Melinda, a young girl just beginning her first year of high school has some obstacles from her past, destroying her future. Many teenagers like Melinda are faced with the unfortunate affects of being sexually abused and it holds the teens back. Many young teens think it is over for them and just give up on life. Though, there are those like Melinda who just take time to break free and heal. These teens go through many different stages before all of the pain goes away. These young adults begin by not letting any emotions or thoughts out, and at this time these teens think it is best for them. After a long period of time these teenagers actually begin to think differently. The teens attitudes, just like Melinda's, changes slightly and the teenagers begin to open up to a few people. After a period of time, life re-enters into the teenagers' bodies and the teens begin to see a better perspective on life. Melinda was fortunate enough to break free from not talking to her peers. Throughout the novel, Melinda enables her own growth by becoming socially, academically and emotionally stronger, more developed and confident.
Melinda has found her voice over the course of the novel and has grown socially because of it. In the beginning Melinda was a social outcast. She did not have any friends, she would not talk to anybody and she hurt herself by keeping it all inside. People did not like her because she would not speak up: "Aren't you the one that called the cops at Kyle Rodgers's party at the end of the summer? . . . . My brother got arrested at that party. He got fired from his job because of it. I can't believe you did that. Assshole." (27 - 28). This proves that Melinda is a social outcast and is not liked by her peers. However by the end of the book, Melinda - through a series of events - grows and becomes a social teenager. She talks to Rachel and is not known as the girl who called the cops at the party anymore: "I didn't call the cops to break up the party . . ....
Cited: ndrea Laurie Halse. Speak. New York; Penguin, 1999.
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