Melinda starts her freshman year of high school in silence. No one will talk to her because she called the cops and broke up a huge party at the end of the summer. Her friends ignore her, her parents don't understand her, and her teachers let her slide by with barely passing grades. She wanders the halls of the school in silence, waiting for each day to end.
The problem is, no one knows what happened at that party. Melinda's friends are so embarrassed that their friend is the one who busted up the party that they never asked why she dialed 911. Instead, they act like they aren't associated with her.
As the rest of the freshman class is making new friends and finding new interests and activities, Melinda spends all her time in silence, trying to be invisible. The only class she seems to excel in is art. Her art teacher notices the deeper frustration hidden in her work and encourages her to continue expressing herself through art.
The school year drags on for Melinda. She sinks deeper into depression as she continuously feels no one would listen. Her parents anxiously try to get her to be more present, participate more in class or join a sport, and to get her grades up. But Melinda doesn't know how to speak about what's going on. She can't talk about what happened that night so everything else seems irrelevant to her.
Eventually the secret starts to spill out of Melinda and everybody reacts in different ways.
Speak is a novel about growing up, trust, and friendship.