Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Publisher/Year: Harlequin August 28th 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Other Books From Author: Saving June
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
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!