Category: Young Adult

The Impact These 2 ‘Coming of Age’ Novels Had on Me

How do books touch us in such profound ways?

The impact that books have on readers has a lot to do with the time in their lives at which people read them. When the narrative of a book aligns with or mirrors the experience a reader is going through, a powerful lasting impression is left upon that person. When I first read J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye in my sophomore year of high school, I connected with the main character Holden Caulfield immediately. His mental dilemma regarding the authenticity of the adult world was a topic I identified with so easily. Holden is a character that is the embodiment of genuineness, and made The Catcher in the Rye one of my favorite books of all time.

 

It’s hard not to wonder how differently someone would react to a book if they had simply read it in a different time in their life. These are the two books that had the most profound impact on me growing up and have taught me essential lessons.

 

The Giver by Lois Lowry

 

Image Via Amazon

The Giver is set in the perspective of an eleven-year-old boy, Jonas, living in a world devoid of war, hatred, pain, and fear. Because everybody acts the same and looks the same, there is no prejudice. There is no color. The world is also devoid of choice, as when every child turns twelve, they are assigned a job based on their talents and abilities. This book is generally part of middle school English curriculums, and is perfect for students at that age as it emphasizes the value of the contrast between pleasure and pain, and the importance of individuality.

I first read this book when I was thirteen years old. As a kid, I never knew the importance of pain and suffering, until I read The Giver. It put into perspective how crucial grief, heartache, and unhappiness should be in my life. A world without pain is ultimately a world unable to advance. Emotion is the foundation of individual growth, and this book played a big part of my maturation. As I got older, and experienced emotionally burdening moments, I would always think back to this book and what it taught me about how dealing with your sentiments is so vital. Somebody on the verge of their teenage years will truly understand why pain and suffering in this world is necessary for individual growth after reading this classic novel.

 

 

The Adventures of HuckleBerry Finn by Mark Twain

 

Image Via PBS

The foundation for bildungsromans, or ‘coming of age; novels, this book follows the protagonist, Huck, maturing as he goes through different experiences in his life. The novel primarily presents him as an immature boy, goofing around and playing tricks with his good friend Tom Sawyer. He has good intentions, but a moral sense that is misshapen by the society in which he was raised. He is constantly in a battle with himself, as he is constantly hard on himself when he does not turn in a runaway slave, Jim, as though that would be the right thing to do. Yet, as the novel progresses, so does Huck’s conception of what is right and wrong. He learns that many codes of conduct such as Christianity don’t necessarily produce good actions. By the end of the book, Huck is realistic and mature, while Tom still has a lot of developing to do. This book is the embodiment of independent self growth, and arguably the most perceptive coming of age novel of all time, especially taking into consideration its 1884 release date.

 

This book taught me that questioning every aspect of life is essential in creating your own unique frame of mind. Mark Twain shows the reader from the beginning of the novel that Huck is a boy who comes from the most dire conditions of white society. His father is a drunk who constantly vanishes for months on end. Furthermore, Huck himself is continually homeless. Although characters throughout the book attempt to reform Huck, he resists their efforts and maintains his independence. His experiences and instincts as he continues his adventures make him question everything he has learned from the society around him. According to the law at the time, the runaway slave Jim was Miss Watson’s property. But Huck’s judgment and fairness allowed him do the right thing and help Jim out. His actions go against the basic foundation of his society at the time, but in context they are faithful. Questioning is essential to intellectual growth, especially at a young age, because it allows you to develop your own personality. This book taught me to live, rather than to merely exist, or to become a critically thinking human being, rather than just a pawn in society.

 

 

Featured Image Via Inquiries Journal

 

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 6/27/19

The weather’s not the only thing getting hotter! This week, we’ve got some highly-acclaimed summer crime novels that simmer with drama and tension—unreliable narrators, creative play with chronology, paranoia, and rich character development that’s guaranteed to knock you off your feet (that is, if the beach waves don’t get you first). Just because YOU’RE relaxing doesn’t mean your beach read has to be, and these heart-pounding thrillers will leave you at a loss for words… unless the words, of course, are “more please!”

