Parents say

(out of 24 reviews)
age 14+
Review this title!
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


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


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.
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.
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


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


This is a book that truly speaks to the teenage mind. Though the content is a little innapropriate, the story is pieced together beautifully
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.
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.
Parent of a 14 year old Written bykylieann1996@ho... October 14, 2010

Love It Or Hate It? Its My Opinion.

Love it. I tell the parents and kids that it teaches a great life lesson :] Enjoy. -Kylie
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byOrson456 January 24, 2010

Perfect for 13 and older

One of the best written, most literate books I have come across in my job as a middle school librarian. This book perfectly captures what it means to be a teenager in today's society. It flies off the shelf regularly and often has a waiting list even though we have multiple copies available. I recommend it for mature 7th graders and older.
Educator Written bysb34chick November 21, 2009

Read this with your daughter.

This is a truly well written and touching read, though is appropriate for a mature reader. In this story a girl is raped, and that is a strong topic best read by older teens. This is a great opportunity to read along with your daughter. Though it is a strong theme, the storyline is positive and the reader will not be disappointed.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Educator and Parent of a 10 and 15 year old Written bymdelgado January 25, 2011
Shows how some individuals deal with traumatic experiences and gives the reader a glimpse as to how people can ultimately rise above such experiences. The rape might be difficult for younger readers to handle.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages
Parent of a 15 year old Written byalex_dylan_marion November 2, 2010

very great story for older teens, NOT KIDS!!!!!

i like it, but i do think you should be 15+ before you read it because it has profane language that kids should not hear and there is a little of content kids cannot grasp without acting immature, but over all, its a great book!!!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Adult Written bycaitlin89 September 17, 2009


I really like this book and recommend it for any girl over the age of 13! I know that Rape is a very sensitive issue, but don't let this deter you from letting your teen read this book! Melinda makes some mistakes along the way, but she eventually finds the strength and courage to tell and move on. It is a witty and inspiring book!
Educator and Parent Written byChrysa C. August 5, 2016

Expressions of PTSD

I do not understand why many reviewers have marked this novel as "too much sex" or "too much swearing." In fact, there was very limited bad language, and for a novel about rape, the only "sex" was "his zipper was down." The book is not really about a rape; it is about a girl who is suffering from PTSD and her recovery. The "event" could have been anything--a car accident, a sibling's death, physical abuse. It really is not important. I think the says a lot of about both the school's and her parent's failure to recognize the problem. Aside from the art teacher, the school made her situation worse. I think the novel is an important read for parents and educators. I also think mature YA readers will see something familiar--you know that kid who is quiet and not doing well? Maybe they need someone to talk to.