Tuesday, July 08, 2008
I finished reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson a week or so ago, and since then it has sat beside my laptop waiting for a review. Speak was an excellent book and will definitely be at or near the top of my list for the year. Speak is the story of Melinda Sordino. Mel called the cops at a party last summer and is now a social outcast. Now she has to deal with the fallout of her actions as well as dealing with why she called the cops in the first place.
The plot line of this book is dark. Mel is tormented, her grades are slipping, her parents are unsupported and distant. The only class she enjoys is art where she spends the entire year trying to draw a tree. Her best friend abandons her for the popular crowd and the popular guy. Mel stops talking. Despite all this, there are moments of great humor as well. The high school environment is captured perfectly.
The writing is terrific. The book is written as a series of very short paragraphs, sometimes only a sentence long. Some of the turns of phrase are simply breathtaking. Here's a few examples:
"Maybe I'll be an artist if I grow up." (p. 78)
"Of course I want to be a model. I want to paint my eyelids gold. I saw that on a magazine cover and it looked amazing- turned the model into sexy alien that everyone would look at but nobody dared touch." (p.82)
It's hard to say much about this book without giving it away, but if you have an interest in YA fiction you should read this. If you know a teenager or were a teenager, read this. It's so very good.
Speak has also been reviewed by one of my co-bloggers on We'd Rather Read. Be warned though, her review does contain a major spoiler. I'd recommend not reading it until after you read the book.