Amanda's Reviews > Speechless

Speechless by Hannah Harrington
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Speechless is the second novel by author Hannah Harrington. Sixteen year old Chelsea Knot lives in Michigan. It’s NYE and Chelsea is at the party of her best friend and resident mean girl, Kristen. While at the party, Chelsea discovers something about a fell Grand Lake High student and in her attempt to tell Kristen, she shares the secret with almost the entire party leading to horrible consequences. After speaking up in attempt to make up for her outburst, Chelsea decides to take a vow of silence. That doesn’t mean she’s safe from her former friends, she has to endure bullying while also making new friends with people she’d never thought would forgive her.

I loved Hannah’s debut novel, Saving June (my review), but I have to say that I connected with Speechless a lot more and it’s one of my favourite books of 2012.

When we’re introduced to Chelsea she’s not a very nice girl. She loves gossip, whether it’s about celebrities or her friends, and she loves sharing that gossip even more, never stopping to think about who she might hurt. She’s been friends with the most popular girl in school, Kristen, for two years, but it’s a friendship that Chelsea has to work at. She’s always worried that one day Kristen will decide she’s not cool enough and she’s constantly doing and saying things just to fit in. She’s also really judgemental, particularly of her fellow female classmates, and her gossipy ways felt very immature. Some people might find Chelsea off-putting but the pay off is in getting to know her and how she deals with not talking and by the end of the book I was her biggest fan.

I was happy when she stopped wanting to win back her former friends because they were a bunch of racist, homophobic bullies and they were bringing her down and encouraging her mean-girl behaviour. In contrast there were some awesome kids at Chelsea’s school, namely Sam and Asha. Sam was such a sweet guy, I loved their interactions and was really proud of him for treating Chelsea decently, despite his anger at what she’d done. Watching their friendship turn into something more was one of my favourite aspects of this book and I was pleased that it wasn’t ever rushed or forced. And Asha has to be one of my favourite supporting characters, ever. She was so friendly and helpful to Chelsea, even I want her as a friend! I kept waiting for that stereotypical plot point when she too would get hurt by Chelsea but it never came and I applaud Hannah for not going down that road and making drama out of nothing. Instead we’re treated to two girls, each in need of a friend, finding someone to hang out with and learn from.

I can’t talk about Sam and Asha without mentioning their place of work, Rosie’s Diner. If I had to make a list of places in books I want to visit, Rosie’s would be up the top of that list. I just know that owner, Dex, would be able to make me a plate of delicious vegan food, and maybe he’d give me a job so I could sing and dance along with them while they’re going about their day. And while we’re talking about food, Chelsea’s mum cooks organic and they eat tofu a lot - vegans and veggos will enjoy that reference as well as Asha’s suggestion of veggie burgers.

The story was peppered with pop cultural references, including lots of bands, books and movies and the dialogue felt very realistic, Chelsea and the gang sounded like actual teens and I loved her vocab (including words like vom, bloops etc.)

While this book is a lot of fun it also takes a good look at some serious topics like bullying, homophobia and to a lesser extent, racism. I think all of these topics were handled well and this would be a great book for teens to read, hopefully giving them an idea of how not to act regarding these subjects and hopefully encouraging them to think about how they treat the people around them.

Speechless is a beautifully written story about high school, bullying, first loves and friendship, with a bittersweet yet hopeful ending that made me cry. I found I was unable to put it down, sneakily reading a page or two at any given opportunity. I know it will be a big hit with fans of Hannah’s writing as well as contemporary fans and YA readers in general.

Thank you to the wonderful people at Harlequin Teen Australia for my review copy.
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Quotes Amanda Liked

Hannah Harrington
“Hate is... It's too easy. Love. Love takes courage.”
Hannah Harrington, Speechless

Hannah Harrington
“But even though I know my flaws are many (many many many), and there are always ways I could be better, and I should never stop working for that—I also need to give myself a break. I can cut myself some slack sometimes. Because I’m a work in progress. Because nobody is perfect. At least I acknowledge the mistakes I’ve made, and am making. At least I’m trying. That means something, doesn’t it?
And just because I have room for improvement doesn’t mean I’m worthless, or that I have nothing to offer to, like, the world.”
Hannah Harrington, Speechless

Reading Progress

08/12/2012 page 62
23.0% "They're eating tofurkey - love it!"
08/12/2012 page 129
48.0% "This is SO good. I just want to keep reading and when I'm not reading I'm thinking about the characters and where I left them" 1 comment
01/31/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Magan (Rather Be Reading) I'm so, so glad you enjoyed it! I did too! :)

Cass -  Words on Paper Ngah! My copy is on its way. :DD I really need to fit more contemp YA in my reading regime. It's awesome that Harrington's *latest* (Hannah does a hair flick, in my head) book has been so well received. <3

message 3: by Jenna (new) - added it

Jenna Yay! I'm so glad you liked this. I was already keen to read it but your good opinion makes me want to read it even more.

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