I have finished the book, "Speak" written by Laurie Halse Anderson, and now looking back through the book, I realize that Melinda changed a lot. The reason for this growing up, in my opinion, was finally facing her fears.
In the beginning of the book, Melinda was a quiet girl, who usually kept to herself, not that she really had a choice though. She had to deal with one of the most terrible things that could happen to anyone, rape. Due to being an outcast, and losing all her friends, she had no one to talk to about it. She knew she couldn't say anything, after all who would listen to the most hated girl in the school? Worst of all, her rapist was a student at her school. She saw him almost everyday she went to school, and he sometimes wanted to get near her again. She couldn't face him look at him, or do anything. All she could do was run away.
At the end of the book, Melinda was a totally different person. Her self-esteem was really high compared to before, and she was more happy. She finally got the courage to confront Andy Evans when he tried to rape her again. After doing this, I guess she got the feeling that if she could do that, she could do anything. She finally opened up and let out everything she kept inside. She was no longer the girl she was before, she was the new Melinda Sordino.
Melinda learned many things after she faced her fears. It wasn't all that easy, but she faced them. One was confronting Andy Evans, and the other was telling someone about the rape. She was scared of Andy, at first, because she thought he would hurt her again. She couldn't even be in the same room as him without having the need to run away, or the having the feeling of being sick. Confronting him was a really hard choice to make. She was also scared of telling someone about the rape. She worried about the reactions, and she worried if anyone would believe her. After all, she was drunk when it happened.
In conclusion, Melinda came of age due to the rape and facing her fears. It doesn't have to be something as deep as rape to come of age. It can actually be anything.
*Note to Ms. Galang! I forgot my book and folder in my locker so I couldn't add any quotes.*