Reviewed by Sam, age 19, Massachusetts
Sweet Designs Staff Intern
Sweet Designs Featured Writer

Speak, written by Laurie Halse Anderson, tells the story of a young girl named Melinda, who enters her first year of high school as an outcast. A month earlier at a summer party Melinda and her friends crashed, something traumatic happens to Melinda, and she calls the police. Now seen as the girl who ruined an innocent night of fun, Melinda has lost her best friends, her happiness, and she is left without a fresh start.

Throughout the novel, Melinda struggles with her isolation and depression. She has a friend, a new girl named Heather, who uses Melinda as simple means of companionship the same way Melinda uses her. But even this relationship spirals into disaster. Melinda doesn't participate in class. She skips school. She deals with a strained relationship with her parents. She is alone and silent in her suffering, and she doesn't know how to speak out.

Overall, Anderson does an incredible job setting the tone for this novel. Melinda's journal-like narrative is darkly humorous in a sarcastic, contemporary way, and yet still heartbreakingly tragic. Melinda's journey through coping with her trauma is a complicated reflection of a young girl lost in her misery.

However, while Speak is an incredibly moving novel, it is not something you would pick up for an easy afternoon read. The book is definitely written with an educational message in mind, so I wouldn't recommend to someone looking to read something "for fun". The ending is also rather abrupt and pulls the reader away from the realism of the novel for the sake of the overall message.

If you're looking for something a little dark but very moving, I would recommend Speak.

I give Speak 3 out of 5 stars.

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

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