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Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself.

272 pages, Paperback

First published August 28, 2012

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About the author

Hannah Harrington

6 books834 followers
I don't like Pina Coladas, but I do enjoy getting caught in the rain.

Oh, and I'm a YA author! My first novel, SAVING JUNE, was published by Harlequin Teen in 2011, and my second, SPEECHLESS, will be released on August 28th, 2012!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,413 reviews
319 reviews1,885 followers
February 9, 2013
**2/9/13 - raised rating from four stars to five, because this was perfect and I honestly couldn't care less about the few negatives mentioned below, because I still think about this book to this day, and if I were to ever reread a book soon, it'd undoubtedly be this one.

"Hate is... it's too easy," he says. "Love. Love takes courage."

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.)
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.2k followers
January 9, 2013
Some novels are debatable in their quality. Sometimes a novel can be like junkfood, but completely satisfying. Other novels are clearly made of better stuff though less able to hold the simpler demographic. Speechless has the happy coincidence of being made of better stuff, but clearly satisfying on a simpler level.

Throughout my entire life, my father has had one reoccuring expression. This doesn’t include his, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right” speech which I’ve heard a thousand times and, YES, DAD. YOU’RE RIGHT. But his other thing that he says to me all the time in the hopes that I’ll eventually listen: “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. Use them in that ratio, girl!”

Now that one I’ve never paid much attention to but I recognize the value in it. However, Chelsea Knot really gets it. One day her gossipy, thoughtless ways deeply and negatively impact another human being and she takes responsibility for it in a story that is worth telling and worth reading. She decides on a vow of silence as punitive response and in doing so learns a valuable lesson about life, friendship and love.

Let me just say, firstly, that this novel was very well written. Harrington clearly has a grasp on raw and emotive translations of concepts and she presents them in such a way that they feel natural and simple. I don’t like “Issue” books. Bullying, drugs and sex books that are built around hot topic issues and become something akin to those cheap and nasty 80′s PSAs about sharing and caring. Nobody wants to be symbolically slapped in the face with moralizing and hand-wringing. Especially when it’s stuff we all technically know.


Speechless clearly addresses the issue of bullying, but first it addresses the issue of being a novel with a compelling cast of characters, a great story and a complicated moral playground – something infinitely more interesting.

Chelsea is a great character. She’s charismatic, interesting and is given lots of room to grow and change throughout the novel. But it’s her decision to go speechless, not speaking at all for the forseeable future, that really sets her apart and distinguishes her from being an ordinary teenage girl. Her gossiping and thoughtless ways land someone in the hospital and she faces a huge decision – face social pariah by turning in the culprits, or ignore her culpability and keep being a Teen Queen.

Chelsea ultimately chooses pariah and takes a vow of silence in the hopes that her big mouth won’t ever hurt another person the way it hurt Noah – but the fallout is harder and more difficult than even she imagined. Faced with finding a new way of life, new friends and a new Chelsea – Speechless shows her journey as she does all three.

Sam and Asha, Chelsea’s new and unlikely friends carry the story alongside Chelsea’s hilarious and incisive inner-monologuing and her many amusing attempts to communicate without using words. Sam and Chelsea’s burgeoning romance is made sweeter by the extra roadblocks to communication as he learns who she is by her actions and not her words.

This was seriously just a feel good book that occasionally had me feeling a little teary. Very well written, very thoughtful and full of lovely, endearing characters!
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
839 reviews3,759 followers
February 15, 2021

Reading Speechless, I realize how much Please Ignore Vera Dietz affected me. If I'm completely honest, Chelsea's story would probably have earned a 4 if I had read it any other day, any other week, after any other book.

What can I do, though? I am human, and no matter how amazing the character development was (beginning Chelsea was kind of a slut-shamer and really judgmental, but she EVOLVES, woot!), no matter how much I appreciated what Hannah Harrington was trying to say - how well she tackled the issues at hand (gossiping, bullying, expressing yourself, standing up for what you think is right) - it remains that I didn't fall in love with this story. I could have, perhaps I would have, but A.S. King made me feel so much that everything comes with an undercurrent of bleakness now.

Objectively, I did like Speechless. Subjectively, I never felt truly immersed or connected - rarely, at least. I enjoyed following the characters but they failed in their attempt to make me believe in them, and if I cared, it was always from a distance. Is it because of the writing? Is it me? I have no idea. A little of both, certainly.

As it is, my disappointment lies in the fact that I found the story lacking depth - I didn't feel.

So, yeah, I had two options : rate it as it feels right to me today, or try to imagine what opinion I might have had if I had read it at another moment. The thing is, I don't do extrapolating - it doesn't seem fair to me, because I have no way of knowing if my hunches would be accurate.

To sum-up, go read real reviews, because I may not be trustworthy on this^^. Sorry guys for this crappy review useless rambling.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
January 26, 2016

Running my mouth has hurt enough people already-the least I can do is shut up. Why can’t everyone see I’m doing the world a favor?

There are so many books that I admire and adore, especially when it comes to YA realistic fiction. And while I can’t say they all make lasting marks on my heart, they do get under my skin. I’m starting to read so many in this genre that I am beginning to get pickier, look deeper, see what I crave-It’s not simply, oh, this is realistic fiction, now. It’s-Oh, well, this worked for me here, so let’s find something even better. And that’s exactly where this book landed, for me: I found a niche last year that gripped deep into my soul, and I’ve yet to find many wins for it. My absolute favorite book last year was Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers, and literally nothing has compared since. And while this was a super close second…it just didn’t hold a candle to my wonderfully depraved, over-the-top, and beautiful boy holding favorite of 2015.

I can’t believe this is my life now. Spending lunch in the library. Doing homework. Ahead of time. Homework I cannot even understand. Oh, parabolas, why must your formulas elude me so?

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Which isn’t this book’s fault-It was a delightful take on one of my now favorite type of stories ever. But, for me, when the last page turned….I was fine. I didn’t need more, I didn’t wonder what happened next, it was just over for me. And that’s probably due to the fact that this wasn’t as dark as I’d have hoped. And yes, I was told this was lighter on the bullying front, but I do tend to like a little more vigor behind the former-best-friends trope. And all I really got was a mild confrontation or two where feelings were hurt…and not much else.

Maybe some bridges are better left burned.

I expected the girls to be vicious, cruel, unrelenting…and they were, to an extent. But when I was bearing down, expecting dirt and grit and something extra it just...leveled. And that’s the main reason I can’t give this more than four. While the story and boy stole my heart…the depth just wasn’t there for me.

I am trying so hard not to be that person anymore. I am trying to be the kind of person who deserves to be looked at the way Sam is looking at me now, like I’m someone worth caring about, someone worth knowing. I want to prove that the risk he’s taken in reaching out to me isn’t for nothing, but I don’t know how to do that.

 photo Tumblr_mghpna906e1rrori1o1_r1_500_zps4qplvs8w.gif

Which leads me to Sam-kind, loyal, smart, endearing, and fiercely protective, he, of course, wormed his way into my heart. In the beginning, he wasn’t a huge fan of our MC (I refuse to say Chelsea, it’s odd almost talking in third person without it being funny lol), but he never treated her with anything other than respect. And this is a favorite of mine-When the male doesn’t like the MC because of some past misdeed done to them or someone they love (COUGH SOME GIRLS ARE COUGH MY HEART). He begins to see she’s a good person, she has a good heart…she just can’t shut her mouth to save her life when it comes to gossip.

You can be surrounded by people and still be lonely. You can be the most popular person in school, envied by every girl and wanted by every boy, and still feel completely worthless. The world can be laid at your feet and you can still not know what you want from it.

And that’s my other favorite part about this story-He fell for her mind, her actions, her smile…not her mouth, not pretty words, and not her declarations of how she did no wrong. I feel this put a nice, new twist on something that has been done before, and it made it all the more sweeter when the popular-but nerdy-Sam finally fell for the gossiper trying to set things right after hurting someone.

He faces me, my Nelly dog in his hands. Oh, God. That’s embarrassing.
“I met your friend,” he says. He cups the back of Nelly’s neck and bobs her droopy head up and down. “Arf, arf.”
“I think she likes you.”
“Well, we’ve been bonding.”
I let out a fake gasp. “Uh-oh. Does this mean I have some competition?”
“She’s cute, but I don’t think so. There’s only one girl for me,” he says. His smile is like floodlights, lighting up everything.

^^See, this is why I might have given a five (he’s so cute-it’s always a boy for me, lol) if it wasn’t for the lack of grit!!!^^

So, yeah. Other people did the evil ex-best friends work and there wasn’t as much..hmm..darkness as I’d have liked, but this was a great story that really satisfied my inner worry that I’d never find another book like my beloved SGA from 2015-and it was funny! I loved her voice, she really cracked me up. And while I wish I was a little more satisfied, I was content in the fact that it was fun, sweet, and I met yet another wonderful loyal boy. I’m starting to find all these sweet ‘loyal’ guys lately…and I’m really loving it. It’s fresh, it’s not done correctly very often and I’m going to savor this win streak of sweet boys as long as I can find it. ♥ ♥ ♥

Maybe when it comes down to it, what we’re interested in doesn’t mean so much-it’s who you are that ties people together.

