Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak is a beautifully touching narrative about a young girl who continues to withdraw into herself as she works through a date rape of a boy that goes to her high school. Her friends have chosen to ostracize her because they know that she is the reason the cops were called on the party at which the rape occurred. Those who don’t know push Melinda away because she continues to push herself away.

 As I was reading this book, I found myself pushing away from the narrator, afraid of who deep her depression went. However, at some point I realized that my own hesitancy in connecting with the character could be similar to her ex-friends and enemies choosing to ignore Melinda and her problems.

Melinda eventually starts to grow as Ivy, a budding friend in her art class, allows Melinda to be herself and do her art. Eventually, Melinda’s artistic dilemma is solved, as well as her fear over the rape and of speaking out as she received another chance to confront her rapist.

This time she defends herself.

This time she says no.

This time she is free to speak out.