Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Publisher/Year: Harlequin August 28th 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: No!
Other Books From Author: Saving June
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Amazon | Goodreads | @hharrington_ |

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.

I got interested in Speechless when I read and LOVED Saving June! I tried to approach reading Speechless as if it was written by somebody else because, you know, it’s hard not to fangirl automatically at something written by Hannah Harrington. But I couldn’t do that because little things that remind me how Hannah can make me smile at one moment and wish I was dead at the other makes it hurt so real.

Chelsea Knot was best friend and sidekick of The Most Popular Girl In School, and she can’t keep secrets. At a party, Chelsea blabbers about something that’s not her business to tell and the next thing she know a boy’s nearly killed, two of her friends are in jail, her best friend hates her, and she’s gone from popular princess to loathed social pariah. Chelsea knows her mouth got her in trouble, so her solution? Keep it closed.

Okay, so I judged Chelsea from the first page because she was annoying– fussing over pretty clothes, taking scandalous photos of her friend and obsessing over how perfect Mr Gentlemen is. And when Chelsea decided to take a vow of silence I was just… WHAT? MOST RIDICULOUS IDEA EVER!! I don’t know about you but I can never shut up and there were so many moments in the book when I was screaming at Chelsea, “Say something! Show him you’re not a pushover!” Slowly, in spite all the frustration, I connected with Chelsea and I could tell that behind her messed up exterior there is a really great character that I’d grow to love. You could just tell. She outgrew the popular-girl-shell and mixed with people who used to be “beneath her”. Keeping quiet made her observant, and she realizes how being popular doesn’t make her happy, but genuine friends do. They are ones who keep her laughing at her lowest and they are the ones who never judge her for her mistakes. I thought the interactions between Chelsea and her friends were written brilliantly *coughs*ADORABLE SAM*coughs*. That bunch — Dex, Lou, Sam, Andy, Noah, Aisha– makes me feel right at home.

“You can be surrounded by people and still be lonely. You can be the most popular person in school, envied by every girl and wanted by every boy, and still feel completely worthless. The world can be laid at your feet and you can still not know what you want from it.”

Speechless was powerful in its own sense, definitely not a light, fluffy read. It dealt with so many issues– gay, bullying, hate crime, sexual harassment… and it dealt them well. No, not in some lame moral-preaching way, but Speechless makes you so invested in Chelsea that her guilt just gnaws at your heart and makes you think, even if it had nothing to do with you. Like Chelsea, I used to gossip. Just give me any name in school and I could rattle off all his/her crushes. I loved spreading rumours, and that entertained me in a twisted way (VERY VERY BAD, I know). Watching Chelsea mature and try her best to atone for what she did made me feel so sorry to those I’ve hurt as well, no matter how unintentionally, and I felt it to be a very realistic portrayal of how much harm words cause.

I wish I could go on writing a thousand-word-essay on how heartwrenching and  heartwarming Speechless was but well, it makes much more sense for you to go read it and experience that all for yourself!


34 thoughts on “Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

  1. Glad you enjoyed Speechless. I loved this one and Saving June. You’re right it does deal with many issues quite well. And the vow of silence thing does sound like a challenge!

    Your blog header is so gorgeous btw, Alicia. You have great taste in books :)

    • To be honest, I enjoy Saving June slightly more but Speechless appealed to me in ways that Saving June didn’t, maybe it’s the high school setting instead of the my-sister-is-dead-lets-go-California frenzie. HAHAHA getting me to take a vow of silence will be nearly impossible! I can never shut up xD

      Thank you, Lucy!! Love what you’re doing with your blog too, will be dropping by more often for recommendations!

    • You really should! Whenever you think you need something more… spiritually-fulfilling (?), Hannah Harrington’s books will you laugh and cry and think about how wonderful life can be when you choose to live it the way you want! :)

  2. Sqqueeee! Your review for this book is finally up; I’ve been waiting for your thoughts! I loved this book so so much, and I agree with you about Chelsea. She was such a brat when she first started out! But she seriously grows so much as a character and you’re right: staying silent makes you am observant person! I think that Chelsea’s group of friends were remarkable. Your review makes me want to read this book all over again! Beautiful review, Alicia. :)

    • I thought Chelsea’s initial bratiness was a great setting for later parts of the story when she grows and realizes that being such an annoying prick wasn’t what she wanted. I LOVE Chelsea’s friends and I almost wished there was a sequel for them!! Hmm maybe I should take a vow of silence for like, 10 minutes and be observant about my homework! xD

  3. So happy to hear you enjoyed this one! I loved watching Chelsea grow and grow up! She was such a different person by the end of the book, that I could hardly believe it was the same person! And I definitely know what you mean about Hannah being able to make you laugh one minute and then stomp all over your heart the next! She’s the best/worst! Haha

    • Reading Speechless made me feel like I was growing together with Chelsea and it’s amazing how she matured by the end of the book :) I love how Hannah Harrington writes, it’s not bombastic or extremely eloquent or anything, just simple things that affect you so bad!!