(Inadvertent) Christmas gift from the lovely Jen!! love ya lots! ♥ ♥ ♥

For more of my reviews, please visit:


Another realistic fiction win. While there was quite a bit left to be to desired (One of my absolute favorite books last year was Some Girls Are, so this had a lot to be compared to), I still found that it was exactly the type of book I love to read. It's so rare that you find an excellent book centered around the new outcast of a once social queen-At least for me it is-and I ate this shit up. The friends turning against her, the school...it just hit all the right places.

And then, of course, Sam!!! Her knight in shining armor. Seriously. I am in SUCH a win streak. Still waiting on my first realistic fiction five star of the year, though.

Review to come!
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,364 followers
August 15, 2012
Can you imagine not speaking for days? Weeks? I have a hard time shutting up for a few hours. Chelsea, she gives a whole new meaning to the silent treatment when she decide to take a vow of silence after her big mouth basically ruins her life - or at least that's what she thinks.

After reading Saving June and getting to see how great an author Hannah is, I was highly anticipating her second novel, Speechless. Although not quite as emotionally intense as Saving June, it's a truly wonderful novel that looks into the highs and lows of high school social statuses, giving a great message to those who think everything is better on top of the ladder. Our lovely Chelsea feels immense guilt for spreading a secret that almost costs someone their life. I completely despised Chelsea at first. Being best friends with the most popular, stuck up girl in school gave her a surreal sense of self importance, a judgmental attitude, and an illusion of friendship that is saddening. Fortunately, Hannah is wonderful at creating characters who grow and mature throughout the story, with real in-depth personalities, which was no exception with Chelsea. She soon realizes that what she had, wasn't friendship; she begins to reevaluate herself, trying to find who she truly is, what's really important, and all the while not uttering a word.

Luckily, not everyone is blaming Chelsea, and she's making some new friends who become excellent secondary roles in the book. Unique and full of quirks, we get flawed, realistic characters who absolutely radiate with life. Even the bullies have genuine character presence. The romance is slow and sweet; there's a perfect balance of camaraderie and flirting with a guy who is understanding, kind, and completely worth it.

At first I did find the vow of silence a tiny bit unrealistic. How often in a conversation do you utter words out of habitual reflex - a simple "yeah" or "Uhuh"? Chelsea never seems to have a lot of trouble holding back. We do see her struggles when she's being verbally attacked, her not being able to defend herself or retaliate is undoubtedly frustrating, but I was expecting to have a stronger sense of the difficulties of this utter silence at all times. There is no way I could have stuck with it in her situation, being bullied, insulted, and ridiculed while vowing not to speak has to be insufferable and I loved being inside Chelsea's mind during these confrontations. I did enjoy the ending, though I can't help but feel it was a bit too... perfect. I would have liked to see more of the aftermath and long term consequences, which would have helped lessen the idealism of the story's ending, and give a stronger closure.

Conveying a sound message for adults as well as teens, Speechless touches on several social topics that a lot of people can relate to, and learn from. If you're already a fan of this author you won't be disappointed, and if this is your first venture in her works, I recommend you add Saving June to keep this one company on your shelf!

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Dija.
413 reviews230 followers
September 10, 2012
I can't believe someone as good as you exists. I can't believe you even want to be around me. I can't believe how lucky I am when just weeks ago I thought my life was over.

4.6/5 stars

Speechless is cheesy, sappy, and predictable, yet an absolute treasure regardless. Unlike most realistic YA novels out there, Chelsea's story is full of hope rather than angst.

Saving June had greater emotional impact, but in a lot of ways, I loved Speechless more. The subject matter in Saving June has been addressed a thousand times in as many novels, but the idea behind Speechless is unique and more memorable. I'm really talkative too and sometimes I say things I regret later, so I could relate to Chelsea's situation on a much more personal level than I could Saving June.

Speechless is a gentle, beautiful story. I loved nearly every single character in the book (especially Sam! *dreamy sigh*) and felt so proud of the young woman Chelsea developed into by the end as compared the spoiled brat she was at the beginning.
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's perfect. At least I acknowledge the mistakes I've made, and am making. At least I'm trying. That means something, doesn't it?

I think all teens, and even adults, should read this. Speechless is definitely one of the most gorgeous message books I've read in a while. Strongly recommended!

For more reviews, visit my blog:
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,891 followers
August 29, 2012
A popular girl, queen bee’s best friend, in fact, but one that never felt like she really belonged, commits an unforgivable offense against the in-crowd and becomes a social outcast overnight. Left without other options and tired of being the target of abuse, she starts spending time with the weird girl and her group of friends and, after a lot of personal growth and quite a few enlightening moments, realizes there’s more to life than malls and glitter.

Yes, that is a description of at least a hundred YA contemporary books. Yes, Speechless is one of them. Yes, I usually stay as far away from them as possible, and I intend to keep doing that in the future. But this is Hannah Harrington, you know? And despite all my fears and reluctance, she truly made it work.

That’s not to say that I didn’t struggle at the beginning. The mean girls theme is one of my deal-breakers – those things I just can’t force myself to read about, and that’s what the beginning of Speechless is all about. It didn’t help that Chelsea, the main character, was constantly trying to prove herself to them. Such things always leave a bad taste in my mouth. I still remember Pink by Lili Wilkinson and the exact moment I realized that her main character, Ava, reached the point of no redemption. All those Very Important Life Lessons that came after couldn’t save her in my eyes. When you’re done, you’re done.

I loved that, loved that I mattered, that people were jealous. I loved turning heads. It didn’t matter that most of them were looking at Kristen; I was in their line of vision, and that totally counted for something. Being on the radar at all. It made me more than average. It was everything to me.

Fortunately, Chelsea realized the magnitude of her mistakes just before reaching that point. I was angry with her, but Harrington’s timing was superb, and that’s what saved the book for me. She turned things around at the very last acceptable moment, and she exposed her main character to abuse, which made me feel sorry for her first, and gave me a chance to genuinely like her later.

Oddly enough, romance was once again my favorite part. A slowly developed attraction between a normal-looking boy (no heart-stopping gorgeousness here) and a very flawed girl was simply too realistic and heartwarming to ignore. I loved how Sam changed in Chelsea’s eyes. At first, she saw nothing special about him, apart from the fact that he was being nice to her when he had every reason not to be, but after some time together she started seeing him differently, until suddenly nothing about him felt ordinary anymore. That’s the kind of love I want to read about – just people falling in love with other people. We can’t all fall for, or even appreciate, perfection.

… I was never happy before, and I never even realized it. You can be surrounded by people and still be lonely. You can be the most popular person in school, envied by every girl and wanted by every boy, and still feel completely worthless. The world can be laid at your feet, and you can still not know what you want from it.

In the end, I feel it’s necessary to point out that Speechless is nothing like Saving June. On the one hand, it’s a good thing. Diversity is always good and it would be a disaster if a young author like Hannah Harrington fell into a repetitive pattern. On the other hand, if you’re expecting to recreate the emotions Saving June left you with, you might end up just a little bit disappointed. Separate these two books in your mind and then go out to grab a copy of Speechless. I doubt you’ll regret it.
Profile Image for Basuhi.
32 reviews243 followers
August 5, 2013
3.5 Stars.

“Hate is…it’s too easy,” he says.
“Love. Love takes courage.”

While reading this book, one thought kept gnawing at me.
Can I keep up silence like Chelsea?
I don't plan to, of course...but just how long can I be silent ?
I tried.
And, trust me, it's really difficult.
After a while if you intend to talk but are withholding for some reason, your jaw actually starts to ache. Ache from silence.
Ironic, isn't it ?

I need to say something, sing under my breath, keep murmuring, like that.
Like maybe I can be silent if I'm in some bad mood or if I don't really know/like the other person in front of me. But if I know them, I'll just babble something, anything because one thing I hate more than mindless chirping is an awkward silence. It's just so...awkward. Like you're doing something the wrong way and the whole world realizes except you.

Enough about me.

This book.

I think I'll get it out point wise. For I don't really have anything essay-like to say.

- Now, this book was different and in my review/rating I believe I must always acknowledge that.
Because there are two types of different,
The Different in a good way ( like this one).
And the different in a not-so good way.

But I believe that different can never be bad. Because if someone dares to write different, it may not resonate with all but that never means it's bad, it's just that we aren't accustoming to it in the desired way. And not-so good describes just that.

( Why do I always end up trying to feed my illogical philosophy..why ?)

So back to this book, it's different in how it was executed to how the protagonist took things in.
I don't know if I loved her but I must say that her PoV was refreshing.

- There were elements of real life and a slow friendship, which is one of the finer points of every romance, in my opinion.
I loved them together, the effortlessness of how they fit despite the circumstances. It wasn't entirely reality-oriented but it was adorable is what I mean.

- The way things were handled. Without all the pamper and shit. Blunt. That's the way I like it.

- The theme intrigued me. And I knew that at some point of time she'd have to break her vow. And the curiosity propelled me forward sans the expectations.
That by itself is a large part of how and why I ended up loving it even though I didn't like it much for the first 60% of the book.

- And the ending was, in a word

Umm..I don't know why I even write this review, it's not like I have said anything distinctive.
But well, there you go.
Profile Image for Rose.
1,872 reviews1,055 followers
July 30, 2012
Initial Thoughts: I could say something completely cliche like "Speechless" left me speechless, but that's rather inaccurate and couldn't be further from the truth. Hannah Harrington's novel made me want to climb on rooftops and declare its awesomeness. Wonderfully constructed characters in a beautifully written novel - and it manages to be funny in spurts while tackling some very tough issues.

