Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
By P.J. Sonday
100 word Summary
Speak follows Melinda, a girl in ninth grade in high school, as she struggles to deal with bullying and being an outcast ever since her summer vacation. During the first few weeks of school, she makes a friend, Heather. Feeling left out, Melinda tries to join Heather’s club, the Martha’s, but is kicked out and abandoned by Heather. With no one around, she starts to slip away, she skips school, cuts classes in an unused Janitor’s closet. Finally, when attacked by the guy, Andy, who caused all her misery at a party in the summer, she finally speaks up. “No”
Conflict / Resolution
The conflict in Speak is a person vs person, because Melinda is being bullied and abandoned by other people. "The kids behind me laugh so loud I know they're laughing about me."
The resolution occurs when Melinda finally sticks up for herself and doesn't let Andy use her again.
Melinda is a teenager in ninth grade who is absolutely miserable and feels depressed a lot. The school year before the events of Speak, she had lots of friends, however, after a party in the summer that takes place before the events of Speak-When she called the cops on the party she was at-her friends abandoned her and she became a social outcast. She feels that no one is there to help her and that she doesn't deserve all of the harassment-and she doesn't. Over the book she shows an increasing struggle against herself as she starts to skip school and classes out of misery.
Heather is Melinda's ex-friend, while not becoming an enemy of her or bullying her, Heather simple could not stand Melinda's negativity and depressed attitude. Heather is very cheerful and happy, she always wants to be part of everything and help everyone she can. Over the book Her attitude stays relatively the same, but changes however when she decides to abandon Melinda for her club, the Marthas.
Mr. Freeman is Melinda's art teacher, at first, it was Melinda's favorite class, until she started to dislike it closer to the end. Mr. Freeman is a very flamboyant teacher, who is all about encouragement and inspiration. He looks up to the great masters of the renaissance. When he got in trouble with the higher officials at the school for handing out A's to all the students, he became depressed and impatient, he event tore his masterpiece in half.
Andy is a tall, dangerous college student. Over the summer leading up to the events of Speak, he raped Melinda when she was drunk at a party. Even after the events of the summer, he still tries to act nice around Melinda, not genuine nice, though.
Speak is a fantastic book, it is well written, and it's characters and situations glue your eyes to the pages. Seeing Melinda struggle through the year is very relatable content for teens in high school.