Hannah (The Irish Banana Review)'s Reviews > Speechless

Speechless by Hannah Harrington
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Sep 04, 12

bookshelves: favorite-ya
Read in September, 2012

Rarely has a book affected me as much as Speechless by Hannah Harrington. This book is heart breaking, poignant, and culturally relevant; it took aim at my heart and the arrow sailed straight through. I cried, I cheered, and at the end I had that deep satisfaction of reading a great novel.

When Chelsea tells the secret of a fellow classmate at a party, things quickly take a turn for the worse. In the aftermath, she reads an article where someone takes a vow of silence and decides to adopt this approach for herself. It was fascinating to read people’s reactions to her vow—everything from contempt to befuddlement. Her teachers especially seemed the most perplexed, and one class mate sexually harasses her.

This is really a novel about a girl becoming a young woman and understanding that words hurt and have consequences. Watching Chelsea’s evolution as a character was such an absolute joy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a character transformation so complete and so genuine. Harrington has a gripping way of writing that drew me in from page 1.

When I started reading Speechless, I didn’t expect to find a book that would move me so much. It’s a fast read, which will hopefully appeal to a younger audience that can’t always appreciate the value of a 400 page novel. There are many lessons to be learned here from bullying to gossiping to taking responsibility for your actions. This is a novel I would enthusiastically pass on to teenagers and adults.
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