One of the best reads in YA I've read this year.

Full Review: "Speechless" is Hannah Harrington's second novel and the first that I've had the opportunity to read from her. It's one of those novels that completely blew me away in the spectrum of YA contemporary fiction, because it not only tackles a very tough subject with sensitivity and resolve, but also manages to be funny and have characters that genuinely leap from the page and come into their own as the novel progresses.

The story revolves around a high school student named Chelsea Knot, who would be aptly considered an "it" girl at her school - very popular, very chatty, engaged in the latest juicy gossip. Her gift of gab (or curse as one might put it) has enabled her to climb to the top of the social ladder. I'll admit that I wasn't endeared to Chelsea because of how she uses her gossip to pull strings and manipulate others into doing what she wants.

But goodness does she get a reality check. At a party, Chelsea's observance and subsequent spilling of details leads to a horrible event which ends up with one in the hospital, and two football players in the center of evens. Chelsea's devastated, and ultimately, she ends up doing the right thing by telling the truth of the event, but she becomes alienated by others in two measures - being the causation of the incident, and ultimately "ratting out" those that were directly responsible for it. So she's ostracized and put into a position where no one likes her at school or are at least cautious about her in the community. And her actions have consequences that reach far beyond and within her circles.

Believing fully that her telling ways were the fault of things, Chelsea takes a vow of silence, and moves to change herself in the process. She befriends some unlikely people (Sam and Asha as per example) who wouldn't have walked in her social circles prior to her vow of silence, and is alienated by people whom she used to be associated with, even called her best friend at one point. The characters are very well crafted, and I felt they were easy to identify with - it's easy to connect with their grief, humor, and overall interactions with each other. Even Chelsea, who does have her noted flaws, becomes someone that the reader can sympathize with as they watch her transformation in her vow of silence. I'm in awe of how well Harrington treats her grief, guilt, and gradual coming to terms and moving forward.

I couldn't put this book down when I read it and loved every moment. I would highly recommend this novel for those who like YA contemporary coming of age stories, with elements of romance, humor, a wonderful look into its tough subject matter and GLBT issues. It's a beautifully written work and I would no doubt look into Harrington's other works.

Overall score: 5/5

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Harlequin/HarlequinTeen.
Profile Image for Ash Wednesday.
441 reviews524 followers
December 4, 2013
“I lost everything and she gets to run for fucking Snow Princess. It’s such bullshit. High school, the world. All of it.”

This book. This brilliant little book.

I really should just put in a corny one-liner how its brilliance has rendered me speechless and call it a day.

A story about a girl who took a vow of silence after divulging one too many secrets to one too many wrong people, leading to a horrible incident that nearly cost a boy's life... all for the sake of that high school ambrosia that is popularity. In a moment of clarity, Chelsea Knott made a choice that made her social stock plummet. From being the best friend of the most popular girl in school to being the entire student body's favorite abuse punching bag. Having been left to suffer the  consequences of her choice in her silence, Chelsea forges the unlikeliest of friendships and finds the true meaning of the word.


(By the way, the Tom Cruise Couch jumping incident figures somewhere in the story and... oh my god, knowing that, why are you even still reading this and not this book?!)

In lesser hands, this could easily have been an after school special on bullying and . A soapbox moment wouldn't have been out of place in a high school setting with all its illogical hierarchy and twisted teenage philosophy. The mood was right, the characters were all ripe for the picking to move you.

It could've taken the easier route of overused gimmickry, power dialogues and show me the money lines.

But it doesn't.

You don't get manipulated by sentiments over inanimate objects to cry. Instead it moves you by facing a person's capacity to be cruel just because they can and another's capacity to forgive just because they can. Of finding happiness when and where you least expect it and, just to top off my inexplicable love of obscure cliches, finding your voice in the midst of all the cafeteria noise. In the most restrained, honest, age-appropriate manner.
You can be surrounded by people and still be lonely. You can be the most popular person in school, envied by every girl and wanted by every boy, and still feel completely worthless. The world can be laid at your feet and you can still not know what you want from it.

Hannah Harrington made it look so easy you wonder why books like these are so hard to come by.

Outside the rather caricature depiction of the teachers and the high school itself and a few cliches that I wasn't too thrilled but not entirely bothered by (i.e. the high school dance and the inline skating), I have very little to complain about. I loved all the characters: Awesome Asha of the Asymptotes and Sam of the Crooked Smiles and Tuna Melt (and dorky glasses! Hnngggg!). Andy's story about Noah gave me scratchy throat number one and Chelsea's parents gave me scratchy throat number two. Chelsea's reason for choosing to do what she did for Noah? Scratchy throat and sniffles.

If you like seeing growth in your characters at a believable pace and manner, you cannot go wrong with Chelsea Knott. I liked that despite her misguided teen logic in the beginning, you know that there's bones in that girl. Her wit and unique opinion on everything was endearing without trying. I liked how she gradually won me over page by page. She's not a shallow teenage nightmare, she's just starting to learn the difference between knowing the path and walking the path (yes, I just went Morpheus all over that).
“It’s like what those cheesy action-movie heroes 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.”

Despite the heaviness of the subject, it was a pretty easy and enjoyable read. The depths and brilliance of which could just be taken at face value or be better appreciated by recognizing that if you allow it, life can be an endless John Hughes film. If we allow it, we can all still be in high school, trapped and trying to find a way out of it by finally growing up. The mean girls who talk sh*t behind your back and the sleazeballs who try to take advantage of you... they just get meaner and sleazier. Meanwhile we do what we can to survive next period, either by not speaking, paying attention to life's lessons or ignoring and talking over the teachers while we fumble around to find an escape.
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 that you don't want to play with them anymore, because you're growing up and you'e moved on, and in your heart you know it's time to make room for other things.

And this book, this brilliant little book, with the small, uncomplicated silence of its narrator may just be the exit strategy we've all been looking for.
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,126 reviews2,162 followers
August 13, 2012
Rating: 4.5 Stars

In all honesty, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I dove into Speechless. I picked it up for one reason and one reason alone – Hannah Harrington had written it. I knew, from the moment I requested it, that I would love it, but I never expected just how much. Harrington has a habit of surpassing even my wildest expectations – she did it with Saving June and she constantly does it again, every time I re-read her debut novel. Thus, while I was expecting nothing short of brilliant when I began this story, I was still awed, shocked, and, yes, speechless as I read the remarkable and richly woven new tale that she had created.

Speechless is one of those few novels that needs no introduction, no synopsis, and no plot summary to come before it. It is a story that demands to be delved into blind-folded and will be all the more appreciated for that, hence the reason I refuse to rob you all of the opportunity to read and love this story in all its raw beauty. In fact, all I can tell you about the plot of this story is that it revolves around Chelsea Knot. Chelsea is a girl we all know – she’s that girl in high school who knew all the latest gossip and didn’t hesitate to spread it around. Yet, when one tiny rumor has deadly repercussions, Chelsea decides that it would be far more prudent of her to be silent than blab her big mouth, so she takes a vow of silence.

While Speechless is, in many ways, Chelsea’s journey of silence, it is never portrayed thus. Admit it – when you think of a vow of silence, you think of monks in Tibet remaining silent to become closer to God or to gain higher spiritual truths, don’t you? Yet, Harrington never portrays Chelsea in this light and maintains that she is simply a teenage girl trying to find her way in the labyrinth of life. Chelsea isn’t perfect for taking a vow of silence – if anything, her faults are constantly thrown in her face, her failures never leave her, and she is never able to forget about the guilt she carries; but all these qualities only make Chelsea all the more real and tangible to the reader. Yes, Chelsea is a dangerously flawed and unlikable character, but that is exactly why I love Harrington so much – she has a talent of taking seemingly terrible people and showing us their more vulnerable, better, and kinder side. Each and every one of her characters contains an immense amount of depth and I loved reading Chelsea’s narration of this tale – it is brutally honest, raw, and truly eye-opening.

I have to admit that Saving June still remains to be my favorite Harrington novel, but Speechless is an impeccable sophomore novel regardless. It is one that explores the complex hierarchy of high school, that analyzes human nature, and that reveals some of the most basic truths behind happiness. Prior to the scandalous event that forced Chelsea to take her vow of silence, she used to be one of the most popular students in school but just as quickly, she fell faar down the ladder. Nevertheless, while Speechless seems like your usual run-of-the-mill high school tale, except with a slight twist, it goes much deeper than that and explores themes such as popularity, superficiality, and what it means to be yourself and find a niche that accepts you for you. It is an integral message that deserves to be heard and Harrington conveys it in a very subtle and beautifully written manner.

Speechless also contains one of my favorite cast of characters ever. Asha, the petite Indian girl who befriends the now silent Chelsea, is exactly the type of best friend you want for yourself. Plus, she’s Indian! I feel as if authors always think diversity means Japanese, Chinese, European, or African-American characters, but it’s so rare to see other races also portrayed and I was thrilled by Asha’s appearance. In addition to Asha though, Chelsea winds up becoming very close friends with Sam who is a total sweetheart. I usually have a problem with guys who are too-good-to-be-true, but Sam has his flaws as well, even if they are harder to see. Furthermore, his romance with Chelsea developed wonderfully, starting out as a strong friendship, and I loved the fact that it never detracted from the overall story in the least. Chelsea also carries on extremely complex friendships with all the members of Rosie’s Diner, the restaurant where she eventually finds a job, and with her parents too. I was glad to see them appear and make such a marked impact on Chelsea’s life which was a nice change from the usual Missing Parent Syndrome.

