Speak, published in 1999, is a young adult novel by Laurie Halse Anderson that tells the story of high school freshman Melinda Sordino. After accidentally busting an end of summer party due to an unnamed incident, Melinda is ostracized by her peers because she will not say why she called the police. Unable to verbalize what happened, Melinda nearly stops speaking altogether, expressing her voice through the art she produces for Mr. Freeman's class. This expression slowly helps Melinda acknowledge what happened, face her problems, and recreate her identity.
Speak is considered a problem novel, or trauma novel. Melinda's story is written in a diary format, consisting of a nonlinear plot and jumpy narrative that mimics the trauma she experienced. Additionally, Anderson employs intertextual symbolism in the narrative, incorporating fairy tale imagery, such as Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, and author Maya Angelou, to further represent Melinda's trauma.