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Speak: The Graphic Novel

Review

Speak: The Graphic Novel

Written by Laurie Halse Anderson and Illustrated by Emily Carroll

SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson is a novel about our main character Melinda Sordino, who at the end of the past summer, called the cops on a party she was attending. Due to this, all of her friends have stopped talking to her, and just about anyone who knows she called the cops on the party hates her. Now Melinda is trying her best to move on from the party and the events that took place that day, but something happened that night, and if she continues to ignore her past, then her life will come crashing down around her.

Laurie Halse Anderson has written countless of Young Adult and Middle-Grade novels, but SPEAK is her most famous to date. Now, I read SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson over a year ago; I would say that it was around January of 2017. It has become one of my favorite books of all time since then, so when I heard there was a graphic novel version of SPEAK being released, I knew that I needed to get my hands on it right away.

"SPEAK: The Graphic Novel stays true to the original, and the artwork intensifies the story and manages to capture the feeling of despair from the first page right to the very ending."

First, I want to say that this book has a huge trigger warning for rape, and if you are not comfortable reading about rape, then you should stay away from this book. While I love SPEAK with all of my heart, the scenes of sexual assault are extremely graphic and raw (especially in the graphic novel), which while it does make it a powerful novel, it can also be harmful to those who are not in the right mindset while reading the book.

The artwork in the graphic novel version of SPEAK was absolutely breathtaking; I don’t know how, but Emily Carroll was able to masterfully transfer the novel’s dark tone into images. In fact, I think the images enhanced my overall reading experience. Clear and crisp, the haunting art style only made me love the book more than ever.

The story itself was wonderful as it had originally been; the graphic novel stays close to the original plot-wise, and while there were a few changes in the story, it is still heartbreaking and tragic. Because the original novel was published in 1999, making it almost 20 years old, the changes made in the graphic novel version were used to modernize the story. This included mentioning smartphones, Nutella, and social media such as Instagram. I think this made the story more relatable to me personally and was the right decision to make when creating this new edition.

SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson is perhaps one of the most important novels to ever be written for young adults; it was one of the first books ever to deal with a topic such rape and sends the message that one should never be afraid to speak up about sexual assault or rape. SPEAK: The Graphic Novel stays true to the original, and the artwork intensifies the story and manages to capture the feeling of despair from the first page right to the very ending.

Reviewed by Marco M., Teen Board Member on February 27, 2018

Speak: The Graphic Novel
Written by Laurie Halse Anderson and Illustrated by Emily Carroll