Ultimately though, Speechless shines, not because of its rich characters or subtly woven messages, it shines because of what it enables the reader to take away from it. More than anything, this is a story of forgiveness – of forgiving yourself, of accepting your mistakes and moving on from them, and of realizing that everything happens in life for a reason. Speechless is more than just a novel about a girl who chose to be quiet; it’s a novel about accepting your sexuality, being brave, facing your fears, and becoming a better person. It’s about not conforming with society and in many ways, it reminded me of a teenage Scarlet Letter or silent version of “Easy A” but so much better than what you could imagine those books to be like. While I did dislike the rather stereotypical portrayal of Kristen, Chelsea’s ex-best friend who shuns her, it is a small qualm to have in a novel this wonderfully written. Hannah Harrington was already one of my favorite authors, but with Speechless, she dared to explore something entirely new and take her trademark genre to new levels, which has consequently earned her my respect. I am waiting, with bated breath really, to see what she comes up with next and am utterly confident that it will be just as spellbinding and speechless-inducing as her previous works.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

You can read this review and more on my blog, Ivy Book Bindings.
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,851 reviews847 followers
September 3, 2012

In the beginning of Speechless, Chelsea is not a likable person. She’s friends with the very popular Kristen, who is not a very good friend at all. Kristen is the type of friend that encourages you to wear something that makes you look crappy, telling you how wonderful you look, so that you don’t outshine her in any way. I had a friend like that once and it took me a while to figure it out. But for Chelsea, this is overlooked because of the benefits her “friendship” brings. She’s popular by association and for Chelsea, this is everything.

Chelsea is no saint either, she’s ruthless with gossip and secrets, breaking them out to exert her influence and to prop herself up above others. The one thing that saves Chelsea from me completely hating her in the beginning, and kept me holding out hope for a change, is her prick of conscience that motivates her to do the right thing in spite of the consequences to her.

In life sometimes it takes losing everything you think is important to realize what actually is.

Thankfully, this is exactly what happens to Chelsea.

So what is the story about? Here’s a little summary: Chelsea is at Kristen’s New Year’s Eve party and stumbles on a secret. In her drunken state, she quickly blurts out this secret to the crowd without any thought for consequences. This leads to a fellow student, Noah, being beaten, almost to the point of death. Chelsea knows who’s responsible and in a fit of conscience rats them out. The responsible parties happen to be two of the most popular jocks in school, and one just happens to be Kristen’s boyfriend. Chelsea is immediately ejected from the “in-crowd” and becomes the subject of bullying and ridicule headed by her once best-friend, Kristen. Chelsea feels horrible for what’s happened and decides because it’s her big mouth that got her into trouble she’s going to “shut-it,” by taking a vow of silence.

As I said in the outset, Chelsea is not a likable character. It takes a while for her to truly get the error of her ways. The vow of silence really does help her focus on what went wrong. She has to listen, for a change, to others instead of spouting her mouth off. Realization also comes from the undeserved kindness of others: Sam, Noah’s best friend who has no reason he should be nice, Asha the little positive wonder and truly good friend, and even Andy in the end. Chelsea sees what being an actual good person is like and starts to appreciate the difference and how she was so lacking.

Sam is right—Asha doesn’t know how to be mean. When she says something, she means exactly what she says. She isn’t like Kristen, where cutting criticisms are disguised as compliments, where everything has a double meaning. It’s refreshing to be around someone I can take at face value.*

Now everyone knows that I need a little romance in my stories and Speechless does not disappoint. While it’s not the main focus here, it’s very real and super-sweet. It’s the kind where you don’t notice someone until you get to know them, and then their personality makes them completely enticing.

How did it take me so long to notice how cute he is? How did I spend so much of high school not noticing him at all?*

“You okay? Your face is kind of red.” I just shrug in response. Not like I’m champing at the bit to explain that I don’t know if it’s the steam or Sam’s vaguely erotic cooking expertise causing my cheeks to feel like they’re on fire.*

I really enjoyed Speechless. It’s a story that really makes you think about the impact our words have on others and thinking before you speak. It took me a while to warm up to Chelsea, but I ended up loving and admiring her. I loved Hannah Harrington’s Saving June and while Speechless is very different, it was another great story.

Thank you to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for allowing me to read this.

*Quotes are taken from an uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,374 reviews207 followers
September 12, 2012

I knew Speechless by Hannah Harrington was coming home with me at first sight. It spoke to me. The pure white cover’s peace and quiet stood out on the shelf, but it was the feel and texture of the book that made Speechless unputdownable. My hands could not stop running and sliding over the raised letters, smooth cover, and jagged cut pages. Without saying a word, I was in love. I realize I’m a book geek, but beautiful book presentations make me shiver! :)

Have you ever said something you regret? Wish you could take back? Speechless introduces readers to Chelsea Knot, a young woman, who cannot keep a secret to save her life. Without thinking, Chelsea says something that wasn’t hers to say, shared a secret that spirals out of control, and causes such pain and hurt. Chelsea’s words were taken, interpreted, and used to inflict and cause such ugliness. Words have the power to touch, shift, and alter everything in an instant. My heart can speed up with three little words. My stomach flutters with anticipation while some words are in the air. And other words in this world can spike and boil my blood with anger faster than a match to gasoline. But the same can be said for silence. Silence possesses the power over my heart, stomach and blood as well. Words left unsaid are just as painful and powerful. Chelsea Knot decides to take a vow of silence. Words spun her world out of control, so perhaps silence will help Chelsea find her way and come to some sort of peace with her mistake.

This might sound strange, but my absolute favorite character and part of this story was Rosie’s Diner. Not necessarily the building itself—even though that held some magic too—but the love cooked up there was what made my heart melt. Inside was a place filled with warmth, camaraderie, fun, and love! Dex, Lou, Andy, Noah, Sam, and Asha all made it feel like a home. A safe world to be yourself in. The whole gang moved, worked, shared, and laughed together with such trust and openness. You can feel it! Asha’s kindness and knitting; Sam’s loyalty and mouth-watering tuna melts; and Dex and Lou’s strength and support guiding the ship—all added up to pure love and my favorite place to be in this book.

Now for my least favorite ingredient of this story…Chelsea herself. I did not despise her, but I never trusted her through and through, which to me, showcases Ms. Harrington’s skill as a writer beautifully. I loved this book, but here I am admitting my dislike for the main character! Brilliant! Chelsea was a very real, flawed young woman who lost herself in a group of “friends”. I could rant and rave about Kristen here, but I will let you meet her for yourself. Grrrr… There were times my heart reached out to Chelsea, rooted for her, and admired her strength. The goodness was there in her heart, but just when I thought I could trust her—she would search through someone’s papers or brush someone off. The trust never developed in my heart for Chelsea. But that is me all over the place! It takes a lot for me to trust someone after heartbreak and pain in life and my books.

Sam, on the other hand, was SO adorable! The boy had me swooning as soon as he walked in the room! Snoopy, skateboards, and whiteboard flirting brew up a witty, fun, touching chemistry between Chelsea and Sam that pulled an “awww” right out of me. The fact he could even consider trusting Chelsea bowled me over and made me love him even more! The geeky boy stole my heart. I will shut up now before I say too much though. ;)

Speechless is a thought provoking story filled with hope, humor and power. A story I highly recommend visiting. This book actually had me looking up a few math terms and shopping for tuna melt ingredients! :) See what Speechless says to you.

I am already looking forward to Hannah Harrington’s next world.

Profile Image for Thomas.
1,459 reviews8,561 followers
August 19, 2013
If books could reproduce - don't ask me for visuals - Speechless by Hannah Harrington would be the child of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. All three are YA, contemporary books I would love to just shove at my future students and force them to read.

Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret. She's one of those girls. If you've read any young-adult realistic fiction or if you've watched Mean Girls, you know the archetype I'm talking about. The totally selfish, totally conceited, totally all-I-care-about-is-my-popularity girl who gossips about everyone and cares about no one. In this case our protagonist Chelsea is second-in-command to her best friend and utter b-word Kristen. But when Chelsea blabs at a party and almost ends someone's life, her sheltered existence comes crashing down. She decides to take a vow of silence - but even with that, can she bring herself to forgive, to face the truth, and finally, to somehow speak up for herself?

All of the wonderful YA reviewers on Goodreads have already got this book covered, but one of its best aspects for me was Chelsea's voice. Not her literal voice, obviously, but just how real and smooth she felt as a protagonist. Harrington knew when to incorporate exaggerations (like, oh my gosh, I want to push Kristen into a pit of sharks), cursing, little bits of colloquialisms, etc. It never felt like she was recreating a teen perspective, rather, she herself was the teen perspective, through Chelsea.

While Speechless contains several subjects pertinent to high school - popularity, relationships, bullying, and more - its strongest theme was that of forgiveness. Harrington stated in an interview that she originally titled the book The Redemption of Chelsea Knot and I can completely see why. This book exemplifies that with the right people and the right mindset, you can plow through all the obstacles life puts in your way and make yourself more than just your previous mistakes.

