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Speechless by Hannah Harrington
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Speechless (edition 2012)

by Hannah Harrington

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2114655,323 (3.98)None
Member:skullduggery
Title:Speechless
Authors:Hannah Harrington
Info:MIRA Ink (2012), Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Collections:Digital Library, Middle Grade & Teens
Rating:****
Tags:@ebook, fiction, young adult, contemporary fiction, school days

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Speechless by Hannah Harrington

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***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 |
So, I am going to go with a slightly different format with this review, and depending on how it works out and the response of my readers, I may use it again in the future. We will have to see how it goes. First, I am going to give my overall general thoughts on the book. Then, I will answer a couple of the discussion questions from the back of the book.

I really, really struggled with this review. First off, I just realized that I have been getting the main character's name all mixed up with the main character of another book I recently finished. And no one corrected me on Twitter!!!

I really, really wanted to love this book. I requested it for review because so many people raved about it. But the truth is, I really, really struggled with this one.

Have you guys seen the movie Mean Girls? This was just way worse. The characters, with a few exceptions, are shallow and lifeless and the endearing parts of the book come so close to the end, it was just really hard to connect.

The writing itself was good. The style, the flow, all of that was great. I think maybe it is the subject matter. The concept of what happened to Noah just really bothered me and Chelsea was..just lacking to me.

Some discussion questions. Feel free to chime in on these in the comments!

1. Chelsea Knot starts this story as a gossip whose words wind up hurting others both mentally and physically. What do you think about her vow of silence? Was that an effective way to deal with what happened? How hard might it be to not speak at all for four weeks?

Well, to me, the vow of silence would have been great if the initial motivation might have been for better reasons. If she were evaluating why she did what she did and things like that, it might have been better. But the motivation just seemed shallow to me. I think there could have been better ways to handle things. I highly doubt I could go that long without talking for anything less than miraculous, life altering reasons.

I am going to leave it with that question for now to see how the response is. There are a dozen or so in the back of the book, but the others kind of give too much away and I want people to form their own opinions.
I know that mine is not the popular response to this one, but it is my opinion. I just really could not connect with this one for some reason.

Thanks to the publisher for a review copy. ( )
  destinyisntfree | Feb 28, 2015 |
So, I am going to go with a slightly different format with this review, and depending on how it works out and the response of my readers, I may use it again in the future. We will have to see how it goes. First, I am going to give my overall general thoughts on the book. Then, I will answer a couple of the discussion questions from the back of the book.

I really, really struggled with this review. First off, I just realized that I have been getting the main character's name all mixed up with the main character of another book I recently finished. And no one corrected me on Twitter!!!

I really, really wanted to love this book. I requested it for review because so many people raved about it. But the truth is, I really, really struggled with this one.

Have you guys seen the movie Mean Girls? This was just way worse. The characters, with a few exceptions, are shallow and lifeless and the endearing parts of the book come so close to the end, it was just really hard to connect.

The writing itself was good. The style, the flow, all of that was great. I think maybe it is the subject matter. The concept of what happened to Noah just really bothered me and Chelsea was..just lacking to me.

Some discussion questions. Feel free to chime in on these in the comments!

1. Chelsea Knot starts this story as a gossip whose words wind up hurting others both mentally and physically. What do you think about her vow of silence? Was that an effective way to deal with what happened? How hard might it be to not speak at all for four weeks?

Well, to me, the vow of silence would have been great if the initial motivation might have been for better reasons. If she were evaluating why she did what she did and things like that, it might have been better. But the motivation just seemed shallow to me. I think there could have been better ways to handle things. I highly doubt I could go that long without talking for anything less than miraculous, life altering reasons.

I am going to leave it with that question for now to see how the response is. There are a dozen or so in the back of the book, but the others kind of give too much away and I want people to form their own opinions.
I know that mine is not the popular response to this one, but it is my opinion. I just really could not connect with this one for some reason.

Thanks to the publisher for a review copy. ( )
  destinyisntfree | Feb 28, 2015 |
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". ( )
  Liinda97 | Sep 21, 2014 |
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". ( )
  Liinda97 | Sep 21, 2014 |
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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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