Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

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Hannah Harrington
Publication date: 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.

*A copy was provided by Harlequin Teen for review purposes*

Can you imagine not speaking for days? Weeks? I have a hard time shutting up for a few hours. Chelsea, she gives a whole new meaning to the silent treatment when she decide to take a vow of silence after her big mouth basically ruins her life – or at least that’s what she thinks.

After reading Saving June and getting to see how great an author Hannah is, I was highly anticipating her second novel, Speechless. Although not quite as emotionally intense as Saving June, it’s a truly wonderful novel that looks into the highs and lows of high school social statuses, giving a great message to those who think everything is better on top of the ladder. Our lovely Chelsea feels immense guilt for spreading a secret that almost costs someone their life. I completely despised Chelsea at first. Being best friends with the most popular, stuck up girl in school gave her a surreal sense of self importance, a judgmental attitude, and an illusion of friendship that is saddening. Fortunately, Hannah is wonderful at creating characters who grow and mature throughout the story, with real in-depth personalities, which was no exception with Chelsea. She soon realizes that what she had, wasn’t friendship; she begins to reevaluate herself, trying to find who she truly is, what’s really important, and all the while not uttering a word.

Luckily, not everyone is blaming Chelsea, and she’s making some new friends who become excellent secondary roles in the book. Unique and full of quirks, we get flawed, realistic characters who absolutely radiate with life. Even the bullies have genuine character presence. The romance is slow and sweet; there’s a perfect balance of camaraderie and flirting with a guy who is understanding, kind, and completely worth it.

At first I did find the vow of silence a tiny bit unrealistic. How often in a conversation do you utter words out of habitual reflex – a simple “yeah” or “Uhuh”? Chelsea never seems to have a lot of trouble holding back. We do see her struggles when she’s being verbally attacked, her not being able to defend herself or retaliate is undoubtedly frustrating, but I was expecting to have a stronger sense of the difficulties of this utter silence at all times. There is no way I could have stuck with it in her situation, being bullied, insulted, and ridiculed while vowing not to speak has to be insufferable and I loved being inside Chelsea’s mind during these confrontations. I did enjoy the ending, though I can’t help but feel it was a bit too… perfect. I would have liked to see more of the aftermath and long term consequences, which would have helped lessen the idealism of the story’s ending, and give a stronger closure.

Conveying a sound message for adults as well as teens, Speechless touches on several social topics that a lot of people can relate to, and learn from. If you’re already a fan of this author you won’t be disappointed, and if this is your first venture in her works, I recommend you add Saving June to keep this one company on your shelf!

4 Hot Espressos
Curious on my thoughts on Saving June?

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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39 Responses to “Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington”

  1. Rebecca

    I read Speechless earlier this month and loved! It’s very different to Saving June but still very good. Hannah Harrington has proved not once, but twice that she’s an amazing, talented writer and this makes me so excited to hear about her 3rd book and get my grabby hands on a copy. Fantabulous review, and I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  2. Hannah Doermann

    I am SO excited for this one! I love when an MC grows as much as this one seems to. But it does sound kind of unrealistic how easily she stops talking – I know I’d fail miserably… Great review 🙂

  3. Nick

    Yay! 🙂
    I’m really happy you enjoyed Speechless, Giselle. I thought it was great too. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it too much, when I first met Chelsea, but I was surprised by how strong the message the book sends out.
    The secondary characters were awesome, weren’t they?
    Lovely review, Giselle!

  4. Mary @ BookSwarm

    While I’m not a chatterbox, by no means am I a quiet person and 99% of teens I know can’t shut up so I have a hard time imagining a teen being completely silent! Crazy challenging, especially in the face of verbal attacks. Can’t wait to read this one.

  5. Sam

    I’ve heard a lot about Chelsea now from all the reviews I’ve read, and it seems everyone agrees she is a flawed character in the best possible way. I think that’s a talent of Harrington’s. A lovely review, Giselle! 🙂

  6. Amy

    This sounds really great!! I almost got it from NetGalley, but I am drowning in NetGalley books already. I will have to buy this one for sure though. I am sure that I will love it and besides, it’s probably a great book to keep around for my kiddo to read when she is old enough. Great review!!

  7. Meg K.

    I absolutely adored SPEECHLESS. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it, too! 🙂 I found the beginning of the vow of silence unrealistic, too, but the story was so beautiful that it sort of made up for it.

