Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

National Sexual Assault Hotline is 800.656.HOPE or visit

“We must be gentle with the living, but the dead own their truth and are fearless.”

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

It’s been a long time since I stayed up so late to finish a book. But I ripped through this one with a reckoning finishing it in only two days. Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson is a semi-follow up of her book Speak which was turned into a major motion picture staring Kristen Stewart. This poetic memoir is a true page turner.

Image result for speak movie gif
From the movie Speak starring Kirsten Stewart

The first ten lies they tell you in high school. “Speak up for yourself—we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication. 

Speak summary via

Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless.

In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #metoo and #timesup, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice– and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.

“Face my truth
This is not a resting bitch face
This is a touch-me-and-die face”

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

This book was an emotional thrill ride but one well worth the scary parts. Halse Anderson’s book is raw and meaningful not only to her but her fans as well. Throughout the book Halse Anderson shares multiple accounts of victims of sexual assault that broke their silence because of Speak. While on her book tour for her novel she was told many times what to talk about and what not to talk about. She was even cancelled and cut short a few times but she continued and spoke out which led countless others to speak up.

“The false innocence you render for them by censoring truth protects only you.”

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak was a 1999 National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature which Halse Anderson talks about in Shout.

“The chair of the Young People’s Literature jury approached the podium. She talked about how much kids love to read, how they found books through family, friends, librarians, the people who would read aloud to them….Walter [Dean Meyers] looked at me and arched and eye brow. He and I wrote for the kids who didn’t have those people. Children with scars inside and out. Kids whose childhoods disappeared in the rear view mirror a long time ago….We toasted each other we celebrated writing for the kids the world doesn’t want to see.”

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

After reading this novel I believe I’ve come to the conclusion that Halse Anderson is one of the most influential and important writers of our generation, not only for young adults, but for all.

Miss Hello Yellow and I had the extreme pleasure of being able to hear Laurie Halse Anderson speak for a recent webinar we took part in. One of my favorite things she said was that “writing this book was an act of rage” in response to the #metoo movement.

Halse Anderson talked about “stranger danger” and how it’s an outdated system because sometimes the bad guy isn’t a stranger and sometimes they win.

She went on to say we are faced with new generations who are seeing non-consensual sex portrayed in porn. They’re ill-informed and mislead to believe a woman’s body is property. We need to start talking to kids about their bodies and healthy sexuality which will lead to less scary and awkward conversations about sex in the future. If we don’t start teaching our kids about sex in a responsible way it could lead to disastrous consequences.

If you’re not ready to have a conversation about consent and safety, you’re not ready to take your clothes off.

Laurie Halse Anderson

Things like consent based sexuality also came up. No means no but a lack of enthusiasm is just as bad. Yes might mean yes but you have to mean what you say. You have to be enthusiastic and committed to the act before you can really give 100% consent.

Hearing Laurie Halse Anderson speak was moving and eye opening. I really hope you all get a chance to check out this book.

As many of you know, April is Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month, or SAAPM. Laurie is not only a huge fan of RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network), but a member of their National Leadership Council. They’ve got a full month’s worth of plans to promote awareness and help people find ways to take action. Laurie will be participating, and we hope you’ll join her! You can check out RAINN’s full plans right here, and follow along on social media with the hashtag #SAAPM.

Here are some statistics to help remind y’all of what we are trying to prevent.




Below are some infographics via the RAINN website.

National Sexual Assault Hotline is 800.656.HOPE or visit

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