And let’s not forget, it’s still LGBT+ Pride Month: this week, we’re bringing you one of the first #ownvoices non-binary coming out stories to hit the shelves. While Bookstr aspires to celebrate diverse voices every month, we’re especially excited to use this time to draw particular attention to identities that may remain misunderstood even within the LGBT+ community. So whether you’re reading on an airplane, beach, or even your commute home, we’ve got three stories that are guaranteed to captivate.

 

 

 

 

 

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!

 

 

OUR HOT PICK
The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

 

'The Last Houseguest' by Megan Miranda

 

 

Synopsis:

Littleport, Maine is like two separate towns: a vacation paradise for wealthy holidaymakers and a simple harbour community for the residents who serve them. Friendships between locals and visitors are unheard of – but that’s just what happened with Avery Greer and Sadie Loman.

Each summer for a decade the girls are inseparable – until Sadie is found dead. When the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name before the facts get twisted against her.

Why?

Megan Miranda’s All the Missing Girls dazzled critics: a New York Times Book Review “Editor’s Choice,” the smash-hit bestseller gleaned favorable reviews from The Wall Street Journal, Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, Publisher’s Weekly, and Booklist. Now, Miranda is back at it with her next searing summer thriller: a Publisher’s Weekly starred review admires Miranda’s “clever, stylish mystery that will seize readers like a riptide.” Like her debut, this novel plays with time in a creative and compelling way, switching back and forth between 2017 and 2018 to keep up the palpable narrative tension. Unlike many thrillers, this one packs some serious commentary—the novel deftly explores the class tensions that complicate both the criminal investigation and the nature of Sadie & Avery’s friendship. This thriller is sure to thrill you with its character development and richly-realized web of secrets!

 

OUR BEACH READ
Man of the Year by Caroline Louise Walker

 

'Man of the Year' Caroline Louise Walker

 

 

Synopsis:

Beware the Man of the Year. You may praise him, resent him, even want to be him: but beneath the elegant trappings that define him, danger looms. Caroline Louise Walker’s stunning debut novel, for fans of Herman Koch’s The Dinner and Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door, delves into the increasingly paranoid mind of a man whose life as the most upstanding of citizens hides a relentlessly dark heart.

Dr. Robert Hart, Sag Harbor’s just-named Man of the Year, is the envy of his friends and neighbors. His medical practice is thriving. He has a beautiful old house and a beautiful new wife and a beautiful boat docked in the village marina. Even his wayward son, Jonah, is back on track, doing well at school, finally worthy of his father’s attentions. So when Jonah’s troubled college roommate, Nick, needs a place to stay for the summer, Hart and his wife generously offer him their guest house. A win-win: Jonah will have someone to hang with, and his father can bask in the warm glow of his own generosity.

But when he begins to notice his new houseguest getting a little too close to his wife, the good doctor’s veneer begins to crack. All the little lies Robert tells—harmless falsehoods meant to protect everything he holds dear—begin to mount. Before long, he’s embroiled in a desperate downward spiral, destroying the lives that stand in his way. It’s only the women in his life—his devoted office manager, his friends, his wife—who can clearly see the truth.

Biting and timely, Man of the Year races along at an electric pace, with a wicked twist that you won’t see coming.

Why?

This acclaimed summer thriller boldly flaunts its credentials: Booklist, Refinery29, and Publisher’s Weekly features and favorable reviews. Coming from a debut author, the novel Kirkus Reviews calls “a darkly beguiling summer mystery that exposes the shaky foundations of a complicated family” is all the more impressive. While some thrillers focus solely on the plot, Walker’s debut is deeply-character driven, offering the reader a tantalizingly voyeuristic look into the mental unraveling of a man who seems, superficially, to have (and be) it all. Until he doesn’t seem that way at all. Rife with plot twists, the novel follows an awful protagonist whose awfulness, frighteningly, is secret to most of the characters in the story. This leaves readers with an intense and delicious sense of dramatic irony, both wondering (and dreading!) when these malignant qualities will show themselves unambiguously. With a relentless plot and masterful analysis of character, this book is the perfect vacation read. But be careful—your beach umbrella won’t be the only thing blown away.

 

OUR DARK HORSE
i wISH yOU alL THE beST BY mASON dEAVER

 

'I Wish You All the Best' by Mason Deaver

 

Synopsis:

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.

Why?

