Friday, December 28, 2012


Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret. Everyone in school knows it. She's cute and best friends with one of the most popular girls in school, Kristen. Automatically cool and popular by association, Chelsea takes full advantage of her status and tries to keep Kristen happy even if it means belittling herself a bit. During a party, Chelsea sees something shocking and immediately tells the popular crowd. Some guys take it upon themselves to attack the person involved as a result. She tells the police and the guilty party is in the process of being punished, but Chelsea now faces ridicule and hate at every turn. Her classmates either hate her for telling the secret in the first place and generally being a blabbermouth or for getting star athletes arrested. Chelsea takes a vow of silence because she hurt so many people with her words. It's hard to stay silent when constantly attacked, but she makes some surprising new friends and finds out about who she is and who she wants to be.

Speechless is a good contemporary teen book about making mistakes and having the courage to do what you like and be yourself. I really enjoyed seeing Chelsea's journey throughout the novel, but she starts off as pretty terrible. She tells everyone's secrets to her best friend Kristen and then figures out how to make it work the most in their favor, either through blackmail or by spreading the secret to everyone at school. When she takes her vow of silence and all her friends abandon her, it becomes apparent that she really doesn't know who she is. The person she pretended to be took over her whole life, causing her to wear clothes she didn't like, do things she hated, and mold herself to another's liking. With no one to care or impress, she struggles to find out who she really is underneath it all. Her vow of silence allows her to view the world in a vastly different way than she did before. She sees the effect of words and experiences first hand how words can really hurt people. I like that this is bullying from the perspective of the bully because this is rarely seen in teen books.

One aspect I really liked was portraying the toxic relationship between Chelsea and Kristen. The friendship was always completely one sided with Kristen being the most important person while Chelsea accepts that she isn't good enough as herself and changes in accordance to Kristen's whims. I have personally been in two of such relationships that started normally enough, but ended this way. I don't see this type of relationship portrayed in teen books very often and it hit home for me. Chelsea's classmates' behavior just blew my mind. Two star athletes were arrested because of their own actions, but Chelsea's testimony was integral to catching them. They blamed Chelsea for the whole situation instead of those boys for acting heinously. That mentality is crazy to me, but unfortunately not unrealistic.

Speechless is a moving contemporary read that feels honest and realistic. The writing made me breeze through it easily, but the subject matter and emotions proved to make it more profound than a fluffy read. I would definitely read more books by Hannah Harrington.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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