Common Sense Media says

Controversial book about rape is powerful and painful.

Users say

(out of 126 reviews)
age 13+
Review this title!
Teen, 14 years old Written byDarkMidnight January 29, 2011

These pages must be lined with gold, I couldn't stop reading!

Man, I just love this book! I would recomend it for ages 13 and over, but 12 year olds (depending on how mature they are) can read it too. It made me grind my teeth the way everyone bashed Melinda for crashing that party. For one, drinking parties- ugh, been to one (that was unintended) stupid, stupid, STUPID children. And Melinda was getting more depressed each day while holding in this awful secret that made her feel so much shame. I was on this book like politicians are on money, I couldn't put the thing down! Later on I heard that Andy Evans actually didn't get arrested! They let him go! Ahhg I was so angry!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byhtswimmer April 12, 2011

One of those books...

This is one of those books I just couldn't put down. I have read other good ones, but this one I stayed up late in the night just to get that one chapter in to find out more. The feelings and pain Melinda, the main character, shares with the reader is truly an experience. I watched the movie before the book because I didn't even know the book was out! But I loved the movie so much, I saw the book one day, bought it, and didn't put it down until it was finished. I read this when I was 14 I believe, and I would only recommend this book to ages 13+. DEFINITELY READ IT. :)
Parent of a 7 year old Written bySIMZ December 1, 2009

Off for all ages.

This book had very descriptive sexual scenes and many more sexual remarks and comments. It was a very negative book - although it ended in a very positive way. The risks involved involved in being a 13 year old girl at a drunken party with men was never addressed (such as the possibility of rape!).
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Educator and Parent Written by6714 September 8, 2011

Speak

What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Adult Written byOlivePadfoot April 9, 2008

Wow

An incredible book, creatively weaves thoughts of a disturbed teenage girl's head. It's relatable and interesting. You'll crave more, one of Anderson's beast feats.
Parent Written byBoulderParent April 3, 2013

Seemed inappropriate as a 'must-read' in middle school.

The fact that this book was written in response to a dream that a book author had, distorts the 'realistic' events and circumstances creating a platform of major disappointment for anyone who might try to use this book as a tool to cope with being raped. The characters in the book, the kids, the parents, the teachers, the students, etc. were very much disrespected, labeled, and not trusted, thereby creating a negatively biased idea of a system designed to help form a positive future for kids. Some of the visuals were akin to vomit~ we know it exists but to visualize is completely unnecessary. For example: the ever-changing school mascot of the Bengal Tigers includes a graphic description of photos of tigers that were skinned as a promo to ban the mascot idea- really?? Most of the book is very depressing reading with very little educational enrichment.
Adult Written bylindateaches July 2, 2010

Great convfersation starter for sensitive teen/young adult issues

If we do not talk about the frightening events that can be a part of the middle to high school years, our teens will not be prepared to handle them. The "If we don't talk about it, maybe it will not happen" strategy does not work. Even if they roll their eyes and groan, we have to talk about these subjects and how to avoid these situations or how to handle them, if they do happen.
Adult Written byswimgirl2405 June 22, 2009

im not quite sure

This book has a lot of dry, witty humor. It describes highschool in a very dark & depressing way. I think the way Laurie portrays the students is some what realistic. I have read this, and noticed that this book has received quite a number of awards that personally, I don't really think it deserves. It is quite boring and slow moving. I do understand this is the reality of highschool, but why would someone want to spend time reading a novel of this portrayl. I would rather be reading something with more of a story, plot-line, and really I could go on and on but I think you know what I mean now. Thanks for your time - ha.
Teen, 13 years old Written byXinaTurtle June 20, 2015

Shows impacts of rape

I believe that this is a story teens and Tweens should read to understand the effects of rape on a person. Great book I highly recommend
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old October 27, 2013

Know Sensitive Teens And PreTeens

I am eleven and I read it more than once and liked it. Although a terrribly dark theme, it also has educational values in how to avoid a situation like Melinda's and to show compassion and understanding to someone in that kind of pickle. The attack scene it's self isn't gory or graphic in details. Also in the same scene, drinking is briefly referenced. It is slightly censored, but still honest and a good look at honest reality.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byReba9497 March 6, 2011

12+!

