The newly released Top Teen Reads has inspired this librarian to take on a reading challenge – to read all 80 titles on the list. Whew! Here we go…
1. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
First line: It is my first morning of high school. I have seven new notebooks, a skirt I hate, and a stomach ache.
This award winning book, and Anderson’s first novel, was very moving and powerful. Her narrative and writing successfully pulls you inside the head of Melinda – a high school junior trying to come to terms with a horrific event that happened to her over the summer holidays.
Melinda is an intelligent and witty observer of high school life, seen from her point of view as a hated and mute outcast. Melinda struggles through the school year; wanting to participate and engage with school life but finding herself unable to do so due to her loss of faith and trust in her friends, family and other students. Eventually circumstances force her to break her silence and speak out about the traumatic summer holiday events, unveiling the mystery behind her selective muteness, in order to protect others from suffering the same fate.
Speak is a fairly quick and easy read – the book is short and the story engaging, and will make you wonder what is really going on in other people’s lives that you have no idea about.
Highly recommended – 4 stars
Pick up your copy of the Top Teen Reads from any Wellington City Library, and start your own reading challenge