It’s LGBT+ Pride Month and, while rainbows may be visible tacked up in a few shop windows, even many well-meaning allies remain unaware of the nuance in LGBT+ identities. While all such identities are underrepresented in the media, non-binary identities are especially absent from many LGBT+ narratives. As readers, we’re fortunate enough to have had a selection of coming-out stories; however, most of these titles pertain to sexual orientation rather than gender identity. Mason Deaver’s thoughtful #ownvoices debut offers us one of the first non-binary coming out stories available today, in the process challenging many stereotypes about non-binary and LGBT+ people in general. NB protagonist Ben’s bisexuality reaffirms that bisexuality is not trans-exclusionary, a nagging (and false!) misconception of the bi identity. And although Ben’s parents are not supportive, the novel is largely optimistic, focusing on Ben’s coming-of-age rather than their suffering. As Deaver said on BookCon’s Read With Pride panel, “queer joy is revolution.” (Click the link for my article profiling Deaver and other hot new LGBT+ authors!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

All In-Text Images Via Amazon.
Featured Image Via PhotoCollage.

Bi Pride

10 Incredible YA Novels with Bisexual Protagonists

Pride Month may be drawing to a close, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t celebrating now and year-round! Pride, after all, is about more than the plastic whistles thrown off parade floats slapped with the labels of various corporations. It’s not [insert alcohol company here] that we love; it’s both the celebration and the space to celebrate.

Before we dive into this list, let’s cover all the bases of bisexuality. (No, I don’t mean the same ‘base system’ you probably learned at a middle school sleepover.) First, bisexuality does not necessarily mean attraction to ONLY men and women. Instead, it means attraction to more than one sex or gender—and it doesn’t exclude non-binary people. Second, while bisexuality and other non-monosexual identities, like pansexuality and omnisexuality, may overlap, it’s still insensitive to tell someone that they’re ‘basically pan’ if that isn’t how they identify. Some people see these terms as essentially interchangeable; others feel the distinction is valuable.

Lastly, “bisexual” is a catch-all term to incorporate a wide range of identities. While many bi+ people are both bisexual and biromantic, others may fall on the asexual & aromantic spectrum. Since “bisexual” is the most common and widely-understood term for the bi+ experience, it’s a convenient term for discussing people who experience attraction to multiple genders—but it doesn’t exclude other experiences under the bi+ umbrella.

Ready? Let’s check out these UN-BI-LIEVABLE reads!

 

 

 

 

I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST

 

'I Wish You All the Best' by Mason Deaver

 

Remember what we were just saying about bisexuality being inclusive of non-binary genders? I Wish You All the Best follows Ben (who is both non-binary and bisexual) and Nathan (their bisexual love interest). When Ben tells their family that they’re non-binary, they’re forced to move in with their estranged sister or face homelessness. Dealing with anxiety and an unsupportive family, Ben is able to find love and acceptance in its most important form—the kind you give yourself. While many authors now prefer to shy away from coming-out narratives to focus on queer stories that DON’T revolve around gender & sexuality, the non-binary coming out story is almost entirely unprecedented in books and pop-culture… as is the reminder that bisexuals can be non-binary and love non-binary people!

 

Let’s talk about love

 

'Let's Talk About Love' by Claire Kann

 

 

It’s rare to see any media that makes a distinction between romantic and sexual orientation. Since many people have the same romantic and sexual orientation, they may never realize that there can be a difference. Claire Kann’s Let’s Talk About Love is the absolutely adorable story of Alice, a biromantic asexual girl struggling with her college major… and her feelings for Takumi, her cutest coworker at the library. The novel depicts Alice reeling from a breakup with an ex-girlfriend and struggling to cope with her feelings for a male coworker, proving that she isn’t, as the rhetoric commonly goes, ‘choosing sides.’

 

tHE GENTLEMAN’S gUIDE TO viCE & vIRTUE

 

'The Gentleman's Guide to Vice & Virtue' by Mackenzi Lee

 

Anyone who’s ever made the mistake of deep-diving into a YouTube or Facebook comments section has seen a lot of the same negative rhetoric: largely, false accusations that all this ‘gay stuff’ is a development of the past ten years, something done from a desire to gain social media followers rather than, you know, live. This hilarious-yet-poignant historical fiction follows Henry Montague, a bisexual British lord; his aro-ace little sister, Felicity; and his gay best friend, Percy on a caper-filled romp across Europe featuring piracy and a lot of alcohol. Of course, Percy might ALSO be the love of his life… which would be the biggest complication if there weren’t a deranged duke desperately trying to kill them. The novel inserts LGBT+ characters into a historical setting from which they’ve often been erased, and it brings a lot of laughs and heartfelt moments along the way.

