#ThrowbackThursdayBookstagram: Speak

The selection for #ThrowbackThursdayBookstagram this week is SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson.  

This book goes back to 1999 (which means it’s older than my oldest children), but if you haven’t read it yet, you should. It was a 1999 National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature, an honor that is very well deserved. Teens and adults alike have benefited from this “groundbreaking novel.”

” ‘Speak up for yourself–we want to know what you have to say.’ From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her.

As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication.

In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.”

This is the sort of book I wish had been around when I was in high school, when I had no idea how to put a voice to what I needed and/or wanted. It’s an important book for girls and women, especially, but also for every person out there. If you haven’t read this book yet, I’d put it at the top of your list.

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