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Laurie Halse Anderson’s ‘Speak’ Becomes a Graphic Novel

An illustration of a young woman’s life changing traumatic experience

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Laurie Halse Anderson’s iconic YA novel Speak is set to be released as a graphic novel on Tuesday February 6, 2018. The graphic novel is illustrated by Emily Carroll.

This ground-breaking 1999 novel tells the story of Melinda Sordino, who calls the police at an end-of-summer party and is ostracized by her peers. It turns out that Melinda was raped at the party by an upperclassman, but is unable to verbalize what happened to her so she stops speaking altogether. One of the few people who reaches out to Melinda is her art teacher, who helps her to express herself through art and process what happened to her that night.

The novel has won several awards, been translated in 16 languages, and created into a movie in 2004. The novel has been challenged by schools and parents across the country for its mature content and themes.

The graphic novel has not yet been released to the public; however, some were able to get their hands on an advanced reading copy. Kelly Gile of the Cheshire Public Library in the School Library Journal Starred Review said, “VERDICT This gripping, powerful work will introduce Speak to a brand-new audience and enthrall longtime fans. Admirers of Carroll’s Through the Woods will also appreciate this timeless tale.”

Sarah Hunter shared similar views of the graphic novel adaptation of Speak in the Booklist Starred Review, “Carroll strikes a deft balance, gracefully juggling the acute terror of Melinda’s rape, the pernicious paranoia that follows her in its wake, the swirling rumors and bullying surrounding her, and glimmering moments of hope and comfort. With spellbinding artwork, this exceptional adaptation masterfully does justice to its source material while adding new depth and nuance.”

Abby Goss is a senior at West Chester University. She will graduate in the Spring with a Bachelor of the Arts in English and a Minor in Journalism. She is a dedicated writer and has produced content for several outlets including Kelly Roach Coaching, The Odyssey Online, The Torch, and The Quad. She can be reached at abbygoss96@gmail.com.

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