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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

No one. You have no one. Everyone has shunned you, made you feel as if you are a piece of gum on the hallway floor. You know exactly why everyone hates you, but you don't say anything to defend yourself. You have lost your voice. You have been traumatized into silence. You can't speak.

This is the life of Melissa Sordino, the main character and narrator of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. By calling the police and breaking up an end-of-summer party, Melissa earns leper status for ruining everyone's good time. This frighteningly realistic tale begins at the start of Melissa's freshman year and leads the reader through four grueling quarters.

As the book progresses, Melissa shows how hard it is to find your voice once you think it's gone forever, which is what makes this book so unforgettable. Anderson accurately describes the everyday stresses of school and the social hardships of being an outcast.

Another aspect that many can relate to is the viciousness of bullying and depression, and, worse yet, going through it alone. I guarantee that as Melissa takes you on her emotional roller coaster, you'll be dying to reach into the book and hug her and tell her everything will be all right.

Anderson has created an extraordinary read. Although short, Speak will break your heart and put it back together in the time it takes to get from cover to cover. It is an empowering story of silence and one girl building up her strength to overcome its constrictions.

Everyone – parents, teens, teachers – should read this book. Anderson's amazing writing skills will change your perspective on bullying and alienation in schools forever.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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