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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

            It is great to have friends, even if it is only a few. Friends are the people that help each other out of tough situations. Friends give each other support and affection when they need it the most. Friends heal each other, and this is demonstrated in the novel "Speak," by Laurie Halse Anderson. The novel is about the main character, Melinda Sordino, recovering from the subsequent depression and loneliness that stems from a traumatic experience that led to her calling the cops at a party the summer before her freshman year of high school; an act that caused everyone to hate her. Throughout the story, David Petrakis, her lab partner, serves as one of Melinda's most prominent supporters, and provides the ideal example of a confident individual who goes on to empower her to take action and finally speak up about what happened. .
             Melinda never enjoyed her Social Studies class with Mr. Neck. Mr. Neck is always out to get her and other students, going as far as to initiate a debate about racism and closing said debate when students oppose him. When David speaks out against Mr. Neck, pointing out the flaws in his argument and even setting up a tape recorder and video camera to prove his point, Melinda regards him as her hero: "David must have mentioned the hairy-eyeball treatment to his lawyer that afternoon because the next day there is a videocamera set up in the back of the class. David Petrakis is my hero " (Halse Anderson 68). It becomes evident that Melinda regards David as her hero because of how confidently he spoke his mind and how he was not afraid or frightened of the backlash he would receive from Mr. Neck, other teachers, and even other students. At this point in the story, readers do not know why Melinda is so cynical to her peers, so it becomes a very defining point in Melinda's character when one student does gain her respect and admiration through an act of unflawed confidence in speaking his mind.

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