"Too many grown-ups tell kids to follow their/ dreams/ like that's going to get them somewhere/ Auntie Laurie says follow your nightmares instead/ cuz when you figure out what's eating you alive/ you can slay it."
For two decades, Laurie Halse Anderson has been visiting schools and talking to teens about "rape mythology, sexual violence and consent." For two decades, "girls and boys" have sought her out to "tell [her], shame-smoked raw/ voices, tears waterfalling,/ about the time" they were assaulted. Even on a movie set, she was approached by a "big square guy, head like a paint can," who said, "I am Melinda... A lot of us working on this film/ are like her,/ cuz, you know... it happened to us, too." Anderson has spent 20 years as a repository for these stories of pain. And "those kids" who have shared, she writes, "taught me everything, those girls/ showed me a path through the woods/ those boys led me."
A poetic memoir, Shout is a biography, a call to action, a lesson, a fable, a warm embrace for those who hurt, a guttural scream demanding the pain stop. It's factual as it flows in lyrical verse through Anderson's life; speculative as she works to create a collective noun for teens ("a wince of teens/ mutter of teens/ an attitude, a grumble, a grunt"); direct as she speaks to scared librarians "on the cusp of courage." Shout is for survivors, for abusers and assaulters, for consenting young men and women, for gatekeepers unwilling to let sex through. Immensely powerful, Shout is for everyone. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness