Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Publication Date: August 28th 2012
Source: Ebook from Publisher for Review
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
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 wasn't really sure whether or not I would like this book when I picked it up. I had heard some good things about it and I wanted to give it a shot but I didn't really have very high expectations. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Speechless takes self-discovery to a whole new level as the story critiques the world of gossip, popularity, and social groups.
The main character- Chelsea- is the best friend of the most popular girl in school and she is perfectly happy where she is. She loves her rank and ability to find easy, hot gossip to keep her in the ranks, but one night her gossip goes way to far as her need to spread the word leads to a boy getting seriously hurt by several boys, including her best friend's boyfriend. Afterward she doesn't know what to do. She knows she has to do the right thing- turn in the boys in. But that means loosing her status. She comes to believe that her voice does nothing but hurt, and she takes a vow of silence indefinitely to discover who she really is.
Honestly, Chelsea was really difficult to like at the beginning of the book. She was a total brat, blinded by her popularity status and not worried about anyone but herself and those she called friends. It didn't take long for that to change though. As soon as she realized what she had done she changed for the better during her vow of silence as she has to go through the torture that her old group of friends puts her through- the torture she once helped inflict. She becomes much more understanding of others and learns what it means to be a friend. I thought that it was really great that she was able to communicate so much with others without the use of her voice. Those who really mattered didn't need to hear her speak to know she was true, and it was just beautiful.
I loved pretty much every single character that Chelsea met along the way in her transformation as she meets new friends, Sam and Asha especially. Sam and Asha are fun, quirky, and loyal characters that become Chelsea's friends when she is the last person anyone she knew before wants to talk. I love how they excepted her completely, even when she was voiceless and lost.
This book has a very strong anti-bullying message that works to promote acceptance of others despite differences, and the message is brought up numerous times as Chelsea discovers the terrible things that can happen when gossip goes a little too far, and how she works to redeem herself.