Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson I don't mince words when I say that this was a very well-written and personal read. Granted, I don't give it more than four stars because there were ideas in here that were quite cliche, but from the perspective of a protagonist that finds it hard to speak up for herself in light of not only the trials and tribulations she endures in the ninth grade, but also in the aftermath of being raped and stigmatized over when she tries to get help - it's an eye-opening read. Melinda Santiago feels like a real teenager with interests and an acute awareness of her sentiments and surroundings. You follow her through the ups and downs, and she has a distinct voice in her personal account. It's a bit of a give and take, because there were times I liked her voice very much and other times when it put me off. Nonetheless, I found it easy to follow her through the scheme of events and sympathize with her as she struggles to find her voice and place despite the pain she feels. She ends up finding her voice eventually, but it is a difficult journey getting there.Well deserving of its accolades. Why anyone would want to ban this book is just incomprehensible to me, it was well worth the time reading and I would definitely recommend it not only to its target audience but also to my peers as well.Overall score: 4/5