Hey! I recently (re)read the novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and I do have some strong opinions on it that I would like to share.

To start off, this novel is about a girl named Melinda Sordino. Throughout this book, she fights to overcome her depression due to something aching that happened to her at a summer party. She goes back to school in September with no friends, along with multiple glares from strangers. She decides that speaking will only hurt her, slipping into a state of depression.

This book truly meant a lot to me. The first time I read this book was in 2018 and it taught me a lot about standing up for myself when times get hard. When we are told to stand up for ourselves, we agree and stop thinking about it the day after. When we have to take action and stand up for ourselves, we tend to become a coward. I know that not all of us can relate to this, but there has to be someone out there who’s too shy, or too afraid to go out and stand up to everyone who has hurt them in the past.

We all want to be heard, but no one wants to show it, right? We’ll get called hurtful names like “Attention seeker” or “Clown”; none of us wants that. We always hear the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” I’m going to have to object to that saying. I believe that words will always hurt more than just a broken bone. A broken bone will heal in time, but words can stick with someone for a whole lifetime. This book teaches the lesson that in order to seek help, you have to speak out and be confident. All of us has had a moment where we’ve felt shy, not wanting to tell anyone about the problem we have, due to the worries that we’ll be ignored or told to “quiet down”. The book gives a thorough description of someone who is going through that anxiety and fear of speaking out, and overcoming it.

Despite the novel being a beautifully written piece, I think there should be a trigger warning, just because there are some people who are going to relate to this book in a deep way and maybe they aren’t ready to re-live that experience (even if it’s just through text) because it could bring back unwanted flashbacks. I think before you read this, you should make sure that you are ready, to read through mind of someone who is unable to ask for help and to understand that not everyone in the world has the happiness and positivity a lot of people try to display, and that there is a dark side to the world.

I would, without hesitation, give this book a 10/10. It helped me understand so much about how easily someone can hide under a mask to escape their negative past; it taught me that I should be nice to everyone, regardless of how they have treated me or other people, because I’ll never know if there’s something else going on in their lives.

Thank you for taking the time to read my review. I really appreciate it.