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Speaking in homophones, she describes the quirky animal behavior she sees. Bobbin, isn't feeling so well and can't possibly deliver the beautiful ball gown she's made for the duchess to wear that very evening. One by one, doughnuts were chosen, placed in paper bags, and... Melinda's smart and savvy interior narrative slowly reveals the searing pain of that 911 night, it also nails the high-school experience cold.The plot is gripping and the characters are powerfully drawn, but it is its raw and unvarnished look at the dynamics of the high school experience that makes this a novel that will be hard for readers to forget. Freeman, her art teacher, who works with her to help her express what she has so deeply repressed. By the time school starts, she is completely alone, and utterly desolate. She tells no one of her rape, and the other students, even her best friends, turn against her for ruining their good time. Shocked and scared, she calls the police, who break up the party and send everyone home. The narrator reads at a quick pace, pausing effectively to increase the dramatic mood.

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This compelling novel presents a realistic portrayal of life in a contemporary high school. Siefried's expressive voice depicts the tender, insecure youth and her freshman year at high school. A story told with acute insight, acid wit, and affecting prose. But even worse than the harsh conformity of high-school cliques is a secret that you have to hide.

I wash my face in the sink until there is nothing left of it, no eyes, no nose, no mouth. The salt in my tears feels good when it stings my lips. Heather has to leave before the teachers arrive. Emily holds out her watch (the watchband matches the bow in her hair). Meg picks up the centerpiece and examines it from every angle. Heather stands at attention while our handiwork is inspected. She holds a bunch of leaves in one hand, twists the wire around the stem—one—two—hides the wire with ribbon and hot-glues the acorns into place. Heather gently untangles me from the wire. Heather is going to set the table and hang the banner. Metal folding chairs surround a battered table. The truth is nothing more than a small green room with dirty windows and a lingering smell of cigarettes, even though it has been illegal to smoke on school property for years. Comfortable leather chairs and a private butler?

I predict skirts with geese and white blouses with embroidered ducks on the collar. They favor plaid for autumn with matching sweaters in colors named after fruit, like apricot and russet apple. It’s an expensive clan to run with; outfits must be coordinated, crisp, and seasonally appropriate.

I settle into my nest with a bag of candy corn and the blood-sucking monster.

I just thought of a great theory that explains everything. This is part of her strategy to make a place for herself at school.

I refuse to spend the night moping in my room or listening to my parents argue. Heather is walking with some of the little kids in her neighborhood so their mothers can stay home.

We held it in front of an antique mirror at midnight to see our futures.

I actually thought for a moment that we could cast spells, could turn people into frogs or rabbits, to punish the evil and reward the good. The wind kicked up, skimming clouds over the surface of the full moon, which was hung just to make us feel powerful and strong.

We didn’t need long underwear and the sky was clear.

We had used baby-sitting money to rent black satin capes lined in red.

We traded clothes and splurged on cheap black wigs. Last year, our clan all dressed up as witches. The night is dangerous, parents are required—tall ghosts in khakis and down jackets floating behind the children. A pirate, a dinosaur, two fairies, and a bride. A group of little creatures is coming up the walk. My brain doesn’t think we should spend any time hanging around algebra.

The class giggles as we walk back to our seats.

I pull my lower lip all the way in between my teeth. Rachelle’s mouth moves and her hand glides over the board, drawing funny shapes and numbers. She has red laser eyes that burn my forehead. Not this time, try me again in twenty years. He talks about algebra the way some guys talk about their cars.

You can tell this causes him great personal pain. How would we escape if the chemistry lab exploded?

Speak By Laurie Halse anderson Paperback

Math is easy because there is no room for debate. Understanding fractions, and decimals, and percentages, and even geometry—all that was practical. Keen wore a purple dress with bright blue roses. That dress was all anyone talked about for days. Stetman stares at my late pass for a long time. You’d think a kid like that would get beat up a lot, but the bad guys leave him alone. He is so brilliant he makes the teachers nervous. He has the potential to be cute when the braces come off. From their perspective, she must look like a basketball. Instead, she has a gelatinous figure, usually encased in orange polyester. If she’d cut back on the doughnuts, she’d look like a tiny grandmother doll.She has wooden boxes all over the front of the room that she climbs on when she talks to us. She could have been a famous scientist or doctor or something.

