Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.

Anderson’s words often seem gleaned directly from a confused teenager’s soul.


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    Reviews & Awards


    • National Awards
    • ALA Best Book for Young Adults
    • ALA Top-10 Best Book for Young Adults
    • ALA Quick Pick for Young Adults
    • Edgar Allan Poe Award finalist
    • IRA Young Adult Choice
    • Junior Library Guild Selection
    • Michael L. Printz Honor Book (American Library Association)
    • National Book Award Finalist
    • New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
    • New York Times Bestseller List
    • SCBWI Golden Kite Award
    • YALSA Popular Paperback for Young Adults
    • State Awards
    • Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award runner-up
    • California Young Reader Medal nominee
    • Black-Eyed Susan Book Award nominee (Maryland)
    • Garden State Teen Book Award (New Jersey)
    • Iowa Teen Book Award nominee
    • Heartland Award (Kansas)
    • Kentucky Bluegrass Award
    • Maud Hart Lovelace Youth Reading Award nominee (Minnesota)
    • Teen Three Apples Award nominee (New York)
    • 2005 New York Reads Together Book
    • Carolyn W. Field Award (Pennsylvania)
    • Pennsyvania Young Readers Choice Young Adult List
    • Rhode Island Teen Book Award nominee
    • South Carolina Young Adult Book Award
    • Volunteer State Young Adult Book Award (Tennessee)
    • Tayshas High School Reading List (Texas)
    • Evergreen Young Adult Book Award (Washington)
    • Sequoya Book Award (Oklahoma)
    • Young Reader’s Award Nominee (Nevada)
    • Bookseller and Media Recognition
    • Booklist Editors’ Choice
    • School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
    • Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Book
    • Fanfare, The Horn Book’s Honor List
    • Los Angeles Times Award finalist
    • Publishers Weekly Bestseller
    • Booklist Top 10 First Novels (1999)
    • Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year (1999)

    • “The book's overall gritty realism and Melinda's hard-won metamorphosis will leave readers touched and inspired.’” —Publishers Weekly
    • “Melinda's sarcastic wit, honesty, and courage make her a memorable character whose ultimate triumph will inspire and empower readers.” — Booklist *Starred Review*
    • “Laurie Halse Anderson's first novel is a stunning and sympathetic tribute to the teenage outcast. The triumphant ending, in which Melinda finds her voice, is cause for cheering (while many readers might also shed a tear or two). After reading Speak, it will be hard for any teen to look at the class scapegoat again without a measure of compassion and understanding for that person--who may be screaming beneath the silence.” — Amazon.com
    • “Melinda's sarcastic wit, honesty, and courage make her a memorable character whose ultimate triumph will inspire and empower readers.” — Audiofile
    • “An uncannily funny book even as it plumbs the darkness, Speak will hold readers from first word to last.” — The Horn Book *Starred Review*
    • “An uncannily funny book even as it plumbs the darkness, Speak will hold readers from first word to last.” — Kirkus »»Pointer Review»»
  • Join the Forest!

    Join the Forest!

  • Speak Playlist

    Speak Playlist

    1. Tori Amos "Silent all these years"
    2. Tori Amos "Girl Disappearing"
    3. Tori Amos "Crucify"
    4. R.E.M. "Try not to Breathe"
    5. Patty Griffin "Be Careful"
    6. Indigo Girls "Kid Fears"
    7. Indigo Girls "The Girl With the Weight of the World in Her Hands"
    8. Avril Lavigne "Nobody's Home"
    9. Blind Melon "No Rain"
    10. Dave Matthews Band "Cry Freedom"
    11. Goo Goo Dolls "No One Is Listening"
    12. Goo Goo Dolls "Black Balloon"
    13. Imogen Heap "The Moment I Said It"
    14. Imogen Heap "Getting Scared"
    15. Imogen Heap "Hide And Seek"
    16. No Doubt "Don't Speak"
    17. Nothingness "Drowning Pool"
    18. Oingo Boingo "Weird Science"
    19. Pearl Jam "Fade Away"
    20. Seether "Tongue"
    21. Three Days Grace "Never Too Late"
    22. White Stripes "As Ugly As I Seem"

  • Speak Questions

    Speak Questions

    Please note: There is a 9-page interview with me in the back of the platinum (paperback) edition of SPEAK. Most questions about the book are answered there. Below are a few extras.

    Can you post the query letter that eventually led to the publication of Speak?

    I don't have it anymore. (I submitted SPEAK in 1997 and have moved three times since then.) My query letters tended to be very short: A paragraph with a one- or two sentence summary of the book, a paragraph that briefly detailed my writing qualifications, and a paragraph that said thank you for considering my work.

    BTW: SPEAK was plucked from the slush pile. I sold my first four picture books, my series, two novels, and a couple of work-for-hire jobs without an agent.

    How many copies of SPEAK have been sold in the US?

    Nearly two million.

    Do you think that SPEAK has made a difference?

    Absolutely. But it wasn’t the book. The readers of SPEAK changed our world.

    Many of them came away from the book with a new understanding of sexual assault and depression. They dug deep and found the courage to speak up about their own pain. They reached out and asked for help. They spoke up.

    The teachers and administrators who were smart and bold enough to put a contemporary piece of literature into the classroom are changing the world, too. They put the book where it could open minds and hearts.

    SPEAK is great example of the power of Story.

    What did you think of the SPEAK movie?

    I liked it. I especially liked my part. I play the rather attractive lunch lady who serves mashed potatoes to Melinda on the first day of school.

    Is SPEAK a memoir or an autobiography?

    Neither. It is fiction. Parts of Melinda’s emotional journey reflect what I went through in high school, but I made most of it up.

    When are you going to write a sequel? What happens to Melinda???

    Here's the thing...

  • Speak Links

    Speak Links

    Know someone who is struggling with depression?

    Great Things About Central New York (we have more than snow and basketball)

  • Speak – Teacher’s Section