The main reason I checked out Speechless was because of its cover: a cover without a pretty girl in a pretty dress on the it, a cover without a pretty girl about to kiss an equally as pretty boy on the it. It's different, and I love it. However, based on the vague synopsis, I came to the conclusion that this book most likely wasn't for me, and decided to pass on it. It wasn't until I saw glowing four and five star reviews for this book from trusted friends of mine that I decided to request this on NetGalley and see if I would end up liking it. And let me just take a moment to say, that I'm so happy I took the chance and requested this on NetGalley.
Normally, this would be the part in my review where I'd write my own little synopsis explaining what the book is about. But, I'm not going to do this for Speechless. I want you, dear reader, to read the vague synopsis. And if you do read the provided synopsis and don't know much about what will happen in Speechless afterwards, good. I want you to go into this book knowing barely anything about it. I want this book to have the same surprise for you as it did for me. And hopefully, you end up enjoying it as much as I enjoyed it.
And I more than enjoyed this book. I loved this book to bits. I loved the characters, and the depth each and every one of them was provided with (for the most part, but more on that later in the review). I loved the funny moments and one-liners this book had. I loved the emotional punch this book gave me, many, many times. But what I especially loved is how Harrington made me dislike the central character in the beginning, and then have me absolutely love her in the end.
Chelsea Knot is not a perfect character, she's not a perfect person, but, in that sense, she's realistic, and extremely easy to sympathize with. Wouldn't you say that a flawed and believable character is easier to like and sympathize with than a perfect character? Chelsea knows that what she's done in her past to people was wrong, and she learns the error of her ways and grows as a character immensely by the end of Speechless, and getting to see and compare the massive change in who Chelsea was by the beginning of this novel to the end is really something special.
Chelsea's friends, Asha, Sam, Dex, and Lou might just be some of my favorite characters I've had the pleasure to read about so far this year. Like Chelsea, they're all flawed, but they're all amazing and extremely likable characters, and they accepted Chelsea when no one else would. Asha is the best friend anyone could ever hope to have - she's loyal, helpful, and only ever sees the good in people. The same goes for Chelsea's other friends, Sam, Dex, and Lou, who are all sweet and difficult to dislike. (Though I would have liked to see much more of Dex and Lou!)
Harrington's writing, while not the most exquisite, is captivating, and the dialogue between the characters is incredibly witty and fun. While we are at times bombarded by acronyms, overuse of the word 'like', and text speak, it only made the environment in which Chelsea and her friends were surrounded by, and their characters, more believable to me.
So, after all of this glowing praise for Speechless, why am I giving it four stars? There are only two reasons I can pinpoint as of right now that restrain myself from giving Speechless the five stars it undoubtedly deserves. Those two reasons are that Kristen, the main antagonist of the story, and really all of the other antagonists, are never given much depth. And the second reason that I can't bring myself to give Speechless five stars is that the slut-shaming and Chelsea calling people freaks, etc, was a bit too much at times.
However, despite those problems, which seem miniscule when compared to all the things I didn't have problems with, I think it's safe to say, that - wait for it... Speechless left me speechless.
(That was inevitable and you know it.)