We are studying cells, which have all these tiny parts you can’t see unless you look at them under a microscope.

I turn up my music to drown out the noise. And we know your best is much better than this.

You get those grades up or your name is mud.

Her room isn’t big enough for this much emotion. It lightens the polish to a bright vomit green and bleaches the carpet surrounding it. First, we’ll work our way into a good group.

I slip out to the bathroom and come back with another box of tissues and a bottle of nailpolish remover. Heather wipes her nose on the bear’s plaid scarf. Big boohoos, with little squeals of frustration when she punches her teddy bear.

I could have gone out for the musical and worked on the newspaper and chaired the car wash.

We could just stand onstage or something if they don’t like our singing. If we want to be in the musical, then they should let us.

I think she has been breathing too much hairspray. Heather paints her nails on her desk blotter and blathers. All her clothes wait patiently on hangers, organized by type—skirts together, pants hanging by their cuffs, her sweaters stacked in plastic bags on shelves. She has a television and a phone, and her homework is neatly laid out on her desk.The lilac walls have a few artsy prints on them. Heather’s room is finished and ready for viewing. It looks like a commercial for vacuum cleaners, all fresh paint and vacuumcleaner lines in the carpet. Freeman is going to find much emotion in it.

I draw a horizontal line for the ground and a daisy popping up next to the tree. Maybe some thick branches, a bunch of thinner branches, and plenty of leaves to hide the mistakes. How hard can it be to put a tree on a piece of paper?

I crumple it into a ball and take out another sheet. Three kids fall dead asleep, eye twitches, snores, and everything.

I take out a page of notebook paper and a pen and doodle a tree, my second-grade version. The room is warm, filled with sun and paint fumes. The school board has cut his supply budget, telling him to make do with the stuff left over from last year. He’s off on the school-board thing again. Freeman says fear is a great place to begin art. They did not complain about subject, they mined every subject for the root of its meaning. Freeman she hates clowns; a clown scared her when she was a little girl and it put her into therapy.

I try to paint them so they are nearly dead, but not totally. One picture is so dark you can barely see the tree at all.

I bet none of them ever stutter or screw up or feel like their brains are dissolving into marshmallow fluff.

They all have beautiful lips, carefully outlined in red and polished to a shine. And they cheer on our boys, inciting them to violence and, we hope, victory. Teachers smile at them and grade them on the curve. Our cheerleaders are much better at scoring than the football team is. The coach finally hands the wet microphone back to the principal, who introduces us to our very own cheerleaders.

I almost climb up the back of the kid in front of me. The girl with the arrested brother leans forward.

I inch forward in my seat and stare intently at the team. The girl behind me jams her knees into my back. The same boys who got detention in elementary school for beating the crap out of people are now rewarded for it. The band staggers through a song and the cheerleaders bounce.

I put my head in my hands and scream to let out the animal noise and some of that night. The crowd stomps the bleachers and roars back. The cheerleaders cartwheel into the gym and bellow. For a minute she looks like she’ll defend me. Heather moves to pat my pom-pom, but pulls her hand back. My throat squeezes shut, as if two hands of black fingernails are clamped on my windpipe. Heads snap in my direction with the sound of a hundred paparazzi cameras. Heather waves to a sophomore she knows across the gym. She blows a black bubble and sucks it back into her mouth. The girl behind me taps me on the shoulder with her long black nails.

I curve up the corners of my mouth without biting my lips.

I vaguely recognize a couple; the rest must have gone to the other middle school. She introduces me to a bunch of pale, zitty faces.

I have someone to sit with—that counts as a step up on the ladder of social acceptability. Can you imagine what it must be like to be on the football team and have the whole school supporting you?I bet the freshman class has the most spirit, don’t you?

We troop down for the brainwashing and she can’t stop talking. My plan is to walk toward the auditorium with the rest of the crowd, then duck in a bathroom until the coast is clear.

