Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson
I just reread this because I haven't read it since I was a teenager and I was curious to see if it would affect me the way it did then. It completely does. Melinda is such a wonderful character. She's snarky yet incredibly sympathetic and wonderfully flawed. We watch her go to hell and back and when I got to last page I felt like I was saying goodbye to a really old friend. Some of her observations about high school and the world around her are LOL funny and really dead-on. The writing is crisp and clean and pretty fast paced. The only complaint I might have is that the ending does feel neat and a bit unrealistic, but with everything we've watched this girl go through I find myself being okay with that. I also think this book reminds me of how important it is to remember what it was like to be a teenager especially if you have to deal with one on a regular basis. I'm not even that old but I find myself dismissing a lot of my 15 year old sister's complaints because they seem so childish. I have to remember that it's hard to accept the fact that high school isn't everything when you're in high school. Seeing how the adults in Melinda's world dealt with her silence really made me sad because I know that it's a very common attitude especially in public schools. Adults in charge of young people really need to work on finding ways of letting students know that they're there to listen and then they really need to listen to them and not just assume that everything is teenage angst.