Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Title: Speechless
Author: Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: August 28, 2012

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. ~ Courtesy of Goodreads 

Sort of a mix between Some Girls Are and Mean Girls, Speechless by Hannah Harrington tells a story of hate, bullying, prejudice, love and forgiveness. It shows what it means to forgive and be forgiven. And what it takes to learn to forgive yourself.

Speechless is a story every teenage girl should read, because I think many teenagers, but especially girls, have a severe issue with their self worth as a person. They see other girls around them and in magazines and say I'm not as pretty. They fail a test or don't understand an assignment and say I'm not smart. I'm not funny, I'm not special, I'm not perfect. But no one ever is and Speechless shows one girl's journey to discover her place in the world and discover that she, and everyone else, has something to offer, regardless of what other people might believe. Within the first twenty pages I had already decided I needed to buy this book as a gift for someone. It was just so good I needed to share it.

Chelsea is one of those rare characters that could do just about anything and I still don't think I could dislike her. She makes mistakes and is mean to others, but in the same way everyone in the world is mean to each other. She is smart and strong and confident, all while being insecure and unsure of her self and sucking at math. She's real in the way everyone is real in high school and that is a huge part of why Speechless succeeds in it's goal. Harrington manages to create a likable but flawed character that makes reading Speechless feel like looking into a mirror.

Chelsea's dedication to her vow of silence is possibly the strongest thing about her. I wouldn't be able to do it. I talk too much. I talk so much, I'll talk out loud even when no one is in a room with me. I just talk out loud to the universe. And I could never not sing along to music. That's, like, impossible. But somehow Chelsea does it, because she's got a point to make, even if it's just to herself.

There is such an issue with bullying in school and on the Internet today, but most people don't even realize they're doing it. Gossiping and telling secrets, talking about people behind their back or anonymously (without @ mentioning them on Twitter), that's bullying. And, unfortunately, everyone does it at some point or another. Speechless gives the reader a look inside the world of a girl who was just doing what everyone else was doing, and accidentally set into motion a series of events that would change her life, and the lives of those around her, forever.

It's crazy to me how easy it can be to gossip, spread rumors, talk badly about people. Like Noah, a character who plays an integral role in Speechless, says,

Hate is easy, but love takes courage. {Speechless, page 267}

It's easier to say something mean than it is to say something nice. We've all heard that saying as children, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," but very few of us actually live that way. Imagine how much better the world would be—no! Forget that. Just imagine how much better a single day would be if people thought about what they were saying before they blurted a nasty comment.

But harder than just being nice is standing up for what's right. When someone is being bullied or harassed, how many people will stand up and say, "That's enough"? Because I know there are times, just like for Chelsea in Speechless, when it's easier to keep your mouth shut and avert your gaze. Just pretend it isn't happening. But, you know what? It's not easier on the person being victimized. It's not easier on their family and friends. But like Noah said, it takes courage to love. It takes strength to show someone kindness and understanding and forgiveness. And Speechless gives you, as a reader, a look at what can happen when you show courage and stand up for what's right instead of giving into hate.

Speechless causes you to think about your life and your world and your workplace or school in a whole new way, because the events and actions of the characters are so familiar to us all. We've all known a Kristen or a Warren or a Lowell or even a Chelsea. Maybe we've even been them at some point. It shows you how something as simple as speaking can effect your life in ways you've never imagined because words have power, even if we abuse or disregard that power on a daily basis. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I recommend this book to any and all teenagers and adults willing to read it. Speechless is an enjoyable contemporary with a powerful lesson to teach us all.

For more about Speechless check out these sites!

*All quotes are taken from an uncorrected ARC. Quotes may not match the finished copy.*


  1. Great review! I really enjoyed this one too and I agree, all teenagers especially should read this one it sends a great message. I also love how Hannah can write an unlikeable character and make us like her no matter her attitude. I thought at the start that I would hate her but I really grew to admire her decisions in the end.

  2. Awesome review. This book sounds amazing and so typical of life. I have added this one to my TBR pile. :)

  3. Harrington manages to create a likable but flawed character that makes reading Speechless feel like looking into a mirror.

    THIS is so true of Speechless. I couldn't dislike Chelsea because her flaws were ones I struggled with when I was her age. I didn't necessarily go out of my way to be mean to someone, but I definitely didn't step up and stop someone else from being mean while I watched from the sidelines.

    I think you've really captured the essence of Speechless here; great review!

  4. Basically, I just agree with EVERYTHING you said in your review. Everything. Perfect, spot-on review. You hit on ALL the reasons I will be buying this one. I thought it was amazing that I liked "meal girl," Chelsea as much as I did!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue


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