  4. Wonderful review Alicia..i am going to snag these for my girls, so glad you enjoyed them and Chelsea and her friends sound delightful..i may read them too!

    • Thank you, Kimberly! Lol you know it’s good when there’s a Suggestion Questions page at the end of the book… Kidding xD Getting to know Chelsea and her friends sure was enjoying! Somehow, I feel part of the bonds and memories they forged!

  5. Wow, this one sounds really powerful. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if it was right for me but you’ve made an excellent case for it. I think I’ll have to give it a try! :)

    • Speechless is a rare gem out there, and it makes you think about so much without being too deliberate :) Do tell me when you’ve read it, hope it’ll be great!

  6. I loved Speechless as well, Alicia. Seeing Chelsea transform from a thoroughly unlikable character into a girl with morals and compassion was a wonderful journey. I loved the romance because she fell for a normal guy who was made extraordinary by getting to know him. Great review. :)

    • Vow of silence works wonders, don’t they? Sam was such a sweet boy and I loved how Hannah Harrington didn’t make him out to be drop-dead-gorgeous or sexy or smart or popular or all the clichéd things, because someone normal, someone who genuinely cares for you is all that girl needs ;)

  7. I’m glad you enjoyed this one so much! Chelsea was pretty annoying at the beginning and I can understand why the things she did while growing as a person angered you (a main character who doesn’t speak is just asking to be reader-slapped). But she was so much better of a person by the end of the book that I could not help but forgive her.

    One thing, though: did it bother you at all that Chelsea constantly complained about her geometry homework, but elaborates by bemoaning her inability to graph quadratic equations, something that, last I checked, is done in algebra? I think I’m just crazy for being hung up on that.

    Oh, and your blog is gorgeous. I’d like to live in your header. :)

    • LOL READER-SLAPPED!! xD Chelsea’s silence annoyed the crap out of me because I can never stop talking even if I go on blahblahblah-ing without anyone listening haha. And I was quite worried that a character without a voice would be… Well, a difficult character to relate to but somehow Genius Hannah Harrington managed to make my like for Chelsea grow and grow!

      I never noticed that! Urghh my geometry is in shambles… maybe Chelsea’s school followed some other Maths syllabus?? *le confused* But she did lose me on some of the asymptotes metaphor, I thought she was bad at those!! Thank you for visiting, Emily :)

    • I don’t always love books with underlying ethical messages because some of those can be quite… You know, preachy and mehh but Speechless does it SO SUBTLY that all the messages comes across when you least expect it :)

      • I know! And that seems really great!
        I know the feeling… preachy stuff can actually make me like run away and shun it, because it’s as if they’re trying to… sell soap? :O

  8. I’ve heard nothing but good stuff about this book so I must get into it ASAP! From what you wrote, it looks and incredible book that deals with many issues. Despite its falws, I feel like this is going to be a great read! Great review, Alicia! : )

    • It was an impactful read that I enjoyed, not because of the issues it dealt with (those were harsh) but more of the natural feeling of it all, like I was living someone else’s life and making all her friends, it felt homey and nice :D Hope you’ll enjoy this as much as I did!

  9. I’ve never read anything by Hannah Harrington before so I won’t have to worry about comparing them. This sounds like a very powerful book about very current, real life issues. I look forward to reading it myself!

    • I read Speechless after Saving June and well, there really is nothing much to compare! if I must say, Speechless was milder in the emotional punch, but still very impactful, hope you’ll enjoy it!

  10. When I first heard about this book, I thought it was the most ridiculous storyline. Who can keep a vow of silence for more than day? No ONE! Though at the same time, I was very interested in learning about Chelsea and how she pulled off her idea. I think I’ll enjoy this cute contemporary. Thanks for the review :)

    • I KNOW RIGHT. I was doubting how Hannah Harrington could pull off a mute character, but I should have known better. NEVER DOUBT GENIUS HANNAH!! I was hooked by Chelsea’s story *somehow*– it could have been anyone’s story, and her growth reflected exactly how I felt when I was ostracized. I recommend this with a passion!

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