    Great review, Giselle! 😀

  8. Eileen

    Great review! I just love-love-love-loved this book and again, I am so jealous you got a physical copy of an ARC…so jealous >.< But I'm glad you really liked this, although I do get your point about the "picture perfect" ending. I didn't get that thought, but I do know what your talking about 🙂

  9. Ash @ Paranormal Indulgence

    Dude, you rocked this review! Like, seriously a favorite of the month! I don’t know if it’s the way you spotlighted each aspect, or how you really dug into the flaws of this book while still raving about how awesome this book is. I just love the heck out of this!

  10. Katie @ BlookGirl

    This is such a well-written review, Giselle. It makes me want to read Speechless right now. I am definitely intrigued. I think we’ve all been in Chelsea’s position at one point or another, having said things that caused a lot of harm to others or even ourselves.

    I can’t imagine taking and keeping a vow of silence. How difficult that must be, especially when you’re being attacked!

    I will definitely be finding a copy of Speechless for myself. Thanks for the recommendation, love muffin 🙂

  11. A Canadian Girl

    I think I would find the vow of silence a little unrealistic too because you definitely utter words without thinking sometimes. Does this mean she doesn’t talk at home either or just in public?

    I haven’t read Saving June but I’ve seen some really positive reviews for this one so I plan on checking it out.

  12. Mel - Thedailyprophecy.

    I can’t imagine being silence all the time! That’s what I liked about ‘What I didn’t say’ It sounds pretty good. I haven’t read anything from this author yet, but it might be time to try a book from her 🙂

  13. Karen

    This is the second great review I’ve read for Speechless today. Since I have it already I hope I can read it soon.
    WHat an interesting idea for a story.

  14. Uomo di Speranza

    Too perfect of an ending was also a gargantuan problem with James Cameron’s Avatar, if you’ve ever seen it. He would’ve had the Academy award if he made the Na’vi lose their war with the Americans.

  15. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    Oh, great review! I agree that I can’t shut up for an hour, hubs says I talk in my sleep so yeah, I’m always talking. I love a book where we see our characters grow realistically so I really need to get my hands on this one. I totally see your point about the random mutterings of “uhhuh” or “yeah” and I think I will feel the same way about that aspect of the story but I’m happy that you still enjoyed it so much!

  16. Sarah (saz101)

    WONDERFUL review as ALWAYS, Giselle! I ADORED Saving June, and I really really REALLY loved this, though agree it isn’t *quite* as emotionally intense. VERY interesting point about how well she manages to keep her mouth shut all things considered!

  17. Rachel

    I can’t wait to read this, especially since I loved Saving June! I just need more hours in the day!! Great review Giselle, I’m glad you enjoyed this. 🙂

  18. Ashelynn Hetland

    hm, this one sounds interesting. I didn’t really like Saving June, so I held off from requesting Speechless, and I think I may just get the library to order it that way I don’t feel obligated to review it if I don’t like it like Saving June. 😉

    great review, Giselle! I agree that the premise seems a bit unrealistic. It’s really hard for me to not talk to someone whom I’m mad at–I see something and it reminds me of them, and I HAVE to tell them. So it’s hard to become speechless. :\

    ashelynn @ gypsy book reviews.

  19. kay - Infinite Shelf

    This makes me want to pick up my copy right away, probably after I finish reading my current book. I’ll admit I wasn’t too sure about it but after reading your review, I’m glad I have a copy of it!

  20. Danny

    I agree with you this wasn’t as emotionally intense as Saving June. However I did like this but not as much as Saving June. I think that the end turned a little bit too perfect. And this coming from me who loves a happy ending 🙂

  21. Alexa

    I absolutely LOVED this book. I have yet to read Saving June, but I can now say that I love Hannah Harrington’s writing style. I loved that this handles such a delicate topic with such grace!

  22. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    I loved this one! There was actually a couple different people I remember from high school that took a vow of silence especially on gay rights days. I liked Chelsea taking the time to learn to think before speaking and also learning that sometimes you need to speak out and defend. Such a great lesson for anyone. Her friend was so evil. It was sad.

  23. Tabitha

    I can’t wait to read this book. The idea of not speaking… at all is crazy and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. And I agree with you. I’d have a hard time keeping quiet. I can’t even keep quiet in class half the time. 😛

    But thanks for the great review! If I hadn’t have already wanted to read this book your review would have convinced me.