Chelsea has taken a vow of silence - to learn to keep her mouth shut and to stop hurting anyone else. There's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way. Including a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive her...if only she can forgive herself.
This cover is so unique! It's minimalist but it incorporates several elements of the story which is why I think it works.
Speechless is a poignant example of the power that words can have. Our words have the capacity to build up or tear down, to encourage or destroy. How we use our words is just one way we define who we are as a person but there are times when words aren't enough and action is required.
Chelsea Knot is your typical teenager whose main focus is on being popular and the coveted position she holds as being BFF to Miss Popularity herself, Kristen. While Kristen is known for being beautiful and the girl everyone want to be, Chelsea is known for being the school's gossip queen. She thrives on collecting other peoples secrets (and blabbing them) the way some girls collect shoes or boys collect vintage comic books. But when her words nearly cost a fellow student his life, Chelsea decides to take a vow of silence.
In doing so, she'll have the chance to examine the choices she's made and the person she's become but it will cost her. She experiences a fall from grace that is swift and harsh.
"Everyone loves kicking the popular girl the second she's been knocked off the pedestal."
People she thought she could rely on don't come through, forcing Chelsea to make new friends in Asha and Sam. Asha is a great example of unconditional love, offering friendship to Chelsea when no one else will. She sees the good in people when there doesn't seem to be any and she's always willing to offer second chances.
Sam is not only Cheslea's partner on a class project but also happens to be best friends with the student who nearly died as a result of her actions. He's the last person Chelsea expects to find friendship with and by rights, he should hate her but he doesn't. Sam is unlike anyone she's ever met and his kindness and compassion catch her completely off guard. The more time they spend together the more Chelsea realizes that what she's been longing for may have been right under her loose lips the whole time. (It's amazing what we find when we start seeing things clearly.)
Throughout the story, Chelsea often questions both her decision to speak up and her vow of silence, doubting whether either was really worth it. She also struggles with the concept of forgiveness both giving and receiving it and she's forced to learn a hard lesson about what matters most and how sometimes, actions really do speak louder than words.
This really is a great read! It's realistic and the subject matter is completely relevant to today's culture. While it definitely has it's moments that are difficult to get through, Harrington's ability to infuse humor into even the most heartbreaking situations is refreshing.
Regardless of your opinions about homosexuality the one constant is that every human being is worthy and deserving of love and respect. It isn't always easy to love someone, especially when they've hurt you but it's what we're called to do; to love one another.
"Hate is...it's too easy. Love. Love takes courage."
This book also includes a discussion guide in the back with some great questions.
I told someone something that someone else had told me and that person I told (flipped the story into something that it wasn't), in turn, told someone that was a part of the story that I told and it got back to the original person who told me and all hell broke loose.
Over the summer before my freshman year, I received death threats over the phone for 2 months.
I don't even remember what the story was, but it completely ruined a friendship for me.
I didn't speak to that person the entire 4 years of high school. I was scared. I was ashamed that it had gotten so out of hand.
Then, 5 years after we've graduated, I was visiting my grandma in the hospital where my ex-friend just so happened to be a nurse. (I had gone to dinner with my parents before and I had a margarita so I was slightly tipsy).
Anyways, we talked and chatted for a bit. It was awkward, but it felt good. To not bring up history, but live in the now.
So, this was a good book. Started slow at first, but I was interested in the story.
Hannah Harrington is one of my favorite pastime authors.
High-school is even more fragile period for kids than middle school was because that is when you are starting to discover yourself. Well, I can’t say that happened to everyone, but it did to me. I stopped hanging around my old friends because they didn’t understand why I was acting differently all of the sudden. But kids soon forget you and you find other friends who appreciate you for with all of your flaws and virtues.
I am not perfect. I’ve done some awful things to people but like Chelsea said- you need to cut yourself some slack and before asking for forgiveness you should forgive yourself first. You need to stop hating your freckles, crooked teeth, small breasts or whatever troubles you and just embrace it because that is all you, and you are unique!
Wow, after reading this review I see it’s in fact NOT a review but just me rambling. So sorry for that. This book is definitely worth the time and I would recommend it to everyone.
