I was intrigued by this book after reading a few reviews of it. It’s a YA novella that is a quick read at 197 pages. I received this book from Bookmooch while I was in the middle of reading East of Eden. I did the worst thing you can possibly do when you’re already involved in another book: I started reading the first page. BAD IDEA! I wanted to continue reading it; I knew that it wouldn’t take long to read, but I was committed to East of Eden for my book club, so I reluctantly put down Speak and promised myself I could pick it up the second I finished East of Eden.
The book is about Melinda, a high schooler who called the cops on an end-of-summer party she attended. Now she’s an outcast and something happened at the party that has caused her to withdraw into herself and almost quits talking altogether.
The writing is very simple, though not juvenile. The sentences are generally short and choppy, but it helps convey the mood of the story and the personality of Melinda. Here’s an excerpt:
My Enlish teacher has no face. She has uncombed stringy hair that droops on her shoulders. The hair is black from her part to her to ears and then neon orange to the frizzy ends. I can’t decide if she had pissed off her hairdresser or is morphing into a monarch butterfly. I call her Hairwoman.
Melinda ends up in art class where you see her struggling with a year-long project she’s been assigned. The more in touch with her feelings and what happened at the party (which she refuses to even think about, partitioning it off into a part of her memory that she will not visit) she becomes, the easier it is for her to progress on her art project.
This would be a fascinating book to discuss in a book club, no matter what the age of the participants. The writing is such that a lot is left to the imagination, though there is plenty of fodder for discussion of themes and issues.
Don’t take my word for it, though…these other people reviewed it, too. See what they had to say!