Thumbs up Thursday

August 20, 2009 at 12:01 am

What book, author, writing resource or blog/website do you want to give the “Thumbs Up” to today?

I just finished reading Laurie Halse Anderson‘s novel Speakspeak1

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of summer party by calling the cops, so her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t know hate her from a distance. It’s no use explaining to her parents; they’ve never know what her life is really like. The safest place for Melinda is to be alone, inside her own head.  But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she admitted it and let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens.  And then she would have no choice. Melinda would have to speak the truth.

What I loved about it: Melinda’s (and therefore the author’s) voice is very distinct. She is snarky, funny yet cocooned in fear. Melinda’s character grows throughout the novel and you, as the reader, grow with her. The writing is quick and crisp and the page layout and book’s overall format is fun and funky, like reading pages from a teen’s  journal (as I remember from my own journal, I haven’t been prying into others!) The setting details are clear and poetic in places, which reflect the character’s mind and her love of art. They can also be exaggerated, like Melinda’s sarcastic self.  I especially enjoyed reading about the code names and cliques in the school: The Marthas, Hairwoman and Mr. Neck and how each character has their own plate of struggles they’re trying to balance.  Although the overall tone of the book is quick-witted and fast paced, Anderson handles a terrifying topic with realism and truth.

What qualifies for your “Thumbs Up?”


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