 

lOVE IN THE TIME OF glOBAL warming

 

'Love in the Time of Global Warming'

 

Here’s another fact about bisexuals: a bisexual girl dating a man is just as bisexual as she would be dating another woman. This gorgeous, Odyssey-inspired epic follows Pen (bisexual) and Hex (a bisexual trans man) as they approach the outer limits of the romantic relationship they’re clearly hurtling towards. Both feel the need to come out to the other but are afraid to broach the topic of sexuality and gender for fear of driving the other away. Pen’s assertions that her sexuality is real despite not being currently involved with a girl are powerful for any bi reader—and her dreamlike journey through flooded Los Angeles to save her friends from flesh-devouring giants is sure to wow just about anyone, bi or otherwise.

 

Belly Up

 

'Belly Up' Eva Darrows

 

It would be easy to assume that teen pregnancy drama is all played out, but this isn’t an after-school special. Most pregnancy storylines are overwhelmingly heteronormative, and many coming-out moments on TV come with a parental sigh of relief. At least I don’t have to worry about you getting pregnant. But many LGBT+ people can and will become pregnant—and that doesn’t mean their identity is less valid. Belly Up follows bisexual Latinx teen Sara, whose pregnancy is more Juno than Degrassi. With her support system, her demisexual love interest, and her Ivy League dreams, she handles being the new girl in school—the pregnant new girl—with humor and grace.

 

Radio Silence

 

'Radio Silence' Alice Oseman

 

You might think that demisexual Aled Last and bisexual Frances Janvier are going to fall in love. He’s the anonymous mind behind Radio Silence, Frances’ favorite science-fiction podcast. She’s his biggest fan—and soon, she’ll become his co-contributor. But their relationship is more complicated than that: Aled is also brother to Carys Last, Frances’ best friend who ran away from home when they were younger. Frances has never forgotten Carys… and she’s never forgotten the way that Carys made her feel. If this is a love story, it’s a story of deep love between friends as they struggle to navigate academic and personal pressure. The novel may deal with issues of sexuality and depression, but it still crackles with the raw joy of caring for another person, like a sparkler waved in a dark summertime field.

 

They Both Die At The End

 

They Both Die At The End Cover

 

In case you’ve somehow missed out, Adam Silvera is one of the most popular LGBT+ authors in YA fiction today. If you’ve never checked him out, here’s the sign you’ve been looking for. This inventive dystopian novel follows two queer boys of color, one gay and one bisexual, as they open up and fall in love over the course of a day. What could go wrong? Well, they both die at the end. Death-Cast is an organization that lets people know when they’re going to die so that they can live their last day accordingly. With the help of an app called Last Friend, Rufus and Mateo connect for their last chance to imbue their lives with meaning. The novel is a powerful exploration of the role of vulnerability and openness in our lives—and that we need both to live fully.

 

Autoboyography

 

'Autoboyography' Christina Lauren

 

The reality is that coming out can be dangerous—but staying out can be dangerous, too. When out bisexual Tanner moves to Utah, he feels the need to re-closet himself to stay safe in the predominantly-Mormon community. When his last semester of high school ends, he’ll be able to leave Utah and this will all be. Except it’s not over yet: just months from graduation, Tanner meets a boy in his creative writing class. A prodigy with a novel already sold for publication. A devout Mormon. The novel explores the distinction between being comfortable with your identity and feeling safe in the world… and every reader loves a book about books.

 

Lady Midnight

 

Most people already know about Magnus Bane, bisexual warlock, fan-favorite, and early example of LGBT+ representation in YA. But fewer people know about Cassandra Clare’s bisexual representation throughout the canon. In her third trilogy, The Dark Artifices, Clare gives us the bisexual drama we’ve been craving since we read Twilight and realized that a TRUE love triangle needs at least one bisexual in it. Clare gives us more than one: there’s Mark, an odd Shadowhunter boy who’s been living with the Fair Folk; Kieran, a noble fey (also Mark’s ex-boyfriend); and Christina, a strong and empathetic Shadowhunter warrior. It starts off simply enough: Mark falls for Christina. Then Kieran comes back and complicates Mark’s feelings. Then Kieran and Christina get close. Then you go out and buy the book.