I want to smuggle in a blanket and some potpourri, too. This closet is abandoned—it has no purpose, no name. All the girls avoid it because of the way they stare and whistle softly when we walk by. They have a new lounge and supply room by the loading dock. No janitor has chilled in this closet for a very long time. A cracked mirror tilts over a sink littered with dead roaches crocheted together with cobwebs. A stained armchair and an old-fashioned desk peek from behind a collection of mops and brooms. The back wall has built-in shelves filled with dusty textbooks and a few bottles of bleach.

I haven’t stumbled into a classroom; it is an old janitor’s closet that smells like sour sponges.

I hear his footsteps lumber down the hall.

I turn a corner, open a door, and step into darkness.

I cut through the lunch line, loop around a couple making out by the door, and start down a hall.

I don’t come up with my brilliant idea right then and there. She always walks with me down the halls chattering a million miles a minute. But she’s like a dog that keeps jumping into your lap. After a few minutes of cooling down, she hops off. She turns down the treadmill and wipes her brow with a thick towel that hangs off the side of the machine.

I have to get involved, become a part of the school. Hanging back is a common mistake most ninth-graders make, she says. It’s covered in carpeting nicer than we have in our living room. Armed with a bowl of orange popcorn and diet sodas, we retreat to the basement. She wants us to join five clubs, one for every day of the week. Not a true friend, nothing close or share clothes or sleepover giggle giggle yak yak. Neither one of them has toilet paper stuck to her boots. An exchange student flushes and comes out of the stall. Next thing you know, she’ll be drinking black coffee and reading books without pictures. She didn’t even bother to find out the truth—what kind of friend is that?

I want to grab her by the neck and shake her and scream at her to stop treating me like dirt. She’s smudging mascara under her eyes to look exhausted and wan.She wears black stockings with runs and doesn’t shave under her arms. She comes from the “play till death or maiming” school of athletics. Not only did my team lose, but four girls went to the nurse with injuries. One day she scored 35 goals before my team threatened to walk off the field. She chipped her tooth this past summer at some kind of jock camp. Boys watch her to learn how to play better. Nicole can do anything that involves a ball and a whistle.She smiles and jogs back to the center circle. She does something with her wrist, then the ball is in the goal. She motors downfield so fast she creates a wake of flowing mud that washes over anyone who gets in her way. Field hockey is a mud sport, played only on wet, cloudy days when it feels like snow. If you’re that strong, you don’t care if people make comments about your boobs or rear end. Never blushes or turns around to hide herself, just changes her clothes.

She even changes bras, wearing one sports bra to regular class and another to gym class. She doesn’t mind changing her clothes in public. Nicole has a full-length locker in a discreet, fresh-smelling alcove because she’s on the soccer team. In our old clan, we had never been very close. After gym she changes out of her shorts but always leaves an undershirt on. She wears her gym clothes under her regular clothes.

I put it in the back of my closet, facing the wall.

I get out of bed and take down the mirror. My hair is completely hidden under the comforter.

I watch myself in the mirror across the room. Dad hops from channel to channel, watching the same stories play over and over.

I don’t even need to close my eyes, just stay safe under the covers and breathe.

I have no choice but to snuggle under the covers. My room was stuck in the middle, a bit stolen from everyone else.

Jessica did hers in a desert ‘n’ cowdudes theme. She begged her mom to let her do her room over, so we all ended up with new rooms. Flip, flip, flip—cushions reversed to show their pretty white cheeks, then bolt upstairs. The trick to eating on it is to turn the messy side of the cushions up.

I don’t know which parent was having seizures when they bought that couch.

I order my dinner at 3:10 and eat it on the white couch. Daily shoplifters, bums peeing on the front door, and the occasional armed robbery discourage job seekers. But the downtown location makes it hard to find people to work for her. Mom loves doing the things that other people are afraid of.

I think she likes watching the reaction when she says she works in the city. Her boss offered her the branch at the mall, but she didn’t want it. A few times my books were accidentally ripped from my arms and pitched to the floor.<