Read + Review: Speak of Me as I am by Sonia Belasco

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In Washington D.C., Melanie and Damon are reeling from their individual griefs. For Melanie, the memory of her mother, deteriorating before her eyes, is something she cannot escape. With her father awkwardly stumbling through a depression in their tiny apartment, Melanie is haunted by her mother’s paintings and floating words. Damon, on the other hand, is frozen in time with the aftermath of his best friend’s suicide. Carlos, a master photographer, acts as Damon’s conscience, guiding him through his life. With their ghosts around them, Damon and Melanie find a romance together. Initially meeting at their high school’s audition for Othello, the two move through their journey of grief and heartbreak with love. The minor characters also have their hardships. Melanie’s best friend, Travis, struggles to stay in the closet with a boyfriend on the soccer team. Damon hates his mother’s boyfriend and his snotty-nosed kids.

This book was fantastic. The topic of grief is beautifully written of. Melanie and Damon’s dealing of heartbreak came in stages, striking a chord with me in how their shared grief transformed from anger and irritation to pure agony. I disliked the handling of Travis’s homosexuality, but of course that might just be me. I hate seeing any lack of acceptance in regards to any tough topics. But overall, I loved the book.

The whole situation with Travis and his secret boyfriend broke my heart. Travis was in love and full of wholesome infatuation, yet his world was shattered. The friendship between Melanie and Travis was heartwarming, and really reflected true friendships between teens.

0-four-stars1

Reviewed by Veda, Grade 11, Twin Hickory Library

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