Review Detail

Speechless FeaturedHot
Young Adult Fiction 5463
Beautifully Moving With a Great Message
(Updated: October 08, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Speechless surprised me in many ways. With wonderfully constructed characters, who managed to be appropriately funny even while tackling some tough issues, Speechless is simply beautiful - to both read and with the message it delivers.

Chelsea starts off as a completely shallow and unlikable character. Striving to please her best friend Kristen - who also happens to be the most popular girl at school - she was willing to do or say whatever it took to keep their relationship strong. So when the opportunity came to dish out the juiciest gossip she had ever had - that she had walked in on Noah making out with another guy! - Chelsea held nothing back. But when Noah ends up in the hospital fighting for his life, Chelsea's conscience kicks in and she tells her parents (and the police) how Kristen's boyfriend, Warren, and his best friend Joel had gone after Noah to "teach him a lesson." It's at this moment that Chelsea realizes how much damage her mouth has caused, and pledges a vow of silence - and her journey of self-discovery truly begins.

Chelsea is a hilarious narrator. I found myself highlighting a LOT of her inner dialogue, as it had me laughing out loud.

"Also, tonight he reeks too much of beer and cloying cologne. This is a disappointment because I always assumed that a perfect creature such as Brendon would smell of spring rain and mountain bresses and other heavenly aromas."

"Therapy is my mother's solution to everything. I'm sure she thinks there'd be peace in the Middle East if every country were forced to sit down on a stiff leather couch with a box of Kleenex and talk about their feeeeelings."

But a lot of her funny moments were quickly sobered, as she began berating herself for her past behaviour - for following Kristen like a sheep, letting her decide what to wear and who to talk to, and for treating other people like crap in order to maintain Kristen's affection.

"It's like what those cheesy action-movie heros always say before they finish taking out the bad guys: I started this, and I'm going to finish it. Except even in the movie of my own life, I've never been the heroine. I've never been Action Girl. I've only ever been Kristen's supporting character."

Her character growth in Speechless, though subtle, was significant, and I loved watching her realize that she could have a life of her own, without Kristen or her influence. Her friendships with Asha and Sam had me nervous for the longest time, as I worried she would hurt them if Kristen managed to forgive her. I shouldn't have been so worried though, as like I said, her character growth was genuine. It took her a while to realize what a horrible human being she had been, and how what she had done to please Kristen had a ripple effect in causing harm to others.

"And I thought it was okay as long as I didn't actively participate, that it was enough for me to secrely believe in my heart of hearts that there was absolutely nothing wrong with being gay even if I never dared say it out loud."

But with her growing realization came understanding and then a sincere desire to change, to become a better person. It was Harrington's almost painfully realistic portrayal of Chelsea's struggle for self-discovery which truly made Speechless beautiful.

Harrington also handled the supporting characters with ease and grace. Flawed and infused with depth, I fell for each character in a different way. I adored Asha's genuineness and her constant bubblyness and Sam's earnest goodness radiated whenever he was protecting those he cares about. Even Chelsea became someone I admired, as she started to care less about what other people thought of her and more about how to be the kind of person who deserved the love shown to her by her new friends.

" walk to my car without looking back, and as I drive away, I'm hit with a sudden wave of sadness. But it's a distant kind of sad - like when you look at your Barbies and realize you don't want to play with them anymore, because you're growing up and you've moved on, and in your heart you know it's time to make room for other things."

The romance was subtle and unassuming, something I enjoyed as it didn't take away from the rest of Speechless' plot. I did slightly tire of the teenage-y speak, like, you know. But that same manner of speaking is what added to Chelsea's realism as a young adult. I would also have liked to see things a little less tidy at the end, but I guess there has to be times where someone gets their happily ever after!

