Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Published: August 22nd 2019
Edition: Graphic Novel
The modern classic Speak is now a graphic novel.
“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–an 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. Through her work on an art project, she is finally able to face what really happened that night: She was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her.
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher, all opinions are my own.
Thank you to BKMRK for sending me a copy of this graphic novel alongside the new edition of the original novel.
Trigger Warnings: Rape, Sexual Assault, Self Harm, Victim Shaming.
Speak was originally published as a novel back in October 1999 and for the 20th anniversary there was an updated cover and a graphic novel released (I actually think the graphic novel was first released in 2018 but it got a new cover this year?!) I hadn’t read this one before but it was on my wishlist for a while so I was happy when I received the two copies in the mail as a surprise.
A little warning about when you read the graphic novel, my edition the pages felt weird so I should’ve known but as I was reading it my fingers became black from the pages and I ended up smudging it all over the cover (this will probably be rectified when I wipe it off) but it was very annoying for it to happen and there were a couple of parts in the book where the background was a very dark grey which caused the black writing to blend in a lot so there were two or three parts with this where I just couldn’t figure out what it said.
The only reason that this book got 4 stars instead of a full 5 stars is because I thought that the ending was fast paced and rushed as I was getting to the end of this I was getting extremely worried that it wouldn’t get resolved at all!
I thought that this was an incredibly powerful book, it speaks the truth and shows us how victim blaming is so wrong and horrible, I really felt bad for Melinda’s character, her friends abandon her after she called the police everyone thinking she did it to break up the party rather than to report what had happened to her and thus sending her into a spiral of depression, self harm and anxiety and one thing I hated the most was when she finally told her old friend what had happened she didn’t even believe her. I love how she is able to find solace in art class finding a way to express herself with drawing and sculptures.
I do highly recommend this book, it’s an unbelievably important read and I do think that this is something that should be an option for people to read in High School, so that it shows the power of everything shown in the book because things like rape and sexual assault are not shouted enough during school and it’s something that needs to change. I would like to read the original novel at some point to see any differences but I have seen that the graphic novel is accurate to the book.