by Anderson, Laurie Halse; Siegfried, Mandy (NRT)

From her first moment at Merryweather High, Melinda Sordino knows she's an outcast. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops-a major infraction in high-school society-so her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't know glare at her. She retreats into her head, where the lies and hypocrisies of high school stand in stark relief to her own silence, making her all the more mute. But it's not so comfortable in her head, either-there's something banging around in there that she doesn't want to think about. Try as she might to avoid it, it won't go away, until there is a painful confrontation. Once that happens, she can't be silent-she must speak the truth.

In this powerful audiobook, an utterly believable, bitterly ironic heroine speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while learning that, although it's hard to speak up for yourself, keeping your mouth shut is worse.

Originally published in 1999, Speak still resonates with teenagers. Melinda, who is just entering Merryweather High, struggles to find her niche, but she also keeps a dark secret. Melinda called 911 after a gathering celebrating the end of summer, and she is judged and ridiculed for having broken up the party. What her fellow students do not know is that she was raped by a popular upperclassman, and calling the police was her attempt to get help. Unable to speak to the police or anyone else about her tragic encounter, she becomes a pariah, slipping into the solitary role of suffering from alienation and self-loathing. Siegfried's reading matches the cadence of a struggling teen. Her tone is at once both heartfelt and sarcastic, realistically reflecting a teen observing her peers. Siegfried gives Melinda an authentic voice of someone not only coping with typical teen angst but also with a deeper and more profound aching. Anderson and Siegfried draw the listener into Melinda's mind-set with raw emotion that is as timeless as teen drama itself. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

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