in that situation and what not to do and what to do if you're in that situation.


Works Cited

"11 Facts About Sexual Assault." DoSomething.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2016.

"Be Assertive: How to Stand Up for Yourself." EverydayHealth.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2016.

"Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Website." Facts and Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2016.

"Helping+others - Google Search." Helping+others - Google Search. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2016.

"Not+being+able+to+speak+up+for+yourself - Google Search." Not+being+able+to+speak+up+for+yourself - Google Search. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2016.

"Speak+the+book - Google Search." Speak+the+book - Google Search. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2016.

"Standing+up+for+yourself - Google Search." Standing+up+for+yourself - Google Search. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2016.

TEDEducation. "What Is Depression? - Helen M. Farrell." YouTube. YouTube, 15 Dec. 2015. Web. 05 May 2016.