I also loved how Harrington handled LGBTQ topics without getting preachy or pedantic. My two favorite scenes in the book both involved Chelsea interacting with either Noah or Adam, but at the same time, Harrington kept the spotlight on Chelsea, as well as her other finely-developed friends, Asha and Sam. After all, it was Chelsea's story, and she owned it.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of young-adult contemporary fiction, as well as those just searching for a refreshing read. While it's not exactly an emotional powerhouse or a book that will 100% make you reach for the tissue box, its characters and themes deliver the goods. I cannot wait to read Harrington's debut, Saving June.

*review cross-posted on my blog, the quiet voice.
Profile Image for Jasprit.
527 reviews747 followers
August 24, 2012
This book has seriously left me speechless, what I enjoyed most about going into this book was that I had no real idea what the book would be about. The main reason for picking it up was because it was by Hannah Harrington; I adored Saving June so couldn’t wait to get my hands on more of her books. I liked how the synopsis hardly gave anything away and the cover was simple yet so beautiful. I liked the fact that I had no expectations what so ever (this made me realise I should do this more often when picking up books).

Chelsea is best friends with the ever popular Kristen. Everyone wants to know Kristen, so having the merest association with her brings up ones reputation dramatically. Everyone looks up to you, but at the same time everyone is also afraid of you, they know never to get on your bad side. So when one night at Kristen’s famous New Year party Chelsea puts her foot in it. Chelsea has the reputation of being in the know of the latest gossip and for not being able to keep her mouth shut. On the night of the party she ends up seeing something never expected. Because of the shots she’d had earlier on she’s a bit slow at processing what’s she��s doing and instead of just telling Kristen in private she blurts it out in front of the entire football team. Before she knows it some of the football members get so heated up and decide to take things in their own hands. Everything’s escalated out of control because Chelsea decided to open her mouth. Chelsea feels totally responsible and decides to take a vow of silence, because everything that normally comes out of her mouth gets her into trouble any way.

One thing I’ve quickly come to realise about Hannah Harrington’s writing is she knows how to get under your skin. With Saving June there were so many parts which were raw and achy and left a huge lump in my throat. Harrington was quick to do the same with Speechless. Her writing flowed effortlessly that before I knew it I was more than half way through the book. She has a beautiful way of pulling you in and reaching out to you, so each word just plays with your emotions. Her writing also has a magnetic feel about it that it led me to form such strong connections with the characters. I wish I could go on and describe how Harrington’s words affected me but I think my explanation would fall way short.

The main character Chelsea I found I could hugely relate to, she’d found herself in such a tough situation and left totally helpless. She was an interesting character’s head to be in; having to deal with the backlash and then suddenly to come to the realisation of what kind of a person she really was. She did however surprise me with her humour; despite everything going on she was still able to see the funny side to things. However I was also sort of conflicted about her through the book, it was because of Chelsea and her big mouth that the unexpected event took place, and I understood that’s why she felt that she couldn’t talk afterwards, but at times I found it infuriating that she didn’t talk, because did she think that by not talking it would make everything okay again? But then at other times I felt for her because of all the crap she had to deal with afterwards, she didn’t once open her mouth to giving a biting comment back, it certainly would have alleviated her situation a lot more, but by not talking she made herself an easy target.

The secondary characters that emerged in this story I hugely adored, Asha, Sam and even Andy against their better judgement were there when needed. They easily showed that sometimes friendship can be found in the most unexpected places.

Speechless was such a captivating read, it’s the first book in so long that I took everywhere I went, I just couldn’t bear to put it down. It was a book where the characters displayed depth, and I ended up truly admiring each and everyone as they brought something different to the story. Harrington is another great author whose books I finally decided to pick up this year, she has truly impressed me with her books so far that I cannot wait to pick up more of her future work soon.

Thank you NetGalley and Harlequin for the opportunity to read this book.

Also thank you to Leanne for reading this with me! If you haven’t already you can check out her awesome review here

This review and more can be found on The Readers Den
Profile Image for Sarah (saz101).
192 reviews151 followers
August 14, 2012
First thoughts: I LOVE. Hannah's a truly amazing writer, and Speechless is just... Impossible not to like. The characters--especially the secondaries--are a delight, and she handles deeper, darker issues with real sensitivity and insight. I adore.

In Saving June , a story essentially about loss and grief, Hannah Harrington showed us light, hope and joy. So it comes as little surprise that her sophomore offering, Speechless, a story about a shallow, nasty mean-girl has unexpected depths, its own heartbreak, and a moving, poignant message that may just you speechless.

The Story
Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret. Hell, even if it's not a secret she revels in being the first to know and passing it on. Until now.

At a drunken party, Chelsea sees something it’s not her business to tell a soul. But she does. The next thing she knows a boy’s nearly killed, two of her friends are in jail, her best friend hates her, and she’s gone from popular, untouchable princess to loathed social pariah.

Chelsea knows her mouth got her in trouble, so her solution? Keep it closed. Taking a vow of silence, Chelsea starts to change... and begins to realise maybe she hasn’t lost so much after all.

The 101
Chelsea Knot is... difficult. Selfish, nasty, and sidekick to a mean girl who makes Regina George look like an angel, she’s difficult to like... but then she’s not. Chelsea’s not a character you can dive straight into, and connect with from the page one, but nor should she be. Harrington doesn't ease you into her characters. She doesn't compromise authenticity for likeability, rather allowing empathy to be a force that builds. And it does. Chelsea grows from a cruel, self-righteous, self-centred girl to someone more: Someone innately good, while losing none of her defining fire; someone deserving of empathy, and her own story. She grows throughout Speechless, and that growth is wonderfully rewarding as a reader

“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.”

At her lowest, though, Chelsea is never irredeemable. She makes mistakes—big, potentially life threatening ones—but makes difficult choices to right them, her vow of silence amongst these. The vow lends Speechless an introspective tone and a unique view on a number of its aspects. We see Chelsea’s growth intimately and clearly as the story progresses—even when she does not—and it allows Harrington’s marvellous secondary characters to shine.

Harrington’s characters are imperfect. They have rough edges, flaws, and foibles, and it makes them magnificent. It’s a person’s imperfections that make them perfect for telling a story, whether it be a—rightly so—angry guy named Andy, the unexpected, lovely, quirky new friend, Asha, or something more: a special, sweet, unfathomably nice boy named Sam.

“Who you love... that isn’t important. It doesn’t change who you are, or how much we love you. Nothing could change that.”

Harrington doesn’t tip-toe around the very real issues she sets out to address, and Speechless is a story as much about the evils of ignorance, bigotry and hatred as it is friendship, love and acceptance. She approaches the insidious nature of homophobia with sensitivity and bravery, questioning casual acceptance of the status quo, and examining what ‘love’ really means.

“Hate is... it’s too easy,” he says. “Love. Love takes courage.”

The Verdict:
Speechless is a tale of many things: love, hate and acceptance; the power of words, forgiveness and friendship. Harrington’s writing and insights are a joy, as are her cast of characters; their ‘AHA!’ moments resonate deeply, and fans will enjoy a brief but charming cameo from Harper and Jake, the protagonists of her superb debut, Saving June. Sweet, funny, poignant and heartbreaking, Speechless is a remarkable offering from an inimitable talent.

“I was never happy before, and I never even realized it. I know now. You can be surrounded by people and still be lonely. You can be the most popular person in school, envied by every girl and wanted by every boy, and still feel completely worthless. The world can be laid at your feet and you can still not know what you want from it.”
Profile Image for Limonessa.
300 reviews507 followers
July 25, 2012
Hannah Harrington's fans won't be disappointed by Speechless.
I'll be honest, I didn't like it as much as Saving June and that is the reason why I cannot give it 5 stars. The mean girls theme and the Mc herself gave me the impression of a slightly "less mature" book, if I make any sense. Maybe meant for a younger audience as well, even though the main theme is as heavy as the death theme in Saving June.
It might be that I am a sucker for road trips and epic soundtracks but this was just a bit "less" in so many ways. Less romance, less spunk, less (none at all to be honest) sex, less witty dialogues.
To make it short, I had a good time reading but somehow my expectations were higher, after her debut.
Definitely recommended but you might be slightly disappointed if you expected something along the lines of Saving June.
Profile Image for Janina.
214 reviews527 followers
August 20, 2012
Three and a half stars.

I very much felt like the odd one out after not enjoying Hannah Harrington's debut, Saving June, and wasn't even inclined the give the author a second try. Still, this book sounded too interesting to pass - and I am glad I gave it a chance. If anything, Speechless is insanely readable, the pages flying by in what feels like minutes instead of hours. I really enjoyed the reading experience, and would definitely encourage others to pick this book up, but still, there were some things that I felt were missing.

Actually, I had not expected to like Chelsea after reading a less favourable early review of this book. Talking without thinking and then regretting it afterwards - but mostly only because she herself had to suffer her inconsiderate actions? Hmm. Now, after finishing the book, I definitely have to say that despite her weaknesses, I enjoyed reading from Chelsea's point of view and did not resent her for her actions - although I probably should have. She is not the multi-facetted character like for example Sam from Before I Fall or Regina from Some Girls Are, but her situation is somewhat similar to theirs. Wanting to please her popular, mean girl best friend Kristen, Chelsea has carelessly destroyed numerous reputations and relationships by spreading rumours and gossip - unconcerned and uncaring about what that meant for the people in question. Now, after owning up to her actions for the very first time, admitting what she did was wrong and taking responsibility, she learns what it means to be on the receiving end of rumours, people whispering behind your back, even being attacked and harrassed by people you believed to be your friends. Chelsea defininitely takes an unusual road in terms of dealing with this, but that is what made me want to read this book in the first place, so I certainly won't complain. What I do like to point out, though, is that I felt that Chelsea's transformation from mean girl to, well, not-mean girl, happened too fast and without the reader really taking part in it. We never really experience Chelsea's former self first-hand, mostly only in form of flashbacks.And when her old friends start to shun her at school - even threathen her, insult her - she very quickly decides that her old self was just born out of the want to please people not really worth it, and that she actually never really felt at home with their group. It is easy for her to move on to new friends, who strangely see the good in her despite her past and actually go to greath lenghts to make her part of their own circle of friends. For me, that was just not realistic. There was just such a gap between the "bad people" hating Chelsea for what she did and making her life hell - really, are people still that backward, hateful and stuck up in small town USA? - and the "good people" trying to help her.

