Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington



Goodreads Summary:

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.

Publication Date: August 28, 2012
 
Speechless is one of the better young adult novels I’ve read lately that deals with teen bullying. I believe the author successfully captured the voice of high schoolers and the mistakes you can easily make when trying to fit in with the popular crowd.

Chelsea is certainly unlikable at the beginning of the novel. It reminded me of Mean Girls in a way. Chelsea is pretty much the mouthpiece for best friend Kristen and has no problem taunting others to stay in Kristen’s good graces. After a pretty heinous incident that involves a boy almost being beaten to death because of Chelsea’s big mouth, she takes a vow of silence. Since Chelsea turned in the boys involved in the attack, she’s ousted from the popular crowd and becomes the target of bullying.

Chelsea’s refusal to speak makes for an interesting set-up. I inwardly cringed at many of the scenes where her former group of friends harassed her and she had to remain silent. I loved how this vow and her downgraded status led to her friendships with Sam and Asha. Another thing I loved about the novel was the strong characterization of the secondary characters.

The romance between Sam and Chelsea was adorable. It felt like a realistic progression and not instantaneous love between the two after meeting. I liked how the diner crew took Chelsea under their wing. It was good to see her grow as a character and wait for the moment when she would finally decide to speak again.

My only fault of the novel would be that the character who prompted her silence was not given more of a voice. I would have loved more about him and his relationship with Andy.

The prose was clean and pacing was well done. I breezed through the novel in only a couple of sittings. Chelsea’s journey is an emotional one and I think most people will be pleasantly surprised by this novel.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for an advanced copy of this novel for review!  

2 comments:

  1. Wow. What a wonderful topic for Young Adults. I love authors that show what kind of harm our words can do to another human being. Your protagonist, Kate, has some of those exact same issues. I hope there are lessons learned from books like this. WRITE ON!

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