Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Expected Publication: August 28th, 2012
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.
My Rating: 4.0 / 5
With a main character whose world is turned upside down by her inability to keep secrets to herself and who takes a vow of silence to stop herself from inflicting even more damage, Speechless is both dramatic and thought-provoking.
Below the picture is a profile of the monk, who'd taken a vow of silence and hadn't spoken a word in sixty years. I guess the idea was that by not speaking and staying in a constant state of contemplation, it made him closer to God, or enlightenment, or whatever. (Kindle Location 294)*
I never planned to read Speechless initially, because its summary always sounded quite depressing to me and I wasn't sure whether it could be something I'd like to read. But when many positive reviews started to appear, I doubted my decision and requested it from NetGalley. And believe me when I say that I'm very happy that I did so! This is a wonderful read.
Chelsea isn't the most likeable character to begin with. Her need to be liked by her best friend and the people at school who look up to this duo is intense and not easy to understand for someone who never really felt the need to be the center of attention. Gossip and bullying are her ways to get the status as one of the popular girls - until her inability to keep things to herself almost kills a boy one night.
Everybody's gone quiet, wondering what I'm going to say. And really, this is the best gossip I've heard all year. Considering the year is less than an hour from being officially over, that's saying something. (Kindle Location 240)*
Her vow of silence turns Speechless into a very character-driven book and Chelsea's development to a likeable and relatable main character is a huge proof of how amazing Hannah Harrington's style of writing is. The changes in her character are subtle within each part of the novel, but very obvious when you compare the Chelsea we meet on the first pages with the girl she becomes toward the end.
I also really enjoyed the cast of secondary characters we are presented with. There are people I hated and wanted to delete from the pages of Speechless and others that are just completely hug- and love-worthy. The new bonds of friendship Chelsea gets to experience are accentuated by her silence and her new friends' patience with her situation - and their forgiveness.
Except in the movie of my own life, I've never been the heroine. I've never been Action Girl. I've only ever been Kristen's supporting character. (Kindle Location 913)*
All in all, Speechless turned out to be a fast and not-so-depressing read in spite of my initial doubts. While I definitely felt as though Chelsea's issues with her ex-best-friend were solved too easily, I liked the plot a lot, but enjoyed Hannah Harrington's captivating style of writing even more. If you've had doubts similar to mine about Speechless, stop hesitating and make sure to get a copy as soon as possible.
YA Contemporary Challenge 2012
Have you read Speechless? If yes, what did you think about it?
If no, do you plan to read it?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!
* All quotes are taken from an eARC of Speechless by Hannah Harrington, courtesy of Harlequin Teen and NetGalley, and are subject to change in the final version.