I loved Saving June, but I must admit that it did take me a while to warm up to it. However, this wasn’t the case at all with Speechless. As soon as I started reading, I was thrown straight into the story. From beginning to end, Speechless had me in a page flipping frenzy; I couldn’t read fast enough.
Chelsea is your stereotypical popular girl, who loves the limelight – but then one night she goes too far. I won’t go into details but because of Chelsea’s love for gossip, secrets and being the centre of attention, all of a sudden, she’s been ditched by the popular crowd and even ridiculed by her “so called” friends. In the beginning, I didn’t like Chelsea but as the story progresses, and she starts to become a better person, the girl she once was, I began to really care for her. The secondary characters are what really make the story and whilst they are all amazing I especially loved Sam, Asha, and even though they weren't mentioned nearly as much as I would have liked, Noah and Andy.
Hannah has done it yet again! Gut wrenching, honest and real with the perfect amount of romance, Speechless left me feeling content and full of hope.
P.S - I think it’s really important that before you read Speechless, you remind yourself that this isn’t Saving June, it’s a completely different story but still an amazing one. It’s easy to compare and expect similar things from a certain book after being blown away from an author’s previous work. I’ve done it myself and the result usually ends in a disappointed reader. It’s not the books fault; it’s just that the reader has set unbeatable expectations. If you open up your mind and accept this, I have no doubt that you’ll love Speechless.
Super sweet romance.
This is not the first book I’ve read by Hannah Harrington and it certainly wont be the last. I’m pretty sure I’ve fallen in love with her work. Her first book Saving June? Loved it. Her second book Speechless? In love with it! Speechless is about a girl named Chelsea who is a sophomore in high school and she loves to leak secrets. One day though she leaks the wrong secret and one of her class mates almost dies. This changes Chelsea’s life forever.
I was a little afraid to pick this book up when I got it because I thought it might be a little depressing and I’m definitely not in the mood for something depressing, but it wasn’t at all which I was very relieved about. To start off I had a little bit of a hard time sympathizing for Chelsea when her life went down the drain because I know girls like her and I hate all of them. But there are some things that are different about her and what she did which made me like her in the end.
One of the reasons I really enjoyed this book was that it was so real. The reason I say that is because things like what happened in this book happen all over the world everyday and some people don’t even realize how horrible it is. People who read this book will be given a new light on the certain situation in the book and it will probably open their eyes to things around them. It definitely has for me.
The other thing I loved is how well Harrington integrates love and friendship with this problem in the book. It really is great that she can do that so well because without it the book would have been boring. With the love and the friendship there’s parts in the book when your laughing or your just thinking “awe” pretty great right?
Sam… can we just talk about Sam please? I can’t really tell you who he is because it will giveaway major spoilers but let me tell you he is the best book guy I’ve met so far and I so want a guy like Sam for myself! He has so many good qualities. Like he’s a nerd but a skater boy great mix. He can cook and he’s pretty sweet and caring too! Now don’t we all need someone like that in our life? I think so.
In the end I give this book a solid 5 out of 5 stars. I’ll totally being thinking about this for years to come especially every time I see a book by Hannah Harrington I’ll always pick her books up because they’ll bring me back to the days I was reading Speechless
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..."
Chelsea has had the biggest mouth in her grade since she can remember. Any news she got, she spread it. Which is the reason her best friend is the most popular girl in school. But then one night something happens and Chelsea is scared into silence. Because she did the one thing that no one else would do.... She was brave.
I can absolutely relate to this book because being only 23 I still remember being in high school and how everyone acted. I can truly say it was portrayed as a modern day high school. For this reason, I LOVED the characters. They were easy for me to connect with and I understood they were acting that way because of immaturity.
As for the romance in this novel, it kind of unexpected for me. I knew it to be a contemporary romance and that eventually she would fall for someone, but I honestly thought it would be someone else. It was actually a bit of a surprise when the secret came out. It was quite refreshing to have it be them.
Speechless is a tale of growth, friendship, and love. It will leave you thinking about the bigger issue it covers long after you turn the last page.
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.)