Beautifully moving with a great message about love and the consequences of intolerance, Speechless is well worth a read. As another reviewer pointed out, "this novel isn't mindblowing, it isn't earth-shattering, it didn't elevate my intellectual and spiritual being in any way. But, it did make me flip the last page with a small sigh..."
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Once Upon a Crime: Batman Tales
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Gotham City is filled with stories--of heroes and of villains,...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
With Joanie Stone's colorful illustrations and Allison Crotzer Kimmel's inspirational...
Cracked Up To Be
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
The high price of perfection is one 'Perfect' Parker Fadley...
Finder, Coal Mine Dog
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
An action-packed and heartwarming story of a dog in the...
Bo the Brave
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A feisty little girl learns who the real monsters are...
Double Trouble!
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Mischief is multiplied when twins are around! ...
The Morning Flower (The Omte Origins, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking returns to the...
The Derby Daredevils: Kenzie Kickstarts a Team: (The Derby Daredevils Book #1)
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Ever since they can remember, fifth-graders Kenzie (aka Kenzilla) and...
Nina Soni, Former Best Friend
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first title in a new series featuring a lovable,...
Nina Soni: Sister Fixer
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The second title in a humorous series featuring a charming,...
The Alchemist's Shadow (Watch Hollow #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Having defeated the Garr, a vicious tree monster who lived...
The Lost City (The Omte Origins, #1)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Amanda Hocking, the New York Times bestselling author of The...
Helen Keller: The World at Her Fingertips
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Helen Keller was a baby, she became sick and...
King and Kayla and the Case of the Unhappy Neighbor
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A lovable dog helps his human girl solve a mystery....
Doodleville
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Drew is just a regular artist. But there's nothing ordinary...
Glitch
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From the critically acclaimed author of Float comes a new...

Latest Member Reviews

Once Upon a Crime: Batman Tales
 
3.5
"BATMAN TALES: ONCE UPON A CRIME reimagines fairytales as Batman stories. There are four main stories in this graphic novel...."
Finder, Coal Mine Dog
 
4.5
"Thomas' father perished in a mining accident, so when his mother became ill and died, he ended up with his..."
Bo the Brave
 
5.0
"BO THE BRAVE is a delightful story about courage and not judging others too quickly. Bo lives with her brothers,..."
Double Trouble!
 
3.0
"DOUBLE TROUBLE! features twins, Ellis and Erin, who are looking for trouble. They search all over the house, in the..."
The Derby Daredevils: Kenzie Kickstarts a Team: (The Derby Daredevils Book #1)
 
4.5
"Kenzie and her best friend Shelley love roller derby, a sport in which they are interested because Kenzie's mother is..."
Nina Soni, Former Best Friend
 
5.0
"Nina is nine years old, and struggling with several things. Her father has to spend his week working away from..."
Nina Soni: Sister Fixer
 
5.0
"After Nina Soni, Former Best Friend, Nina is back, and this time is concerned that her little sister is a..."
The Alchemist's Shadow (Watch Hollow #2)
 
4.0
"Lucy and Oliver Tinker and their father Charles are getting settled into Watch Hollow after their harrowing introduction to it..."
King and Kayla and the Case of the Unhappy Neighbor
 
4.0
"King's friend Thor is in big trouble. His owner, Jillian, got a call from the grumpy Mr. Gary that Thor..."
Doodleville
 
4.5
"Drew loves to draw, and has a notebook full of doodles with whom she interacts. When she takes her sketch..."
Glitch
 
4.0
"Regan has been identified as someone who has the ability to "glitch", or travel through time, and is a student..."
Storm Dog
 
4.0
"Ariel has a difficult home life in her Blue Ridge Mountain home in Virginia. It's not because of economics; her..."
Pete the Cat's Family Road Trip
 
5.0
"'Pete the Cat's Family Road Trip' by Kimberly & James Dean is yet another well-conceived addition to the 'Pete the..."
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew
 
4.5
"A prequel and an origin story; in more ways than one. It becomes easy to see..."
Moment of Truth
 
4.0
"Hadley Moore is a dedicated high school swimmer who is hoping to get a college scholarship for the sport, so..."
Wrong Way Summer
 
4.0
"Claire's father has always been evasive when it comes to answering questions about her mother, who left the family when..."
Can We Be Friends?: Unexpected Animal Friendships from around the World
 
4.0
"CAN WE BE FRIENDS? is a cute picture book about unlikely animal friendships. The book combines rhyming prose about each..."
The Cassandra Curse (Muse Squad, #1)
 
4.0
"MUSE SQUAD: THE CASSANDRA CURSE is a fun middle grade fantasy that brings Greek mythology into the present. Callie is..."
The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story
 
5.0
"Kanzi has trouble fitting in at school because of her Arabic heritage. The other children make fun of for her..."
Frankenstein Doesn't Wear Earmuffs!
 
4.0
"This Halloween season, it is very cold, but Frankenstein still wants to participate in the Halloween festivities. However, his parents..."