Today in YA History: October 7, 1999 – ‘Speak’ published!

October 1999: Multi-award winning novel “Speak”, by Laurie Halse Anderson, is published with Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. The book would challenge censorship of important teen issues in YA novels.

A New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller, Speak was a 2000 Printz Honor book.

From Laurie’s site:

    Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth.

Due to the controversial subject matter contained in the book and Melinda’s secret, Speak has is one of the more frequently challenged books for teens. The author spoke out against censorship in the 2006 Platinum Edition of the novel, saying, “But censoring books that deal with difficult, adolescent issues does not protect anybody. Quite the opposite. It leaves kids in the darkness and makes them vulnerable. Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance. Our children cannot afford to have the truth of the world withheld from them.”

Speak was made into a film of the same name in 2004. It starred Kristen Stewart, who you might recognize from the film adaptation of another famous Young Adult novel series!

Do not miss out on this one. It is well worth the read, so pick it up from your local Independent bookstore!

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