Still, I couldn't help but love the guys who took Chelsea in and helped her through the hard times she was getting at school. I have a thing for their kind of friendships - always there for one another, but still teasing each other at every chance they get. The diner they all worked at was a great setting for that, I definitely would have liked to work there as well. What irked me a bit in that area, though, were Chelsea's parents - after what her daughter went through they were so concerned about her decision to take a vow of silence, would they really not care when she stayed out late every night without telling them where she was? I get that they had a rough time and problems themselves, but I really can't imagine them not wanting to know where their sixteen year-old daughter spent her evenings. I am not saying she shouldn't be allowed to spend time at the diner, I just feel like it should have been of interest to her parents, who came across as very sensible and caring in other aspects of this story.

What I loved, though, was Sam, and I thought that his relationship with Chelsea was really cute, even if it lacked that certain spark I had wished for. Asha was an intersting character as well, and I would have loved to learn a bit more about her background. All in all, the cast of suporting characters definitely had potential, but sometimes, they remained a little too far in the background for my tastes. I know this was Chelsea's story, but I would have loved to read more about Noah's and Andy's relationship - so Hannah Harrington, if you ever decide to write this story from their point of view, I'll definitely buy that book!

All in all, this is a book I did find some faults with, but they didn't hinder my overall enjoyment of the story. This book explores the repercussions of high school rumours and the problem of bullying, but it still manages to do so in a lighter tone than other novels in the genre I have read. I would not say that it diminishes the effects bullying has, but generally offers a more positive outlook on things.

Thanks a lot to Netgalley and Harlequin for the review copy.
Profile Image for Ruby Granger.
Author 2 books45.6k followers
November 17, 2017
I rather enjoyed this novel although, at first, I thought that I would hate it! You see, there is a bit of swearing (something I am not overly comfortable with) and Chelsea is, to say the least, quite a nasty person. A reader does see an obvious evolution in her character as she matures and becomes aware of the broader realities in the world. She sees that school popularity is not everything.
A wonderful book for girls who perhaps feel constrained by the social strata.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
662 reviews2,254 followers
August 2, 2012
Chelsea Knot loves to gossip. It is exciting to have the latest news and have everyone gather around her and be so impressed with what she knows. If you find out a friend is messing around with another friend's boyfriend you should tell right? But Chelsea doesn't always think about how the other people will accept this information. One night while at a party she catches one of her male classmates messing around with another male and decides it is hot gossip, not knowing that her best friend's boyfriend will physically assault him.

By the book's description I was worried I would dislike Chelsea but she actually does the right thing right off the bat. She knows her best friend will be mad and that she will face consequences but she still comes forth and tells the truth of what she knows. I was really proud of her cause doing the right thing really is hard when there is such strong peer pressure. Being bullied every single day at school for doing the right thing is so unfair and horrible but that really does happen. The kids were all pure evil and attacked Chelsea for standing up and turning in the guy who did wrong. I did not understand how the heck these kids could seriously think it was wrong to turn in someone who put another student in the hospital?!!?!?

Now that Chelsea has seen the error of her ways she decides to take a vow of silence. Speaking before thinking gets her in trouble so she writes on a whiteboard. I was glad Chelsea was changing her ways but being completely silent isn't always the answer either. Sometimes you have to speak up and she slowly learns the balance between standing up for what is right and thinking before you speak. She also has some great new friends that see the real her and are so kind and understanding. Her so called best friend was never a good friend and having real friends allows Chelsea to grow. Also a cute and sweet boy named Sam. The romance wasn't a huge part of the book but they had a nice friendship that built into a great romance.

Sometimes I wonder how I survived high school. lol But really this book dealt with some very serious bullying issues and I thought it was handled really realistically and well which at times was very sad and disturbing. I felt so very depressed and angry and then scared all through the book along with Chelsea. Anyone that would have to go through something like this is a very strong person. I was a huge fan of Saving June and I loved this one as well. Can't wait to see what Hannah Harrington writes next!

His eyes flicker over my face. "I really want to kiss you right now," he blurts out. "If that's okay."
He leans toward me, slowly, inch by inch, leaving me plenty of time to pull away from him. I don't. Instead I close my eyes and hold my breath as I wait for his mouth to meet mine, the anticipation tingling all the way from my stomach to my throat. I can feel him coming closer, his breath warm against my cheek in contrast to the freezing air, make me shiver.

And when it happened I did nothing. It barely even registered; it was like white noise. Sometimes I even laughed along for show. At least it wasn't being said about me-and I know how embarrassed I would've been if it had, because that was how awful everyone I hung out with agreed being gay was. And I thought it was okay as long as I didn't actively participate, that it was enough for me to secretly believe in my heart of hearts that there was absolutely nothing wrong with being gay even if I never dared say it out loud.
I thought it was enough, and it is so far from enough. I can't change what I've done and what I haven't done, but I can change what I do now. I can actually do something. Stand for something.
Profile Image for Eunice.
255 reviews527 followers
September 15, 2012
Speechless is one remarkable and outstanding novel that handled a very insightful issue with great depth and profundity in it. I'm amazed by how Hannah Harrigton effectively wrote Chelsea's story that would make every readers understand the situation, the characters, the consequences and see the lessons and messages behind it.

Chelsea at first wasn't a very likable character. She's shallow, indifferent and yes, doesn't know when to shut her mouth. That was until it caused a terrible and heavy consequences and she vowed to never speak again. I love how Harrigton wrote her character, she was so flawed but was very realistically written. Her character definitely bugged me in so many ways but when bad things started happening to her it was so easy to sympathize with her situation. Although that didn't mean I trusted her right away. But as she bit by bit realized stuff and things, as she gradually grew, changed and developed I started to really appreciate and love her character too.

Every aspect of her development was well hightighted. I love how it was efficiently carried thus helping the readers to completely relate and understand the repercussion of Chelsea's actions (as well as the other characters) and how it had affected her. Hannah Harrigton is definitely a great writer for being able to really reach me with Chelsea's story.

The secondary characters were one of the best parts of this book. Asha, Sam, Andy, Lou and Dex were all great characters and definitely appealing. I love that they were the kind of seconday characters that weren't forgettable. The scenes with them; the banters and dialogues were so fun and amusing to read. The romance was also a very lovely and sweet one. I love how Sam and Chelsea's realtionship developed, it was gradual and slow but really adorable and cute and sweet. Haha!

If you enjoyed Hannah Harrigton's Saving June I'm sure you're gonna love this one. Harrigton wrote an amazing realistic story with flawed yet totally relate-able character and with so much depth and insights. The writing is splendid and flowed so easily. And the development of the story as well as the characters is impressive. This is a very worthy read. I recommend this.

*Thank you Netgalley and HarlequinTeen for the review copy.

This review is also posted at Book Overdose
Profile Image for Booknut 101.
849 reviews921 followers
January 22, 2013
Silence is golden...or so they say.

But there isn't anything golden behind Chelsea's vow of silence - in fact, the truth is as black and dappled with purple as Noah's healing bruise.

Chelsea swore herself to silence when her curiosity, need to fit in and please and not mention her loud mouth, got Noah into serious trouble, landing him in hospital. But silence is hard to keep when everyone has their own versions on what happened and some choice-names to say about you behind your back and to your face. Chelsea finds herself alone, and those who she thought were friends abandon her to save face.

Then she meets Asha and Sam - two fellow students who she had seen but never met. One, Asha, her detention buddy and the Knitter of Scarves. The second, Sam, her art project partner and the King of Tuna Melts. Regardless of her past and considerate of her vow, the two become her friends even though neither of them has heard her speak and not a word escapes her lips. Together they help her recover, stand by her during some serious bullying and also help her understand that it's ok to hate. Hate is easy. But love...love is harder.

Can Chelsea face what she did that night? What does she achieve from her vow? And more importantly, can she find a way to make everything work?

I loved this book. At the beginning, I detested her character - so fake, so 'foundation, lipgloss and Pradas'. But then with her vow came a deeper understanding of human suffering and the consequences of doing the right thing as well as doing something that doesn't seem harmful, but turns out to lead to disastrous repercussions. Sam made me melt as fast as his famous tuna melts, and Asha was such a cutie...and she really is the square root of awesome!
Profile Image for Christy.
3,813 reviews32.4k followers
March 23, 2013
4-4.5 Stars

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You can be surrounded by people and still be lonely. You can be the most popular person in school, envied by every girl and wanted by every boy, and still feel completely worthless. The world can be laid at your feel and you can still not know what you want from it.

