Saturday, March 2, 2013
Book #98: Monster, and Book #99: Speak
Book #98: Monster by Walter Dean Myers
Book #99: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
I'm reviewing these two novels together because they are pretty closely related. Some of you may remember reading one or both of these novels in high school. I decided to revisit them, now a few years older, and I still love them just as much, maybe more.
Monster is the story of Steve Harmon, a 16-year-old African American boy on trial for murder. He claims not to have done it, but no one believes him, because plenty of people are testifying that he was involved as a lookout. He is on trial with a man who seems to definitely have been involved, which makes him look even worse. Steve, an aspiring filmmaker, writes Monster in screenplay format, with a few of his journals in between. It's a quick, fresh read, that will keep you questioning until the very end.
Speak is about a high school freshman named Melinda, who has a terrible secret that no one knows. Something happened at a summer party to make all of her old friends hate her. She begins high school alone, and quickly becomes a selective mute. The only thing that seems to help her cope is her art class. As the novel goes on, you learn her secret, and see the struggle that Melinda faces on a daily basis.
Both of these novels are considered modern Young Adult classics. They're two novels that are often taught in high school and actually loved by students. They deal with the struggles of two teens whose voices are being silenced, a feeling that many people, teen and adult, can probably identify with from one point in their lives. While these two novels are presented in different ways and deal with different struggles, both are deep and easily draw readers in. They're timeless YA novels that appeal to adults as well, and approach issues that aren't always acknowledged as much as they should be. If you haven't read these, give them a try. If you have, why not revisit an old friend? Happy reading. =)
What I'm reading now...
1. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (sci fi)
2. Literacy and Longing in L.A. by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack (fiction)