Speechless by Hannah Harrington
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Goodreads Says: 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 was drawn in by the cover. You might be thinking it’s plain or simple but to me it’s one of the most powerful covers out there. Just look at it for a while. Powerful.
I was then drawn in by the intriguing synopsis. A girl speaks one word too many, places lives in jeopardy and decides to take a vow of silence. I’m thinking, “OK, this is going to be deep! Let’s see what it’s about.” And I did.
I finished this book about a week ago and I’ve been mulling it over, trying to decide how I felt and finding it hard to put those feelings into words.
I felt that the book was written well. There are very strong messages laced within the pages of Speechless. Chelsea Knot is a born gossiper. She loves to talk about everyone under the sun. It’s not until her mouth instigates a beating resulting in one of her classmates nearly dying from that beating that she steps back and realizes that her mouth is dangerous.
Chelsea’s obnoxious and toxic right from page one. On the flip side you feel her remorse almost immediately after she realizes what she set in motion. This is why I didn’t hate Chelsea, but I didn’t like her very much. Imagine my surprise when Chelsea picks up an article where she reads of an individual who took a vow of silence for spiritual reasons and Chelsea thinks a vow of silence is exactly what she needs to set herself straight.
It was interesting to see how things played out from that point forward. Chelsea, losing all of her cool friends as they all turn their backs on her in a most nasty fashion, finds friendship and peace in the most unexpected people and places. I really liked all of the secondary characters. They were well developed, incredibly likable and accepting. They were honest to goodness good people and that too was refreshing. The most interesting secondary character introduced in this book was Asha. Asha had a great soul and a knack for making everyone around her comfortable and wanted. She saw the good in Chelsea, didn’t think she deserved all that was happening to her, and convinced her crew to give her a chance. Unfortunately, we don’t really get to know Asha as much as I would have liked to and although Chelsea admits that she never talks about Asha’s personal life, she never really tries to find out more about her either.
Chelsea’s journey was an impressive one. It was a time for growth and restraint. She kept her vow for a month and knew that she wanted her first words to be important and worth speaking. The story however, fell short when Chelsea finally does speak and goes back to being who she was when she first started her journey. She wasn’t as obnoxious or as nasty but it was noticeable. Disappointing. It could possibly be that the author wanted us to appreciate the steps Chelsea took to improve her character but at the same time realize that you can’t change that drastically within a month's time and that it will be a work in progress for a long time to come. This is me looking at it with a positive outlook. Trying to spin it so that it could be as positive as possible… This is me trying to convince myself… Hmmm…
Another let down was some of the language used in this book. I don’t only read these books for entertainment purposes. I read them in hopes of introducing a great read to my son and my nieces. I personally wouldn’t want them reading some of the words in here and I know for a fact they wouldn’t like to read them either. It wasn’t necessary and could have been edited out and perhaps the final copy will have it taken out. Who knows?
Overall, because of the many positives that our young people can walk away with, primarily that words hurt, tear down and ruin lives, coupled with the great Q&A included at the end of the book that can spark up great conversations, I can’t help but to recommend that everyone read this book.
ARC was provided by Harlequin Teen via NetGalley.