High school freshman Melinda Sordino is finding it hard to speak up: "My throat is always sore, my lips raw.... Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze.... It's like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis." Of course no one at school is speaking to her, she's a virtual outcast among her peers. We learn right away the reason no one likes her: she called the cops at a party and got a lot of people busted. She had good reason to call out for help, but the reader doesn't learn about it until much later. Ostracized by the entire student body, Melinda is completely isolated. She had a small group of close friends, once upon a time, but we all know how quickly allies can become enemies when you're a teenager. I was stunned by this book - it is very well written, and the experience of Melinda's trauma and the pain she suffers every day is palpable. Her story is compelling from cover to cover. Melinda's journey of self-discovery takes place largely in her art class. It is only through art that she is capable of expressing her agony. Speak is affecting, heartbreaking, inspiring, and clever. Anderson portrays the reality of high school with absolute clarity and accuracy. Melinda's sarcastic sense of humor will have you alternately laughing and crying all the way through.