⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Trigger Warning: elements of rape are found in this book. If you are uncomfortable or triggered by this, please do not read any further.
“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. In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.
“There is nothing wrong with me. These are really sick people, sick that you can see.”
This is one of those books you read that you can’t read in one sitting. The emotion in it is almost overpowering. We have Melinda, who was raped, trying to make it through Freshman year in high school, already a difficult task without the added stress of walking around with her rapist. This book touches on so many important topics, and I personally think it should be read by all young adults or new high schoolers. Melinda doesn’t speak and there isn’t much dialogue, but we see her journey through the first year of school and her struggles while alone.
I thought this book was fabulously written. The style of writing makes it more dramatic and adds to the tension that is there. There are mini chapters with different subjects, we don’t really get to interact with any characters, and we hear Melinda’s thoughts on everything. The sentences are short and clipped, adding to the tone of the book. When reading, it feels as though we are reading through a robot’s point of view. There aren’t many conjunctions, the sentences are all about the same length, and there is a lack of emotion in her thoughts. We get a very real look into the way a young girl lives when she is outcasted from her friends and everyone at school, and it’s depressing. Melinda’s issues with speaking has a very real affect on how she is perceived at school. Instead of anyone seeing her as a teen in pain and need of help, they see her as a slacking delinquent.
“I am getting better at smiling when people expect it.”
I felt that this book was relatively realistic in the fact that after something traumatic happens to you, it can feel like nobody is there. All the negative points in life get brought out to the surface, and there is not much happiness anymore. Anderson does a fabulous job encapsulating the emotions of a teenage girl trying to find her way.
I would recommend this book to any teens or young adults in high school. It is good to recognize signs of trauma, and I thought this book showed what it could be like very well.
Thanks for reading!
Release Date: April 1st, 2001
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Price: $7.80 Kindle