31 August 2012

Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Speechless by Hannah Harrington.
Audience/Genre : Young Adult/Contemporary, High School, Coming-Of-Age.
Publication : August 28th 2012 by HarlequinTeen.
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.

Chelsea Knot has a big mouth and a nose for gossip. Being one of the popular girls, or rather, the popular girl's best friend, she has turned bitchy because that's what is expected of her. However, at a party one night, Chelsea's ineptitude at keeping secrets finally catches up with her, causing a chain of horrible events that in the end, leads to her decision to take a vow of silence.

The premise of this book probably seems extreme to most people but I get it. Sometimes, when you're a teenager, everything gets so screwed up (with you being the cause) that you need to just back off for a bit. A dose of extreme is exactly what's needed to gain some perspective. A lot of girls have probably been through that at one point during their teenage years and I'm one of them. It's also why I love the plot of Speechless.

Chelsea grew as a character through out the novel, from a girl who conformed to high school's cliches to someone who eventually realised her mistakes and found people who gave her a second chance - good, genuine friends who understand her - and that's how it is in real life. I loved watching her transform and finally be who she really was, without giving in to peer pressure.

That being said, while I understood why Chelsea needed to take the vow of silence, there were times when I wondered why she wouldn't speak up. Her silence, while it seemed like a good idea at first, was kept for too long. She took too much crap; not just Chelsea but a lot of other students. She let her ex-friends think she sent the pictures, she let pretty much everyone think whatever they wanted. It's okay at first because things needed to settle down but really? I wished she had been straightforward and taken action by reporting them.
In the end, no one can treat you a certain way, in high school or anywhere else, unless you let them. I get that some people find it hard to stand up for themselves but there's a part in the book where Chelsea finally speaks up and plots her revenge - I wasn't a fan of that. I was happy that she stood up for someone else but if she had any sense she would've reported all of them because it's going to keep happening unless someone puts a stop to it.
Pretty much every young adult contemporary set in high school seems to have the mean popular girls/jocks stereotype and each time I question it's relation to reality - How is it that in a not so huge high school campus, filled with students and teachers, NO one ever takes action right away? Like I said, she kept her silence too long and when she finally did speak up, the moment wasn't as big as I had expected it to be, nor was Chelsea as sensible as she could've been.

That being said, I haven't read Saving June yet so this is my first Hannah Harrington book and I'm honestly impressed. I could relate to the characters, specifically Chelsea, for the most part and there's a moral/lesson in the plot. The writing's relatable and the story's kind of unique too. I'd recommend this to anyone who loves high school/coming-of-age YA contemporary such as books by Jennifer Echols, Laurie Halse Anderson, Sarah Dessen, Susan Colasanti and Lauren Barnholdt.

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  1. I LOVED Saving June, so I'm really excited to read this one. I think Hannah Harrington is a fantastic new writer and I'm happy to see her books getting great reviews like this one! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have heard so much of Speechless and I was accepted to review it. It's the second in my review pile. I might get to it soon.
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