Have you ever said something you wished you could take back? Gossiped about someone when you knew you shouldn’t? Hurt someone with your words? I know we all have. But has it ever dramatically effected your or someone else's life? It did for Chelsea Knot.

Everyone knows Chelsea Knot doesn’t know how to keep her mouth shut.

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Chelsea is ‘one of those girls’ in highschool. Best friends with the most popular girl. Doesn’t think before she speaks. Doesn’t realize that her words mean something. On new years eve, everything changes for Chelsea. She witnesses something she is not meant to see, and runs her mouth about it. This action causes something bad to happen. A guy is hurt because of what she said. Chelsea is asked to keep quiet about it but she can’t. She realizes a little too late that

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She has to do the right thing and speak up. And it ruins her life. When she comes back to school after winter break, none of her friends will speak to her, and when they do, its nasty things. She is upset, but she decides she is taking a vow of silence. Her mouth has got her in trouble too many times, and she doesn’t want that to keep happening.

Running my mouth has hurt enough people already. The least I can do is shut up. Why can’t everyone see I’m doing the world a favor?

While keeping to herself, she notices things and people who she never noticed before. Someone is actually nice to her. I loved her friend Asha. When the popular kids see them hanging out together, they make sure to let Asha know that it will cause trouble for her. I love Asha’s response...
“Im my opinion, if those girls hate me, that only means I must be doing something right.”
Asha respects Chelsea’s vow of silence. She texts her and communicates other ways with her. She ends up bringing her to work one day and introduces her to others, her bosses Dex and Lou, and then there is Sam (who she sits with in Art) and Andy. Sam and Andy. Sam is Noah’s best friend, and Andy is Noah’s boyfriend. Noah is the boy who got hurt because of Chelsea’s actions. Chelsea really, truly starts to change for the better as the book goes on. Sam notices this, and becomes friends with Chelsea. It takes Andy a little while longer to come around, but he does. Eventually, Chelsea forgets about her old ‘friends’ and she is happy with who she is and who she’s with. Sam is the greatest, and they become an item. I love love love Sam!!!

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I can’t believe someone as good as you exists. I can’t believe you even want to be around me. I can’t believe how lucky I am when just weeks ago I thought my life was over.

Eventually, Chelsea realizes she cannot stay silent forever. And the first thing she says after over a month of not speaking, well- it was one of my favorite parts of the book!!!
It had me cheering for Chelsea!!!

Speechless addresses some serious issues for teens and people in general, but still manages to be funny and relatable. Bullying, gossiping, judging people... all relevant topics. A good book with an even better message!

That night didn’t change my life. I changed it. I have to stop acting like I have no control over these things. Like I’m letting them just happen to me. These are my choices, for better of worse.

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Profile Image for K..
182 reviews719 followers
August 21, 2012
I was not going to read this book. I promise you, I was not. I was so fully aware of my (standing) disappointment with Harrington's debut Saving June, and was certain I had a firm grasp of her writing style that I had prematurely made up my mind.

Well. Sometimes people act like snobs, okay. It's not a crime. It just makes you highly unlikeable as a human being.

Anyway. I requested this on NetGalley and as fate would have it, I got approved. It was there for my taking. And then all these reviews were popping up, giving Speechless four stars, five stars! Scoff, I say! But. But they're not entirely, completely, like totally wrong, like they're kind of right because it's really not that bad omg I'm giving this four stars!

I really, really liked Speechless. Harrington's growth as a writer is monumental. One aspect I absolutely did not enjoy in Saving June was the constant, irrepressible presence of the writer. I could only hear her, instead of her characters. Which would've been fine, if it were a memoir. Here, Harrington's commentaries are alive and well, but are much more digestably subtle. She covers a vast ground of topics from typical teenage woes, to much more serious issues plaguing pop culture.

The way that she's done it this time is effective -- allowing us entry through a single perspective, Chelsea. In Saving June, multiple characters tackled specific opinions and it became too much, too tedious. Now, we see everything through one character...whose voice is so perfectly captured, it was ridiculously readable. Here is the biggest contradiction of all. In Saving June, my entire review hung on my aversive attitude towards first-person narrative. Oh, but not here. I could read Chelsea all day. And I did. Her voice is young yet contemplative, privately honest, genuinely snarky, brutally fierce. I loved her. She admitted and accepted about herself so many things that go through our own heads on a daily basis.

She makes no excuse. She is sometimes selfish, sometimes generous. Sometimes emo, sometimes compassionate. Sometimes dense, sometimes perceptive. Sometimes dull, sometimes cool. Sometimes rude, sometimes kind. Sometimes skeptical, sometimes optimistic, sometimes weak, sometimes strong. And more. Chelsea was unlikeable in the beginning, but darn did she grow on me. You see, she isn't really a bitch. Rather, an energy misguided. She has bite but she doesn't know where to aim. She is a genuine outspoken, stand-up-for-herself, no-bullshit kinda gal. Not Harrington's version of sweet, innocent female protagonists who "don't believe in themselves" until a gorgeous young boy swoops in and convinces them otherwise. Chelsea knows she's got stuff going for her. But thankfully, her ego isn't so big as to stunt character growth.

Now, the secondary characters. I loved Sam, Asha and the whole gang. But I'd hoped we'd have gotten more insight into them than we did. We know close to nothing about Sam and Asha's personal lives. Did Sam have other friends? Does he have siblings? Why is he so darn cute and nice? How does Asha feel when racial jokes are thrown at her expense? How does she handle being called a freak? How does she see the good when there is so much bad? These characters were wonderful to have in the scene but I almost wanted to follow them on when they walked out. How did they get to be how they are?
One exception, though, is Andy. One particular scene with Chelsea coloured his entire being all shades of beautful. Oh, the love! Wonderful scene, Harrington.

Kristen, on the other hand, I was glad not to have had more out of. Why? Because that's the point, I think. She's not supposed to grow. She is the foil to Chelsea. Kristen is a tragic character because while she knows the truth about herself, as Chelsea accepts the truth about herself, Kristen isn't strong enough to brave it out like Chelsea is. She denies herself freedom. Cheslea unleashes herself from chains. That's the difference.

This was a surprise. A surprise I couldn't get my hands off of, according to Goodreads, from August 13-16. Those were great days...yea.


An ARC was provided by the publisher.


Well, well, well, colour me a prejudiced snob.

Review to come...I'm pretty sure.
Profile Image for Elaine.
347 reviews224 followers
January 14, 2013
Also posted on rabbitsfortea

You can be surrounded by people and still be lonely. You can be the most popular person in the school, envied by every girl and wanted by every boy, and still feel completely worthless. The world can be laid at your feet and you can still not know what you want from it.

The thing that first drew me to this book was the wonderfully simple cover that from far looks just like a blank paper. Speechless. This book is very aptly named and beautifully written. I honestly don't quite know how to put my feelings about this book down in words as I always do the books I love.

I can cut myself some slack somes. 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?

I think this quote perfectly sums up why I liked Chelsea so much. She starts out as a very flawed character but at the end of the book, I don't find that she has become a saint either. Yes, I still think that she has flaws but at the very least, she did look at herself and try to change.I can definitely appreciate that.

I really loved her new group of friends as well. Asher and Andy are both pretty hilarious and Sam is just downright sweet. I also loved how the romance between Chelsea and Sam played out. The pacing for the story was pretty spot on.

How it seems so impossible that someone could look at them, see how plainly they care for each other, and find anything ugly or shameful or worthy of hatred in it, when all I see is something beautiful.

Speechless also touches on the issue of bullying and homophobia, but it was done in a way that doesn't feel like it's trying to shove what's morally right down your throat. Rather, it is done in a more pensive manner which I really liked. It makes you think love, hatred, friendship, forgiveness and so much more. This was one YA contemporary that thankfully lived up to it's hype and made me fall in love with Harrington's writing and characters.

This book deserves a very solid 4 stars but it was just lacking that little something that takes my breath away, for me to actually rate it as 5 stars.
Profile Image for Cass -  Words on Paper.
820 reviews217 followers
February 7, 2017
Author of SAVING JUNE. Dude, this is a no-brainer.

[Review posted at Words on Paper]

[I admit I got really lazy with this review, but it kind of works out because this book involves the voluntary absence of speech and so in kind I say very little in this review.]


As SPEECHLESS involves a vow of silence, and it’s been ages since I read this and only had a small list written up about it, I’ll keep this review short and simple.

Hannah Harrington’s debut novel (SAVING JUNE) was such a memorable contemporary YA debut novel of 2011 that I was just so excited to read more from her. SPEECHLESS is bold and powerful. Harrington delivers a strong message wrapped in an entertaining story, its truthfulness running through and through.

1) We are presented with an unlikeable, shallow character who falls from popularity. She's a sympathetic character and likeable as she goes through changes and develops. Chelsea Knot is akin to the likes of Sam (Before I Fall) and Cady (Mean Girls), just to name a few.

2) I didn't want to say goodbye to the characters. I want more, though I know that's not going to happen. (I’ll definitely have to give this a re-read sooner than later… I kind of miss them.)

3) The power of words.

4) The effects of bullying. I also think Harrington brought many different aspects to the fore that might otherwise not be acknowledged as bullying, like being a passive by-stander as Chelsea was at the beginning.

5) There are slivers of GLBT in this book. Which surprised me, but I thought Harrington represented different sexualities in a way that felt right.

