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the Graphic Novel
Jul 24, 2020CCPL_Teens rated this title 5 out of 5 stars
Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak: The Graphic Novel is a faithful adaptation of her award-winning book. The book, which many consider one of the best young adult novels ever written, is based on Anderson’s experiences as a teenager. The graphic novel follows a similar format whereby Melinda Sordino’s thoughts are shared through a series of daily episodes, much like a personal diary. Anderson collaborated with Eisner Award-winning artist Emily Carroll and the combination of words and images is nothing short of a graphic masterpiece. The story focuses on a tragic event in Melinda’s life where she is forced to call the cops at an underage drinking party. Following the incident, she is treated disrespectfully at school and labeled an outcast there and at home. While the tragic event catapults the story, there are also numerous moments where Anderson’s depiction of high school is quite humorous. This balance between heartbreak and humor demonstrates that the author clearly understands her audience. Her statement, “sometimes I think high school is one long hazing activity,” encapsulates the struggles Melinda experiences as she tries to cope with the past and heal as a young woman. I loved this book. It’s heartbreaking. It’s humorous. It’s insightful. And it demonstrates the inner conflict young adults experience as they try to balance algebra homework with the pains and struggles of growing up.