Laurie Halse Anderson‘s book, Speak, is the first book that I can remember leaving an impression on me. The book was published in 1999. I read it in my high school years around 2005. I had read books but not really connected to them on a deeper level. ⠀
I don’t remember how I got ahold of this book, but I’m glad I did! It really launched my love for reading as a young adult and made me understand the power that books and stories can hold. Topics in this book include: mental health, depression, and sexual assault. ⠀
One thing I love about young adult literature, especially realistic fiction, is that it allows teens to explore life and situations in a safe way. And for someone like me, who lived in a conservative city of about 90,000 people (back then) and didn’t get to travel much in my younger years, books really opened my eyes to what life was like for other teens out there. ⠀
Laurie Halse Anderson wrote a memoir written in verse of her experiences with rape and sexual assault that released in 2019, called Shout. She did a short interview on NPR about both Speak and Shout. Laurie’s website shares some valuable resources on her website to connect readers with organizations that help with sexual assault, crisis intervention, and mental health.
Speak was made into a movie in 2004 starring Kirsten Stewart which is currently available on Hulu and Amazon Prime.