(pb; 1999: YA novel)
From the inside flap:
“Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t know hate her from a distance. It’s no use explaining to her parents: they’ve never known what her life is really like. The safest place for Melinda to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she admitted it and let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have no choice. Melinda would have to speak the truth.”
Alternately acerbic, vulnerable and moody, Melinda’s first-person account of traversing the minefield known as adolescence is amusing and relatable; Anderson’s writing, pace and tone consistently rings true, grabbing the reader from the opening page. The fact that Melinda has been raped is evident early on, and while Anderson layers her novel like an onion, revealing salient facts over time, she doesn’t pretend that the rape is a revelation; rather, she's showing how Melinda is processing the rape-event in her head. Speak is a sensitive, wow-worthy novel, surpassing any Afterschool Special cheesiness that it might’ve possessed, given its subject matter, and because of that, it’s important.
This became a television film in 2004.
Kristen Stewart played Melinda. Elizabeth Perkins played Joyce Sordino. D.B. Sweeney played Jack Sordino. Steve Zahn played Mr. Freeman.
Jessica Sharzer directed and co-scripted the film. Annie Young Frisbie also co-scripted.