Twenty years after her debut award-decked and canonical YA novel Speak hit shelves, Laurie Halse Anderson is back again with a new book that takes on similar themes. But this time, rather than putting readers into the fictional world of Melinda Sordino—survivor of high school, of peers, of sexual assault—we’re given a window into Laurie’s personal experiences of those same things. Melinda’s story is her own. So is Laurie’s.
SHOUT is Laurie’s story about being a survivor, about being a woman, about being an advocate who is passionate about young people, about intellectual freedom, and about being the best people we can all possibly be. It’s angry and it’s hopeful. It’s sad and it’s powerful. It’s real and raw.
The verse is flawless. It adds movement and clarity. It is exactly what it wants to be: a shout, not a whisper. This is a masterclass in feminism, in storytelling, and in the power of words to draw action that changes the world.
Find below ten incredible quotes from SHOUT that will, no doubt, stay with you for a long, long time. Once you read these, go grab the book from your favorite bookstore or library.
is a cancer of the soul
that can kill you
Scars may look stronger than unwounded skin
but they’re not,
once broken, we’re easily hurt again, or worse
the temptation is to hide behind shields
play defense, drown ourselves in sorrow
or drug our way to haunted oblivion
until death erases hope.
Most relationships come with expiration dates
just like milk and bread. Some go sour
Before you can taste them.
Too many grownups tell kids to follow their
like that’s going to get them somewhere.
Aunt Laurie says follow your nightmares instead
cause when you figure out what’s eating you alive
you can slay it.
Pain won’t be contained
By bars or marks
Your scars deserve attention, too.
Censorship is the child of fear
the father of ignorance
and the desperate weapon of fascists
The false innocence
you render for them
by censoring truth
protects only you.
The opposite of innocence
is not sin. Dearly beloved,
the opposite of innocence
We’re all born to fight,
but few are ever trained,
instead they tell us
away from the lake, leaning
on each other’s shoulders
when you need
the support. Feel the contractions
of another truth ready
to be born: shame
Stories activate, motivate
snare our fates
and share our great
incarnations of hope.
For more insight into the work of Laurie Halse Anderson, check out this interview with her on the 15th anniversary of Speak, her conversation with Courtney Summers on the power of girls’ stories, and dig into a discussion of censorship.