The first ten lies they tell you in high
"Speak up for yourself--we want to know what you have to say."
From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High,
Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high
school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an
end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to
her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes
increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether.
Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on
an art project that she is finally able to face what really
happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman,
a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her.
Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent
encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to
be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication. In Laurie
Halse Anderson''s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine
with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical
world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised
teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for
Speak was a 1999 National Book Award Finalist for
Young People''s Literature.