Almost exactly one year ago, I saw Laurie Halse Anderson speak at the Georgia Center for the Book and was blown away by her presence. I read Wintergirls for my January book club pick and I was reduced to tears over how heartbreaking it was (please see my earlier entry from January 2014 expounding upon the gut wrenching sadness that is Wintergirls). It has taken a whole year but I finally read my second LHA book – Speak and again I was deeply moved. There may have been tears but I plead the fifth.
Melinda is a severely depressed high school student and Speak unfolds in the aftermath of her sexual assault and rape the summer before high school. As time progresses, Melinda speaks less and less, folding in on herself as she is unable to come to terms with her assault and the alienation from her friends (the result of calling 911 during the very party in which the assault took place). LHA drew on her own experiences when writing Speak and the result is an extremely authentic, heartbreaking novel.
Via the magic of Pinterest, I have learned that Speak is currently in the process of being adapted into a graphic novel and LHA is overseeing the adaptation. The illustration below is a piece of sample art by Emily Carroll who will be illustrating the graphic novel. Needless to say, I am very excited – the graphic novel is tentatively due out Fall 2016.
I think my next LHA book will be The Impossible Knife of Memory. Speak also marks the first book I nabbed off my sister’s bookshelf rather than the other way around.