Books for Younguns, Young Adults and the Young-at-Heart

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


It's Melinda's freshman year of high school, and things are not going well.  Her friends have stopped talking to her since she called the cops on a party over the summer.  Now she's slipped into a deep depression and refuses to talk unless it's absolutely necessary.  But is there something more that's bothering her?

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a 1999 National Book Award finalist.

This book is narrated by Melinda, giving us a deeply sympathetic and believable look into the mindset of severe depression.  Much of the focus of discussion has been the inciting incident, but this really is a book about mental health.  (I won't reveal Melinda's secret, on the off-chance someone might not know what it is.  It seems this is one of those stories that people forget contains a dramatic reveal.)   Because we are only getting a first-person account, those who have trouble identifying with Melinda's paralyzing thoughts may benefit from a discussion or additional resources.  Still this is an excellent teaching tool in addition to quality literature. Although it is nearing 13 years old, the writing doesn't feel the least bit dated or stale.  It's easy to see why this is regarded as a modern classic.

Speak is published by Square Fish and retails for $9.99 (paperback).  I bought my copy with my very own money.  You can get yours at Left Bank Books today!

Join us at Left Bank Books--Downtown on Wednesday, April 18, at 12:00 p.m. for the April meeting of the Current Affairs reading group, who will be discussing Speak!  Also, like all reading group picks, Speak will be 20% off at both Left Bank Books locations and online for the month of April!

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