I don’t read as many young adult novels as I used to, but recently I came across one that will definitely appeal to young teens. SPEAK begins irresistibly: “It is the first morning of high school. I have seven new notebooks, a skirt I hate, and a stomachache.” And it continues briskly from there.
The title refers to the narrator’s disinclination to speak, which is based not on some run-of-the-mill teen angst but as the result of being raped at a summer party. She also happens to be an outcast for having called the police to that party; she hasn’t told anyone why she did, and her friends have abandoned her. In short, she is miserable. But the book itself is not. The narrator’s rich inner monologue keeps it moving as she fights to get over the trauma. The constant presence of her attacker in the school adds to the drama, and while the book is somewhat predictable, it is also fairly suspenseful.
If you know a teenager looking for a good book, this would be a good pick.