Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Title: Speechless
Author: Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Harlequin
Date Published: August 28, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Goodreads Summary

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.

“Ms. Davidson said I couldn’t shut out the world, but my question is, why can’t I do just that? It’s what the world wants. It’s the only way to keep myself out of trouble”.
I read Saving June a while ago and after finishing it, I was convinced I had to read Speechless as well. It took me a while to get around to it but I am so glad I read it. I think it was even better, not because it had a better writing style or better characters, but because it wasn’t a tragedy. Like I mentioned in the review to Saving June, I don’t do tragedies. So giving Saving June a 4 meant that it was pretty amazing. It took me a while to get around to this though because I wasn’t like “OMG I WANT TO READ IT RIGHT NOW”, more like “Hmm, I definitely need to read this at some point”, so when I saw it on Net Galley, I requested it. I am kind of disappointed I didn’t read it earlier. It is so awesome. This is the kind of contemporary/realistic fiction I am on the lookout for, something that completely blows my mind away.
The characters in this book are by no means perfect, but that’s the appeal of them. Their imperfectness is WHAT makes them perfect.
Chelsea cannot keep a secret to save her life, she gossips, spreads rumors, is friends with the most popular girl. But after spilling a secret that almost costs someone their life, she decides to take a vow of silence. People blame her for ratting their friends out, they say horrible things to her but she still says silent. When I say silent, she doesn’t speak. Not even to her parents. She has to write down stuff she has to say. But the whole staying silent thing turns over a new leaf for her, she becomes close to a whole new group of people she wouldn’t have considered looking at twice.
When I started reading this book, I was kind of scared, I mean we know a bad thing is going to happen, it’s the anticipation for that event that kind of scared me. But after that, the book was an absolutely fun read. When you read the summary you think it’s going to be serious and somewhat depressing. It isn’t, not if you have a main character like Chelsea. Chelsea is a rather sarcastic character and even though she isn’t talking it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her own opinions. This book could have been depressing and even though it’s about self-discovery, Chelsea’s voice makes it light.
“Natalie might think I’m just Kristen’s little minion, but I’m not. I don’t know exactly what I am, but I am more than that. I know that much.”
As I’ve mentioned this book IS about self-discovery. After the “incident” she has no friends. Her ex friends turned against her and everyone else hated her. So she doesn’t have anyone to turn to. She is confused and lost without her best friend, because she doesn’t know who to be without her anymore, Kristen played such a huge part in Chelsea’s life, making decisions for her, etc.
Chelsea isn’t someone who as soon as she becomes “unpopular” realizes that all her friends sucked. She used to be one of them, she liked it. She liked the attention, she liked being more than average. Maybe I am reading too much into this but I think it was because she didn’t feel all that special, she wasn’t good at much and even though she loves fashion designing, she never finished her projects. The attention made her feel like she was special so she liked it. In real life people don’t suddenly change her mind, she questioned if she made the right choice all the time because she missed her life a lot but little by little, she started to realize how horrible a person she used to be.
These things make her relatable because we as human beings are by no means perfect, it takes a lot of courage to speak up and we all crave human attention, if speaking up is going to make us a target, we probably won’t do it because becoming a target of the popular crowd, that’s pretty bad. She is a rather realistic character and her voice makes it a lot easier to understand her and of course relate to her.
This book like Saving June has great relationships. I prefer the ones in this book actually. Her relationship with her parents is great. They aren’t bad parents and they are always trying to help her, she doesn’t always see that but she doesn’t hate them or ignore them or say bad things about them. She loves them even though she thinks they can be smothering at times. She turns to her father every time she and her mother have an argument. The relationship she shares with her parents is so realistic.
Asha, the friend/best friend, is a great character. Such a bubbly and fun person, someone who tries to see the good in people. She is a grade behind her but when everyone turns against Chelsea, Asha sees that she is lonely and knowing what it feels like to be lonely, she goes up and decides to strike a friendship with Chelsea. They by no means hit off, their friendship is a somewhat slow process. Chelsea is never mean to her though, never tries to tell her off. She knows she doesn’t want to be lonely and even her pride cannot get in the way of reaching out to someone who is willing to be there. I loved their friendship.
Sam. Oh my god. Sam like Jake (from Saving June) was absolutely great. He is a bit geeky but also a nice guy. He has his little flaws and it takes him time for him to warm up to her but their relationship is so cute. It develops slowly. She is vary of him at first because he was best friends with the guy who almost died, she thinks that he is going to be mean to her and try to get back at her like everyone else. He doesn’t, he is polite but that doesn’t mean he likes her. They have to work together on an art project so they slowly become friends and then best friends (this all happens without Chelsea talking) and then….they become something more (I sound so cliché).
There are so many lessons to be learned from this book, the main one being it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you accept them for what they are. Cut yourself some slack occasionally.
After reading two of her books, it’s safe to say I am a huge Hannah Harrington fan and I will be on the lookout for more of her books.

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