Laurie Halse Anderson
Before the Summer of Freshman year, Melinda Sordino meets Andy Evans at a party. Andy rapes her and she calls 911. The police came and broke up the party, and everyone had blamed Melinda. She started high school at Merryweather High School and is an outcast. Melinda is shunned by her peers and her old friends left her in the dust. Melinda will not tell why she called the police. Melinda is unable to speak her thoughts and feelings of what happened that night and sinks into depression. “I just want to sleep. The whole point of talking about it, of silencing the memory, is to make it go away. I’ll need brain surgery to cut it out of my head,” (page 81, Speak) Melinda is befriended by Heather, a new girl, only to ditch her for "the Martha’s", who are the popular girls at Merryweather High. As Melinda’s depression deepens, she slowly starts skipping classes, being distant with her parents, and her silence is beginning to give her more attention. She nearly stops speaking and uses art from Mr. Freeman's class to express what she is feeling. Drawing, painting, and creating trees for her freshman year in art class, has helped Melinda acknowledge what happened and helped her face her problems. Near the end of the novel, Melinda slowly starts befriending her lab partner, who helps her with her problems and encourages her to speak. Rachel, Melinda’s ex-best friend, dumped her boyfriend Andy the night of prom after Melinda confessed to her what happened the night of the party. Andy realized that only Melinda could have been the one to tell Rachel what had happened, Andy attacks Melinda in her only safe place at school, AKA the janitor’s closet. A few cheerleaders found out, and soon word got around. Melinda was no longer treated as an outcast and the truth finally sets her free.