 

Honorable mentions:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

The Last 8 by Laura Pohl

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

The Disasters by M.K. England

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Why are such incredible books in the honorable mentions? Well, because I talk about them too much in other articles! For more LGBT+ book recommendations, check out my list of recent LGBT+ releases, YA LGBT+ genre fiction, and banned LGBT+ classics. You can also check out my feature of LGBT+ YA writers from the Read With Pride panel at BookCon 2019.

 

 

 

 

All In-Text Images Via Amazon.
Featured Image Via Adagio.com.

Here’s Who Might Be in ‘The Hunger Games’ Prequel… and What That Means for the Story.

In case you missed the news, The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins will officially be releasing a prequel novel set seventy-five years before the first games—and yes, we’re hungry for more!

The prequel, set for May 2020 release, will take place just after the Dark Days after the First Rebellion, the civil war between the districts and the Capitol. If you know your fictional history better than whatever you just scribbled down on your final, you’ll know that this rebellion ground to a halt when District 13 abandoned the others to secure its own freedom. With 13’s resources out of the picture, the Capitol crushed the remaining districts and plunged the fractured nation into the aforementioned Dark Days, a ten-year reconstruction period during which the Treaty of Treason—the legal stipulation for the games themselves—was enacted.

 

Panem doesn’t follow the traditional boundaries of the U.S. as many regions are now underwater. | Image Via Bustle

 

While we already know some of what happened, let’s look back on this excerpt from The Hunger Games and remember that global warming was probably what caused everything to go to hell in the first place:

He tells of the history of Panem, the country that rose up out of the ashes that was once called North America. He lists the disasters, the droughts, the storms, the fires, the encroaching seas that swallowed up so much of the land, the brutal war for what little sustenance remained. The result was Panem, a shining Capitol ringed by thirteen districts, which brought peace and prosperity to its citizens. Then came the Dark Days, the uprising of the districts against the Capitol. Twelve were defeated, the thirteenth obliterated. The Treaty of Treason gaves us the new laws to guarantee peace and, as our yearly reminder that the Dark Days must never be repeated, it gave us the Hunger Games.

 

 

The encroaching sea that swallowed up so much of the land? The brutal war for what little sustenance remained? Sounds like global warming to me. But I digress—the exact cause of the First Rebellion isn’t the only thing we’re dying (is this in poor taste?) to know. Whenever fans get a spinoff or prequel, the very first thing we want to know is if any of our friends will be there. As readers, we bond with our favorite characters and want to feel some echo of their life in these new stories. We want to know that they’re as important to the world of the story as they are to us personally.

Of course, this is rarely possible when time-skips are involved. Fans of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters universe have historically been lucky on this front; fan-favorite quick-witted, bisexual warlock Magnus Bane is immortal and can therefore appear in any book, giving readers a sense of familiarity within the new story.  Fortunately, we can guess at which characters might appear in the prequel based on the timeline. According to Time, the prequel will begin at the reaping of the 10th Hunger Games, over sixty years before we meet Katniss Everdeen. So, who was alive back then?

Let’s take a look at who we might encounter:

 

President Snow.

 

Image Via Hunger Games Fan Wiki

 

 

President Snow would be eleven at the time of the prequel, so it’s possible that we could meet the ruthless despot when he’s only a child. Admittedly, it would be interesting to see how coming of age in this time period could influence his worldview and the man he becomes. Of course, Snow’s age comes with certain implications: he would have been born barely a year before the first Hunger Games and knows no other world. This could offer readers an interesting juxtaposition between himself and teenage characters, who may remember life before the Games. We would also get to see what life is like for a child of the Capitol: born into wealth, Snow likely never experienced the mortal fear that consumed children of the same age. (Compare his life with Prim’s, a life in which a pre-teen could be reaped for the Games.)

 

Mags.

