Friday Favourites #1

Friday 4 October 2013

Friday Favourites is a weekly meme, hosted by Tressa's Wishful Endings, that focuses on a favourite author, book, series, cover, publisher. Any bookish thing, really. 

Laurie Halse Anderson
The first ten lies they tell you in high school. "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.

Why this is a favourite
I don't tend to read realistic fiction, purely because I like to escape reality when I read, and a lot of 'realistic' topics put me on edge and I find I'm unable to enjoy the story. I was worried Speak - seeing as it deals with rape - would be hard to get through, not to mention unrealistic and anxiety inducing. 

Fortunately, that wasn't the case. I found Speak to be written well, in an interesting, informal journal style. It allowed the reader to understand Melinda more, I thought, and why she was so reluctant to talk about what had happened and why no one would listen to - or believe - her. 

The subject was handled well, too, in a mature way that wasn't too serious that Speak left the young adult genre and turned into an adult book. I enjoyed that it never went into detail about the rape, but focused more on its after-effects and how Melinda dealt with it. Unlike a lot of realistic (specifically YA realistic) books, the controversial topic was not just thrown in for the sake of writing a controversial book, but to address the topic and highlight just how much of a problem it is.

Long story short: Speak is powerful. If you haven't read, you really should.

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