February 6, 2018 • Cee • Comics

[note note_color=”#77937b” text_color=”#ffffff”]Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson & Emily Carroll • February 6, 2018 • Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR (Macmillan)
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“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.

With powerful illustrations by Emily Carroll Speak: The Graphic Novel comes alive for new audiences and fans of the classic novel.[/note]


[note note_color=”#BFD1D1″ text_color=”#ffffff”]I received this book for free from Macmillan for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.[/note]

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. 


  • 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 Speak is about a girl who struggles to speak out about her sexual assault and becomes withdrawn from her family and school.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.


2 Responses to “REVIEW • Let Me Tell You About It (Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson & Emily Carroll)”

  1. I can’t wait to get this book. SPEAK is one of my all-time favorite books. I totally agree that sexual assault is an important topic for people to talk about– especially for young people. But I also think it has been for a while and not just because Hollywood said so this year.

  2. […] Novel Hermit’s positive review of the new graphic novel of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Emily Carroll, has me even more excited for this! If […]

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