 

Image Via Bookstacked

 

 

The oldest featured character in Collins’ trilogy, Mags is the District 4 female tribute who befriends Katniss in Catching Fire. You might remember her most iconic (yet blatantly upsetting) scene: Katniss is trying to carry Mags to safety as the poison fog encroaches in Plutarch Heavensbee’s clock arena when Mags lets go and is quickly engulfed. Since she sacrificed herself so that Katniss could outrun the fog, fans resonated with her extraordinary gesture. If you’ll recall, self-sacrifice is in her nature: she was only in the games because she volunteered to save Annie Cresta, Finnick Odair’s troubled girlfriend.

At eighty years old, Mags is the right age to appear in the prequel as a teenager. Given that she won the 11th Hunger Games, just one year after the timeline of the upcoming novel, it’s highly likely she’ll at least make an appearance. Unlike with Snow, the narrative could present Mag’s unique perspective as someone born before the Hunger Games ensured the districts’ submission. District 4 is traditionally a Career district: children train for the Games, following the local cultural convention that to fight and win is a tremendous honor. While we don’t know whether or not Mags herself was a Career, it would be interesting to watch a character’s bloodlust and desire for glory transform into the deep empathy she obviously possesses at eighty.

If we’re lucky enough to see both Mags and Coriolanus Snow, the juxtaposition of District 4 and the Capitol could make for fascinating political commentary. Among the twelve remaining districts, District 4’s fishing industry has made it one of the wealthiest. The residents of 4 are a complex bunch: affluent enough to produce Career tributes and strong-willed enough to side with the Second Rebellion. It would be fascinating to see the differences between a wealthy district (the Capitol) whose citizens were guaranteed physical safety and a wealthy district whose prosperity could not save it.

 

 

What do you think? Will we see anyone we recognize? Or will we, much like whoever our characters may be, remain in the dark?

 

 

Featured Image Via Lights, Camera, Pod Twitter.

Cover image of 'Speak'

Hachette Children’s Group Snags Rights to ‘Speak’ Graphic Novel

When Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson was published in 1999, it immediately spoke to thousands of teenage girls. Finally, something was capturing an all too common threat across high schools and colleges: sexual assault. The powerful story that has sparked conversations across high schools is now getting a powerful reboot in graphic novel form thanks to Hachette Children’s Group.

Kate Agar has acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights to Speak: The Graphic Novel from Macmillan, who published the work with illustrations by Emily Carroll, in the United States earlier this year. The story that took high schools and colleges by storm only stands to be more powerful in graphic novel form. The book is set to release in August 2019 along with a new edition of the classic novel, which Hachette Children’s Group also published since the 1999 release.

 

'Speak: The Graphic Novel' cover image
Image Via Bookish

After being attacked at a party just before starting high school, Melinda accidentally busts the party by calling the police. No one at the party knows why she called the police, and she immediately becomes an object of public scorn. Her best friends turn on her, leaving her alone to deal with the fallout. Through out the story, Melinda doesn’t speak. She can’t articulate to anyone why she called the police, and even when she does make new friends they also turn on her.

Because of Melinda’s inability to speak up, the story is extremely powerful. It isn’t about survivors or victims refusing to tell their stories, it is about no one being there to listen. What’s powerful about this story in graphic novel form is that there is no descriptive text to surround the dialogue. Melinda’s silence becomes harder to ignore as a reader, adding a level of depth to an already heartbreaking story.

In an interview with The Bookseller, Agar explained why it was so important for them to acquire the graphic novel:

As soon as I saw Emily Carroll’s masterful adaptation, I knew that we had to have this graphic novel edition sitting alongside Laurie Halse Anderson’s classic on our list. Sadly, the story at the heart of Speak remains as relevant and pertinent as it was 20 years ago, and the graphic novelisation is an amazing format in which to tell it.

Anderson has agreed with Agar, stating that she is glad it will be Hachette to publish the graphic novel. She adds that Speak can help communities, schools, and people in general learn how to deal with these situations and speak up!

 

Laurie Halse Anderson and 'Shout' Cover Image

image via whyy

Also published this year, was Laurie Halse Anderson’s book of poetry, Shout. In response to nothing changing among the way we handle survivors’ stories in the media, especially with allegations towards those in high seated positions, Anderson once again picked up the pen to express her rage.

featured image via the mary sue