I need to write an essay about a book that talks about the "masks" teenagers are wearing these days. Which book would you recommend? Thank you. 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the best books that talks about the different "masks" that teens wear is Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.  The emergence of Melinda's identity that results from having to wear different masks is essential to the narrative's progression.  One of those masks is the mask that sexual abuse forces its victims to wear.  This mask signals that the trauma is in the past and should not be addressed.  It is a mask that encourages silence.  It also emboldens those who perpetrate such violence.  As Melinda matures throughout the novel, she learns how to discard this mask.

The mask of high school and its supposed communal inclusion is another facade that is revealed over the course of the story.  Melinda's entry into high school is predicated upon lies and masks.  Ideas such as "These will be the years you look back on fondly" and "We want to hear what you have to say" are part of this mask.  In painful ways, Melinda learns about the mask of high school. Simply put, it is not the "fun" experience that people project. Rather, it is full of hurt and pain.  Melinda sheds the mask that forces individuals to believe in high school's "great times."

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