Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: the novel and graphic novel.

Today I’m sharing my reviews of the original novel and the recent graphic novel of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

mini review

Speak was genuinely one of my favourite books as a teenager. I borrowed it repeatedly from Lancaster Library, before investing in my own copy, which I still have somewhere, although it is somewhat battered and falling apart. So, when Team Bkmrk sent me a copy along with the graphic novel adaptation, I was beyond thrilled!

The recent cover of the novel is stunning, depicting the trees that are a big part of Melinda’s story as she works on an art project which helps her to heal from the trauma she has suffered. The cover for the graphic novel is very different but really highlights her feelings of loneliness and isolation. Both are brilliant.


Both are written in the present tense, in first person, so we are very much inside Melinda’s head. It is a gripping and absorbing perspective, but also suffocating at times as you cannot escape from her feelings, and it is like you are feeling everything alongside her. She is not popular at school after calling the police at a party, and the hatred she is subject to is a lot to deal with. She finds refuge in an abandoned supply closet at the school, and in her art lessons where her teacher encourages her to show emotion in her work. As a teen, I definitely identified with Melinda as a character. Not the assault she is subject to, but with her isolation and lack of friends at school, and her home life. I definitely wanted to come across an abandoned closet to hide in!

The graphic novel is a brilliant adaptation. It is faithful to the original text, and the illustrations are brilliant and really help to emphasise the important messages of Speak.

Speak is a story of recovering from trauma and of the healing power of finding your voice and speaking out. I loved seeing a book from my youth being republished (although it is horrifying that there is a greater need for stories of this kind in today’s world). I think Melinda’s experiences will be something that a lot of readers can identify with and I hope that many new readers find solace and help in this brilliant book.




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