Speak, published in 1999, is Laurie Halse Anderson's young adult novel that tells the story of high school student Melinda Sordino.[1][2] After accidentally busting an end-of-summer party due to an unnamed incident, Melinda is ostracized by her peers because she will not say why she called the police.[1][2] Unable to verbalize what happened, Melinda nearly stops speaking altogether,[1] expressing her voice through the art she produces for Mr. Freeman's class.[1][3] This expression slowly helps Melinda acknowledge what happened, face her problems, and recreate her identity.[2][4]

Speak is considered a problem novel, or trauma novel.[1] Melinda's story is written in a diary format, consisting of a nonlinear plot and jumpy narrative that mimics the trauma she experienced.[1][2] Additionally, Anderson employs intertextual symbolism in the narrative, incorporating fairy tale imagery, Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, and Maya Angelou, to further represent Melinda's trauma.[1]

Since it was published, the novel has won several awards and has been translated into sixteen languages.[5] The book has faced censorship for the mature content explicit in it.[6] In 2004, Jessica Sharzer directed the film adaptation, starring Kristen Stewart as Melinda.[7]

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