Book Review of Speak

reviewed on + 164 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 15

I almost passed this book along without reading it, and I'm so glad I didn't! I'm not usually that taken with books written in the present tense, and I didn't realize this one was at first. I'm not sure why, but it can put me off a little and with Mt. TBR looming large, that would normally mean the book would keep getting passed over. But it fell open as I picked it up to move it to the To Be Mailed pile, and what I saw there was enough to make me sit down and read the whole thing.

This is fantastically written! The protagonist is wonderful, completely real, and fully a teenager. I wanted to cheer with her and hold her hand through her hard times. The author has captured high school with all its terrible nuances, and I felt I was reliving the experience with Melinda (except this time I didn't hate it so much!). I swear, I actually had that social studies teacher, and for the same type of class, too! The only part that didn't fit with me was naming the cliques the way she did -- in fact, it gave me a few odd flashes off Margaret Atwood when they named one the Marthas -- but then, all my schools were much too small to have enough different cliques to bother with differentiating them.

Anyway, this book about dealing with the aftermath of rape does indeed deserve all the praise it's received. It handles the subject matter without being sad or morose, and with a surprising amount of sarcastic humor. Highly recommended, even if this is not your usual sort of read.

But oh my gosh -- a normal Thanksgiving at Melinda's house sounded more like Halloween!