Book Review: Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson


Format: Hardcover

Pages: 752 pages

Published: October 3, 2017

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel


The modern classic Speak is now a graphic novel.

“Speak up for yourself-we want to know what you have to say.”

From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless–an outcast–because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. Through her work on an art project, she is finally able to face what really happened that night: She was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her.

I read Speak when I was a teenager and I was so profoundly moved by this work that I considered to be one of my favorites YA books of all time. So when I heard that there was going to a graphic novel adaptation of the book, I was both excited and concerned. With any adaptation, you are always afraid that the new alteration will not stay true to the original work. So, I was afraid that a graphic novel of the book Speak would fail to capture the emotion and the pain the same way the novel did. But I am so glad I was proven wrong. Speak: The Graphic Novel is just as captivating as the original novel.

This graphic novel is a perfect example of the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”. The artist, Emily Carroll, is so talented. You feel Melinda’s pain and depression when you read the novel but Carroll really brings these emotions to reality when you see them so heart-wrenching, but beautifully depicted. I was left shaken when I read Speak and reading this graphic novel version brought a rush of those feelings back. I have never experienced a sexual assault but I have (and still do) experience depression. The assault, the feeling of emptiness, the voices inside one’s head…all of these interactions and emotions were so amazingly depicted I just couldn’t stop looking at the images. I was pulled into Melinda’s pain and I know both Anderson and Carroll wanted that to happen.

The story was originally published 20 years ago but I liked how they used up-to-date references but didn’t force it onto the reader. It was brief and it didn’t take anything away from the story. The story didn’t feel outdated to me. Because the storylines and the emotions are still relevant it can be applied to any time period. It was “modernized” for the younger audiences but still kept true to the past.

Speak is such a vital and necessary novel that everyone should read. After all these years, it’s story is still relevant tale that needs to be told. And with the #MeToo movement rising, this graphic novel just brought out how important it is for women of assault to speak up. This version was amazing and so well done. I highly recommend it for everyone to read.

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Get It At: Amazon |Barnes & Noble|Book Depository | Your local library

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson

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