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Speechless by Hannah Harrington
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Speechless

by Hannah Harrington

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So I have mentioned before that I am not usually a big fan of the Young Adult Contemporary Genre but I requested this novel because I found the idea of a high school girl choosing to take a vow of silence, after accidentally revealing one secret too many, intriguing.

I am glad I decided to take the plunge. This book was current and sensitive while leaving you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

This book deals indirectly with some heavy topics: homophobia, bullying, but does so in a way that is sensitive and delicate rather than in your face. Part of this because we see these issues the eyes of a teenage girl.

Chelsea is shocked at events that happen as a result of her being unable to keep her mouth shut. This event is enough to make her take a vow of silence so that maybe she will learn to watch what she says.

I liked that the author took Chelsea on a journey of self discovery that felt real and throughout the book you could really see her grow as a person as she learnt more about herself as a person, the other people around her and to start to see how what she says and does contributes to the bigger picture.

I also like that Chelsea is a strong female character, who at first seems quite shallow and weak. However, despite being on the receiving end of verbal abuse and some physical and mental attacks, she is able to stay strong, stick to her guns and stand up for what she believes in. Her strength is shown in how events affect her and how she responds.

The story flows from beginning to end, is believable and best of all leaves you with the warm glow of a satisfying conclusion.

A story with appeal for everyone, not just teenagers.
( )
  SapphiredDragon | Nov 21, 2017 |
3.5 ( )
  Joana_v_v | Feb 9, 2016 |
When I was ~10% in to this book, I thought for sure I was going to hate it and quit reading it. I didn't care for Chelsea at all, even though some aspects of her behavior I could relate to, her motives and thoughts were loathsome. It was at that point, the ~10% spot, that a major event occurs, and for a few paragraphs I was certain Chelsea was going to be even worse than she already had been, which was why I thought I would stop reading it. But then she wasn't. And I suddenly cared what happened to her and the new characters that were introduced.

Once that little patch of doubt was passed, I completely fell in love with the characters and the plot lines. For the most part, everything about this book was believable. I had a few moments where I thought that Chelsea's vocab was inconsistent with the not-so-bright persona the author created early on in the book; a girl that wikipedia's her English lit assignments and is a C-B student probably isn't throwing around words like "vitriol", etc.

( )
  twileteyes | Feb 4, 2016 |
This book has so much truth inside it's pages...
Speechless gives a powerful message while being a good book, a thing not all authors can do. Some authors then to exaggerate things in order to make their books 'better' while others try to make the problems seem lighter than they are, but Harrington does none.
The book hooked me up pretty well and, even though I have to say I hated Chelsea at the beginning, I have to say I understand Harrington made her shallow in order for us to see the transformation she has through the book.
At the ending, we can see a Chelsea that's not perfect, but has learned of her errors and has decided to love instead of hate because "Hate is too easy, but love takes courage". ( )
  LiindaSnow97 | Jul 8, 2015 |
***Warning-ish now that this is a long review because I apparently loved this book and have a lot of reasons - condensing didn't work***


Can you keep a secret?

Everyone at Grand Lake High knows not to ask Chelsea King that question. Chelsea King can't, and never has been able to, keep a secret. All of that's about to change, though.

The last secret that she told not only helped turn her into an outcast, it nearly got someone killed.

Chelsea needs to keep her mouth shut for once. She's taking a vow of silence because no one wants to hear what she has to say anyway and she needs to keep from hurting anyone else. Through it she may learn who her real friends - even if they're someone new - are and maybe even a little about herself.

If staying silent when she knew a juicy secret seemed impossible, Chelsea will now have to see if she can keep her vow when she feels the need to speak up for much different reasons.


Speechless, from the author of Saving June, has an incredibly enticing premise, even better there is then a novel that not only fulfills the promise created by that premise but then goes above and beyond it.

Chelsea King is not, immediately, a very likable character, she isn't someone you can see being friends with, either. She admits right from the first page that she's been sharing everyone's secrets since kindergarten. When we meet Chelsea in the present, she's friends with the her grade's Queen Bee Kristen (even if it's not an equal friendship) and getting very drunk at a party at her house.

Chelsea not being a clear-cut good character not only makes the story work, it makes it work incredibly well. Her growth from page one of Speechless all the way until the last word, makes this book one amazing page turner. it also makes it powerful, emotional and one you really can't miss.

The vow of silence that Chelsea takes, isn't immediately to understand how she's been acting better, to see how she's been making others feel. That's all too altruistic for how the beginning of her vow seems. Yes, she feels bad for what happened, but mixed in with the guilt is some selfishness - that no one cares anyway.

Hannah Harrington does an incredible job portraying Chelsea's feelings even without allowing her to speak. Yes, she does write some but that still allows her fewer words than speaking would. Her progression isn't immediate - she still isn't completely likable for a while - but it's better that way. It feels realistic. Chelsea's characterization is pretty near perfect. We see, through, little things how, in her friendship with Kristen, Chelsea had allowed herself to be subverted.
"[Kristen] got all pissed when I wrote about frosted lipstick being a fashion, "Don't," since she loves it, and then told me someone wears gold shimmery eye shadow isn't one to talk. I still don't understand what's wrong with gold eye shadow, but I threw it out anyway." pg 82
I may have been one of the few not to have a crush on Jake in Saving June (nothing wrong, I just didn't), but I'm a little bit in love with - and have a crush on - almost every non-jerky boy in Speechless. So, it's obvious that Hannah Harrington knows how to write her male characters. And a wide range of them as well. They were well written, had distinct personalities, interacted well together as well as with the other characters and the more central male characters' progressed nicely over the book.

The other, main, female character was to the book just what her character was for Chelsea. She was bright and bubbly and felt like life and fresh air. The book wasn't troubled, but at times the characters and what they were experiencing was and she felt like she kept them . . . up.

Speechless is not at all a preachy book. It's not a PSA. It's not in your face and it doesn't beat you over the head with a message - but it absolutely has one. That it uses a main character, Chelsea, who starts off shallow, unlikable, drunk, unable to keep secrets and indifferent to how her actions effect others is why it works so well.

As Chelsea begins to see it - through her vow of silence, through her friends --old and new -- so do readers.

(The only thing I could take anything off for was that Chelsea felt older than a sophomore. She seemed more like a junior or senior to me in the beginning.)

Get ready to read this sometime when you can be speechless - both because of its greatness and because you'll connect so well with Chelsea that talking will feel strange.

Rating: 9.5/10

(review copy received from Harlequin through Edelweiss)
  BookSpot | May 18, 2015 |
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For Paula
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Keeping secrets isn't my specialty.
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After her behavior causes her to lose her popular friends and results in one person being hospitalized, Chelsea takes a vow of silence.

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