I recently read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson again. When I first read this book, I was completely blown away by how powerful that book was. It was not just emotional, it was raw, it was painful. So when I saw that the Speak graphic novel was being released, I was so excited to read it. But, as it happens often, being an adult often gets in the way, and I forgot about it for a bit. I meant to buy the book and never got a chance, but when I saw it was available at the library, I didn’t hesitate to pick it up.
I read through this entire book quickly. It was just…wow. It was amazing. Just like the original novel, Speak: The Graphic Novel is raw and painful. It uses the original text and follows it closely, only this book is illustrated so beautifully that it brings this amazing classic to life in a brand new way.
The story starts off with Melinda starting off at school, with everyone hating her. The reason they dislike her? She called the cops at a party in the summer and got a lot of kids in trouble because there was alcohol – and no one forgot about it.
Melinda starts off by being kind-of friends with a new girl who doesn’t know about the party that summer – or why everyone dislikes Melinda so much. Melinda, suffering from severe depression and the fact that she does not want to talk, eventually loses her new “friend,” and is alone.
During this, her grades are dropping, she is cutting class, and spending a lot of time alone. Working on a project for art – of a tree – is difficult for her, and she tries different media to attempt to really capture the tree in the best artistic form she can.
But what no one knows is the reason she called the cops at the party. It wasn’t to get everyone busted for alcohol, but something much, much darker. It involves a guy that her ex-best friend is now dating, and Melinda wants to speak up, finally, about what happened at that party.
But will anyone actually believe her?
While I absolutely loved Speak: The Graphic Novel, I think that reading the original novel is essential to really capturing how beautiful this book is. Reading Speak first before diving into this graphic novel really helps to fill in some of the missing details, and really allows you to get into Melinda’s head a lot better. That being said, you could easily read and fall in love with Speak: The Graphic Novel without having read Speak first. They compliment each other really, really well though!
The artwork in this book is amazing – the artist really did a phenomenal job with creating the illustrations for this novel. I was simply blown away with how great it was. It went perfectly with the story.
I borrowed the Kindle version of this book through a library, and while I loved reading it, this is the kind of book that I would much prefer a physical copy of. I’m definitely adding this book to my list of books that I really have to buy, because I’m going to want to read it again and again.