Well people, this love note is long overdue. Let’s have three cheers for Speak, the amazing novel from‘ 99 that told the real deal behind the evil hierarchy of name brands and cheerleader gossip that is high school. The bare bones of the story is this: Melinda was raped at an upperclassman party summer before freshman year and has consequently lost her voice. Her parents don’t really notice her, her classmates think she squealed on them by calling the cops to the party (when she was just trying to report her rape) and only friend is a perky new girl who doesn’t know her history. Even though Melinda doesn’t talk, her thoughts are killer-funny. I have nothing but respect and goddess-like admiration for the author who can pen such lines as:“ My parents didn’t raise me to be religious. The closest we come to worship is the Trinity of Visa, Mastercard and American Express,” and“ If I ever form my own clan, we’ll be the Anti-Cheerleaders. We will not sit in the bleachers. We will wander underneath them and commit mild acts of mayhem.” I just have one question for the astute Anderson–how can she KNOW so well what hell high school can be?? Check out her website at www.writerlady.com and ask her yourself after you read only one of the best books EVER.