It's hard to read, (I was weeping through it) but a powerful, strong story that teaches about trauma. If u look at the ratings at the end of the book it says that 1 out of 6 American women are sexually assaulted at some point in their life so I don't see why it's not appropriate to discuss it with pre teens. The book is awesome.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 18+ year old Written byKMichelleLetson September 17, 2009

A Wonderful Books For Pre-Teens And UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This book holds an amazingly powerful story that can happen to anyone. It is a good book to have younger teens read it can help them see whats really out there....will it scare them...No Probably Not...but it informs the reader that life is not all peaches and cream...its not perfect...and all teens should know that going into high school.....My 8th grade reading teacher read this book to the class and I was moved...that was six years ago and this book still holds true...its a great book for all ages...parents don't be scared to let your children read books they can be a great learning experience...some books may have gruesome scene but I promise they wont traumatize your children
Adult Written byte_quiero_mas April 9, 2008

great book, but not a good read for children

this book is quite great, but it is meat for a teen audience. it's relatable to teens going through emotional issues or who feel like outcasts. this book helped me through some hard times and it is great, but a bot graphic i guess
Adult Written byashleylynnlynn April 9, 2008

fantastic

Speak is a great book for kids who want to read about "real life" issues without being too graphic. The book makes reference to alcohol use over the summer prior to school beginning but the main character looks back on it as a mistake she wished she wouldn't have made. The description of the sexual assault is not particularly graphic either. At the end of the book, the main character finds herself in a violent confrontation with her rapist. THis was a scary scene, but he does not force himself on her sexually and it is quickly resolved. Many of my male students have appreciated this book because of their deeper understanding of what it would feel like to be sexually assaulted from the female perspective. It has the potential to change their actions because the book potrays the deep psychological effects of assault. Overall, well written and a true tale of the high school experience. I would share this book with teens and adults alike.
Adult Written bybeezer April 9, 2008

wow

This is a book that truly speaks to the teenage mind. Though the content is a little innapropriate, the story is pieced together beautifully
Teen, 13 years old Written bygmvyoshi January 9, 2015

Beautifully Written Novel.

"Speak" has changed my life and I'm sure has changed the lives of others. (¡SPOILER ALERT!) Sex-Melinda is overcoming a rape. She describes it in the last page of the book-how she was too young and too drunk to understand what was happening. Violence-Melinda was raped. In one scene, Andy Evans, the guy who raped her, beats her up in a closet and they are interrupted. Language-very mild, infrequent language includes: b--ch, s--t, and hell. Sex-Melinda is raped and this is, obviously the most discussed topic in this book because Melinda narrates it. Melinda, as she narrates, makes a comment about her school being the "Pride of the Trojans" "TROJAN" is a condom brand, but most kids wouldn't knows that, but may ask their parents about it. Melinda corrects herself, even though she said it purposely implying that she goes to a slutty school, by saying the "Pride of the Blue Devils," which is what it really is. Great book will grasp many readers with its stunning topic. The movie is great, too, and I also recommend the movie anyone ages 14 and up.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Adult Written byannamade April 9, 2008
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008

Important Book for High Schoolers

Although the subject matter here is serious, the book often finds a painfully funny way of dealing with it (as the other reviewer pointed out). It's an honest examination of why some students find high school difficult, and why everyone should consider how things look from someone else's point of view.
Kid, 11 years old July 6, 2014

Great book, but can be sensitive for some kids

Overall, it's a really good book but there's some sex and sensitive subjects that might be uncomfortable for kids. Even so, I think this is a must-read book.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Too much sex
Parent of a 13 year old Written byjuly984 July 4, 2011

For MATURE Kids Over 13

I have to tell you, with this book being an award winning book, I expected it to be better. It was actually uniquely written, which I loved. But at some points I thought the text was actually boring.

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