Speak: the graphic novel, written by Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrated by Eisner Award-winning artist Emily Carroll, takes a probing look at sexual assault and its consequences for adolescents. Melinda Sordino, a freshman at Merryweather High, is raped at a party and unable to speak out against her attacker. Instead, she expresses her feelings in the haven of art class, where her teacher challenges her to dig deep and voice her feelings artistically. Her struggle to cope with and communicate her depression is echoed in the stark, unforgiving greyscale of Carroll’s artwork. Melinda finds comfort in creating a space all her own, regains her confidence with the help of new found friends and is ultimately able to speak up against her attacker. This emotional novel challenges the reader to understand the reality and repercussions of sexual assault and the difficulty of seeking justice. –Recommended by Angel Stone, WOW Intern, University of Arizona Continue reading
By Angel Stone, The University of Arizona
“It is easier not to say anything,” thinks Melinda Sordino, a high school freshman in the book Speak who feels she cannot share her story of rape. In Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel, which will soon release as a graphic novel illustrated by Emily Carroll, Melinda shows us the dangers of hiding our most difficult experiences and the importance of speaking about them openly. Melina is fictional, but the fear she faces is real and can have lasting effects. We hear her story in every corner of our world from high school to entertainment to politics. Each one of us at some point face challenges that we don’t know how to share.
By Angel Stone, Worlds of Words Intern, The University of Arizona
Politicians admit to using their status to take advantage of women. Movie directors and actors use their power to assault young people. Mental health concerns are at an all-time high for children and teens. The novels we look at this month, written by authors attending the 2018 Tucson Festival of Books, address the issues of assault, unfounded judgment and mental illness. These TFOB YA authors provide a way to initiate conversations on difficult topics between young people and those who care about them.