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Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson David Petrakis is my hero, too, Melinda. I want you both to come to dinner.

What do you mean, they aren't real?!

The world of Speak certainly feels shockingly real. I felt as though I had unwittingly picked up the diary of a real girl as I followed the journey of Anderson's darkly hilarious, poetic, and frank narrator Melinda.

After a traumatic event over summer vacation, Melinda enters high school as a social outcast. Who can she share her troubles with? Her disinterested parents? Her ex-friends, who won't speak to her? Her new friend who is only interested in entering the "right" clique? Her out-of-touch, all-too-familiar teachers and school administrators?

With no one she feels she can trust, Melinda largely stops speaking at all. What follows is her struggle with depression, isolation, and despair as she looks within herself for the ability to overcome her pain.

Despite the cubic ton weight of the subject matter, I laughed out loud over and over at Melinda's one-liners, at the antics of her school's administrators, and the wise-beyond-his-age doings of David Petrakis My Lab Partner, a boy who is Melinda's, well, lab partner. I read about Melinda's confusion and cynicism, and wished so much that I could reach out to this invisible, imaginary person and offer comfort. I cheered her on in her decision to find her way free of the darkness others created for her.

I have nothing but praise for this book. I have no negative comments. Well, except that there isn't a sequel!