SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson
SPEAK is about a 13 year old girl who loses the ability to talk to others after she experiences a traumatic event. Her friends abandon her, she is shunned by the rest of the school, and her parents don't seem to notice her at all. So she seeks solace in her Art class and finds ways to hide from everybody, including herself. The story is told from Melinda's point of view, so as a reader, we can hear the thoughts that she cannot say out loud.
It is easy to feel sympathetic towards Melinda because she is a typical girl, struggling to do well at school. It's a quirky, funny, sometimes sad novel about what it's like to be judged and feel like the outcast, while dealing with identity, acceptance and finding inner strength. This is a 'can't put down until it's finished' book. You'll recognise characters in this novel, from your own school experiences, and one of them might even be you.
- Ms Christine Emery