First sentence: “It is my first morning of high school.”
Speak is the quintessential Young Adult book that all teenagers should read. It’s a classic. It’s a book that was very popular when I was a teenager because there simply was not a book for teenagers that spoke about rape.
Even after twenty years since Speak’s original release, the content in this book is still very important and relevant to what is happening in the United States and around the world. This conversation about sexual assault has to happen.
WHAT IS IN SPEAK: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL
- It retells the familiar story of Speak that everybody should read.
Speak has been made into a graphic novel! It’s just as you remember it to be, but in graphic novel form. The story is the same—since the first day at Merryweather High School, Melinda has been an outcast for calling the police at an end-of-summer party. She’s bullied and ignored, but those classmates don’t know why she did it, and Melinda’s not speaking. Speak is about a girl who struggles to speak out about her sexual assault and becomes withdrawn from her family and school.
The art will make you in awe of Emily Carroll’s ability to illustrate these difficult scenes.
The art is so gorgeous. It’s completely in grayscale and flows well with the narrative. It’s not shy about portraying what Melinda has to face—being bullied and ignored, slowly becoming withdrawn from her life, having to see her rapist—with horrific images of melting faces and sewn lips. These images will haunt you. You can see how scared Melinda is and how she’s struggling to speak about what happened to her. It’s heartbreaking. She’s in this dark place, and Emily Carroll does a fantastic job portraying that.
I love that Speak as a graphic novel gives readers an different experience of the story. Seeing it visually is a bit more visceral and intense. Also, I love that in Speak, Melinda excels in her art classes despite feeling like she can’t make sense of what she’s supposed to feel or do.
(You can check out the art over here.)
- It’s important to talk about consent and sexual assault.
With sexual assault being so prevalent and the current #MeToo movement, it’s important to speak out and talk about consent and sexual assault. It can be difficult for women—especially women of color—transgender people and males to make their voices be heard because they don’t feel safe or they don’t want to make others uncomfortable. There’s plenty of reasons why people don’t speak. Right now is the time to lift the voices of others who are able to.
Speak tells of one person’s story of sexual assault. There are countless stories similar to Melinda’s story, and what better time than now to speak against sexual assault and educated everybody—especially young boys and young men—about consent. Let’s talk about it and the stigma. Let’s support those voices who speak about sexual assault.
Who will love this graphic novel? Readers who have read Speak. People who want to experience Speak in a different way. Readers who want a story that will resonate. Everybody who loves Emily Carroll’s art (she wrote Through the Woods!).
Should you read Speak: The Graphic Novel? Yes. Speak is one of those classic YA that everybody should read. And now that it’s in graphic novel format, it opens this book to old and new audience. It’ll hit you right in the gut.