By: Laurie Halse Anderson
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Melinda has a terrible secret: she was raped last summer, and she hasn’t told anyone about it. Now Melinda hardly speaks a word, but as the traumatizing event in her past continues to haunt her, and the pressure from her friends at school builds up, Melinda realizes she needs to find her voice and stand up for herself.
• Flashback rape scene (some description)
• Sexual assault
• References to sex
• Reference to abortions
• Profanity (b*tch, d*mn, h*ll, p*ss)
• Some drinking at a party
Speak is an important young adult book focusing on a serious topic. Readers should be able to relate with Melinda’s small, scared, young voice, and will cheer for her as she finds confidence in herself. There isn’t much language, and the rape scene is only vaguely described in the main character’s memory, but the subject is still weighty, so I would only recommend this book for mature teens.