I read this book, and then my 14 year old son read it, and we both loved the story and the voice of Melinda. The book is about a young girl who was raped by a boy at a party. She had drank (for the first time) beer at a party was then raped by a boy from the high school she was attending; she called the police and then was bullied at school for calling the police. No one knew about the rape or that this guy kept on harassing her at school. She didn’t speak. Throughout the book she doesn’t speak. As the reader, you don’t realize she isn’t speaking because we know what she is thinking.
We are given a look into her life after the rape and slowly she opens up to us what happened and then we are in the present time of how she survives and fights off bullies, friends, and the school to her to change to be the ideal girl, someone else. She fights to find herself and make peace with what happens. In the journey, she discovers that she is stronger than she imagined and it helps
her to confront her worst nightmare and biggest fight for her life.
What struck me in this story was her survival, her mindset. She does try to share what happened but there was never the ‘right’ moment. I won’t tell you the whole story, because there is more to this tale. For girls and boys who are victimized in school, this story really gives us, and teens a view into the world of being scared. What we do, what happens to us physically and emotionally, when faced in a situation of no control.
When people are victimized, we dare not to speak because when we did things went wrong. We blame ourselves, and the outside (sometimes) shames us, for speaking. We become a freak. In her walk, she tells us about this ‘being a freak’ and we laugh with her and cry with her. I feel the
author was brave to write a story with so much pain and on a subject, we don’t like to talk about: Rape. Teen rape is a shameful experience that happens to: One in four adolescent girls, and one in six adolescent boys, have been sexually or physically abused or forced to have sex against their will. Reference: http://listen.nycagainstrape.org/learn.html
Books can teach us why we don’t want to speak but also, show us how we can overcome and find our voice again after the storm. The voice of Melinda, the main character, is one that I felt close too, she was just a regular girl, with a regular family trying to fit in, like all teen girls; when this happened her life was turned upside-down. I hope that you will pick up this book, and if you
have friends, that you believe has experienced this, pass the book name on to them.
“Hey, have you heard about “Speak”? I heard it’s a good book, check it out.”
This can happen, and does happen to everyone. No matter the color, class or gender. Don’t be afraid to speak but if you are-- here is a book that will give you voice and a smile to remind you: You are not alone.