Parents' Guide to

Speak: The Graphic Novel

By Michael Berry, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Hard-hitting tale of sexual assault and its aftermath.

Speak: The Graphic Novel Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 18+

Parents, please read before your child reads it! Rape/graphic content....

As a parent, I would recommend reading this book before your child reads it, so you can be prepared to explain rape, depression, suicide and self mutilation to your child. The main character is raped not once, but twice. These are extremely heavy/graphic (both emotional and physical) topics which should be discussed in the method/delivery you choose best fit for your child. Not all children receive/respond to heavy information/topics the same. Many children do not comprehend exactly what rape is or the after effects, hence the importance of serving as a sounding board to answer deep/thought provoking questions your child might not feel comfortable asking in a classroom atmosphere. If your child is assigned this book as required reading, PLEASE PARENTS, read it before they do, so you understand the content and you and your child can decide if it's age appropriate.

This title has:

Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 17+

Not recommended for young teens

Triggers including rape, violence, and self-inflicting pain. This book was assigned in my son’s 9th grade English class. Something of this magnitude should not be addressed in a comic-style reading book. While rape is a true problem, perhaps this subject should be saved for a health class setting or other. Neither my child or myself were comfortable with this as a required reading book, especially for this age group. Reading level is low but content way too high for school age children.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (4 ):

Treating a sensitive subject with grace, skill, and compassion, this often dark exploration of sexual assault and its aftermath does the issue justice. Originally a novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and now adapted with art by Emily Carroll, Speak: The Graphic Novel captures the drama, drudgery, and absurdity of high school, without losing sight of the mental anguish that can be inflicted on vulnerable teens. Carroll's expressionistic black-and-white drawings reflect the perceptions of the protagonist, whose interior monologues drive the action of the plot. Speak makes clear that what happened to Melinda was not her fault and that she has the strength to confront her assailant and reclaim her sense of self. This graphic novel is especially relevant as a release amid the #MeToo movement.

Book Details

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