6) The vow of silence. It just really pronounced the importance of words. I liked that there was an absence of the main character’s spoken word but we still knew her thoughts throughout. And then there were the moments when she really wanted to speak out or say something, but couldn’t because of it. The moment when she finally breaks the vow was so, so beautiful.

7) Dorky love interest. Come on.

8) SPEECHLESS is sectioned off by days, instead of chapters.

Review copy was provided by Harlequin Teen Australia. Speechless released in August 2013.
Profile Image for rameau.
553 reviews187 followers
August 28, 2012
This review can also be found on Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell-blog.

Sometimes it is really difficult and even scary to speak up for what you believe is right, but it’s important to do. At the end of the day you answer to yourself, no one else, so you’ll be happy you did.

Hannah Harrington

Chelsea Knot is an incorrigible gossip, she admits it herself on the very first pages of Speechless. She’s also an impetuous sixteen-year-old teen who makes mistakes. One of those mistakes leads to a boy being beaten up and almost dying. Blaming herself and her own words, Chelsea makes a vow of silence and starts her month long road to self-discovery.

She’s still an impetuous sixteen-year-old girl at the end of the book, but she’s also a stronger person and a better human being.

Only a few days ago I wrote a long review for Beautiful Disaster pointing out some of the authorial mistakes in that book, one of which was the lack of character growth in a so-called character driven story. I feel like I should give this book to Jamie McGuire, and tell her to read and learn.

This could be a handbook to how character driven YA novels should be written.

The character gallery is familiar. We have the popular girls and boys as well as the outcasts and the people who blend in all sorts of groups. Unlike Bella Swan and every other YA protagonist that followed her, Chelsea likes being popular and using the power that comes with it. She’s not perfect and knows her shortcomings, but she’s not focusing on them—well, not more than any other teenage girl would when shopping for bras.

They? Incorrect plural usage!

There’s Brendon, the gorgeous smart guy she has a crush on, but who isn’t without his faults. There’s Kristen, Chelsea’s best friend, the superficially inclined popular girl who runs the high school’s social circles but whose shell has its own cracks. There’s Warren, Joey, Derek, and there’s Asha, Sam, Andy, and Noah. All of whom felt like real characters despite their limited appearance in the book.

And, believe it or not, there are adults. They don’t overshadow the teenage angst or drama, but they are a presence. On a second thought, I could show this book to Maggie Stiefvater too: Yes, it is possible to write a YA novel where the teens have problems and strong parent figures as well. It can be done.

Where was I? The vow of silence. As you can imagine, it’s not easy. Chelsea learns to communicate without words and to bite her tongue when she’s mocked, ignored, or worse. She wallows in narcissistic self-pity like only a teenager can, but she also recognises it. She realises she can’t stay silent forever, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting to the words that’ll break her silence to mean something. In a way, as young as she is, she’s also mature in a way that I can’t remember being at that age. Maybe Chelsea has better friends than I did.

Good for her. Who wants to be a virgin forever?

One more thing I must mention. For a while, I was absolutely dreading the romance aspect of this book. I could not see how it would work, because there wasn’t any chemistry between Chelsea and Brendon. I shouldn’t have fretted. It’s safe to say that Harrington has earned my trust and I’ll never doubt her again.

I make a point of not adding anyone to my favourites list until I’ve read at least two separate novels from them and two novels of the same series don’t count. The can’t be connected. I broke that rule for Harrington for the simple reason that I love how she writes.

Do I think this book could have been any better? No. Unfortunately, I don’t give five star ratings to perfect books; I give them to books that change me. As touching as Speechless was, it doesn’t quite fit that category.

I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
August 5, 2012
4.5 stars

Hate is easy, but love takes courage.

There is one of these kinds of people in ever high school. The one that fimly believes that someone elses misery will score them cool points with their flock of friends.
Chelsea Knot is one of those people.
Since being Kristen Courteau's best friend- the most poplar girl in school- Chelsea has always worked around Kristen's expectations doing what ever she can to impress her even if it means revealing everyone's secrets or degrading them to social nothingness.
So when Chelsea witnesses something at a party that is worthy of juicy gossip she goes straight to her friends and spreads the dirt. Only she didn't quite get the reacion that she was hoping for. Instead of laughing it off like she hoped they would, they got pissed.
One thing lead to another and a boy from school ends up in the hospital after a savage attack. And it's Chelsea's fault. Caught between wanting to keep cool and doing the right thing, Chelsea unexpectedly grows a conscience, dubbing her a rat and a backstabber.
Ridiculed, threatened and bullied, Chelsea lost all of her friends and social status.
And yet, she doesn't do anything to stop it. She's always known that she has a big mouth and decides to do the world a favor by taking a vow of silence.
After all, if you don't have anything nice to say, then you shouldn't say anything at all.

I've been a huge fan of Hannah Harrington since her debut novel, Saving June. So it was a pleasant surprise to hear she was coming out with another book, which I knew I was going to read as soon as I got my greedy little hands on it. This book did not disappoint one bit and I enjoyed it just as much as her first novel.
I love the way Harrington writes! She has an incredible way of pacing a story by keeping it in constant intrigue. She has a way of provoking intense raw emotions by having you fall for her characters as they face difficult yet realistic situations and still manages to keep it light enough so we are still able to appreciate the good times.

Speechless is ultimately a story about a girl who made a mistake and to make sure that she doesn't ruin anymore lives (including her own) she takes a vow of silence. Though Chelsea wont talk, she listens and sees how much damage her gossiping inflicted to people at school and finally realizes just how much words can cut when it's turned on her.
Chelsea isn't the kind of character that is easy to like at first. She's your basic mean-girl. Spiteful, cruel and looks down on others who aren't worthy of cool. She's a mindless minion who gets high on the approval of her best friend and thinks it's okay to slam others without thinking about the consequences. Till the one time it becomes all to real. And sorry will never be enough. I'm not exactly sure why Chelsea decided to take a vow of silence. Not speaking and keeping everything in almost feels cowardly. Maybe she did it out of spite - Kill them with kindness but a smile will do. Maybe it was out of guilt, remorse, regret or shame. But in the end, I think it was a little bit of everything. Chelsea proves that she isn't a heartless hopeless soul and with the help of real friends finally begins to understand what person she wants to become.

Funny enough, while Chelsea is our main protag, the secondary characters were the ones who stole the show.
Asha, Sam and Andy were all genuinely great people. Asha has a wonderful bubbly and lively personality. She sees the good in people and gave Chelsea a chance when no one else would. I love that she knits and I love that she can handle her own. Sam is the kind of guy I'd want on my side. Loyal, protective, sweet and funny. Andy comes off a little harsh when we first meet him, but I think it's exactly what Chelsea needed maybe even deserved. His breakdown was touching and beautiful and sad. It made you feel instantly connected to his emotions, understanding him at a deeper level.
The romance was very well done. You'd think it'd be hard to connect with a couple when the conversation is pretty much one sided, but Harrington did a phenomenal job delivering just the right amount of sparks that made this a sweet bubbling romance but doesn't take over the initial plot line.

Bottom line. I really just loved this book. There were times when all the hate hurt my heart and there were even times I wasn't sure if Chelsea could be redeemed, but in the end this became an inspiring story about friendship, forgiveness and finding the real you.
I may not have liked what Chelsea had to say in the beginning of this book, but when she finally finds her voice, it's worth waiting for.

Beautifully done!

Arc provided by Netgalley and Harlequin Teen.

This review and more can be seen at:

winter haven books
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,371 reviews920 followers
November 15, 2015
Speechless was kindly provided to me by Netgalley for Harlequin.

'I can't change what I've done and what I haven't done, but I can change what I do now. I can actually do something. Stand for something.'

After Chelsea stumbles upon something at a high school party and unintentionally tells the entire party what transpired she's horrified at what she ended up causing. She realizes that her gossiping mouth has done more harm than she could have ever thought possible and in turn decides to take a vow of silence.

Chelsea Knot is not an immediately likeable character so don't expect to right off the bat. It takes time and development and maturity on her part. She was incredibly realistic nonetheless; I think we all went to high school with a 'Chelsea', I know I did. I was having vivid recollections especially when she said lines like:
'He won't even look at me! And, not to brag, but I am something to look at, dammit. I'm not gorgeous like Kristen, but I've been known to turn a head or two in my time.'
Oh yeah. I might have gone to school with a few Chelsea-types.

Despite being the one who did the right thing by telling the police what really happened, even though that resulted in the ruin of her social standing (which involved a few friends being thrown in jail) she still worries day in and day out whether she made the right choice, still doubts that she's really a good person and didn't just have a lapse in judgment. After making friends with an unpopular girl named Asha who manages to see Chelsea for the good person she is, even though Chelsea herself doubts that she's really that good.

This story was not flawless. There were times where I really enjoyed it and others when I felt like tossing it. I think that largely had to do with the fact I felt it was for a less mature crowd despite the serious message intended. I typically write my reviews immediately after finishing books but had a hard time turning my thoughts into words with this one. After taking so much time for it to run through my brain I ended up actually reducing my rating from 4 to 3 stars. I loved the message and I loved seeing the popular girl transformed; however, I had a hard time relating to Chelsea and often felt her actions weren’t entirely authentic. Maybe because I’ve never been the popular girl and could never relate… maybe because of the fact that she decided to take her ‘vow of silence’ after glancing at a magazine article. Either way, this was enjoyable but unfortunately not completely my cup of tea.
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