Review: Speechless

August 28, 2012 § 2 Comments

Speechless
Speechless by Hannah Harrington

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chelsea Knot is the best friend of the most popular girl at school and is known for her ability to ferret out, and expose, the good gossip. When she spills a secret that has violent repercussions, Chelsea makes a decision to do the right thing even if it means losing that all-important popularity. Suddenly, she’s on the outside and getting back all that she’s dished out in the past and then some. An article she reads in the National Geographic inspires her to take a vow of silence since talking without thinking has gotten her into this mess.

The beginning of Speechless was very slow and angst filled. The characters were all largely unlikable, a bunch of selfish, shallow teens with entitlement issues. I couldn’t stand Chelsea and didn’t feel particularly sorry for the position she found herself in. I even thought about marking this DNF and moving on to something else. I’m really glad that I didn’t though, because as the story progressed, it slowly became more than it first appeared.

The vow of silence she took seemed to be for selfish attention seeking reasons initially, but the unforeseen result of not speaking allows her to really examine the person that she is as well as the people and things she had surrounded herself with. Her silence also caused her to listen more fully to what people where saying and to consider their words instead of simply replying. Through her vow, she learns about friendship, accountability, loyalty, and the power of words. Her character grows very slowly throughout the story as she acknowledges some hard truths about herself and attempts to become worthy of the new friends she’s made and, of course, the boy. There’s always a boy… 🙂

No flowery prose or layers of meaning, the writing was as simple and straightforward as the story itself and felt authentic and perceptive. I enjoyed Speechless much more than I thought I would after reading the first couple chapters and encourage anyone who chooses to read this to push through that initial reaction to these characters because the book does get much much better.

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§ 2 Responses to Review: Speechless

  • I just finished this and I felt exactly the same way, Donna. The beginning was rough for me and I was just about ready to give up, but then I suddenly found myself enjoying it, despite the lack of originality. Great review.

  • Donna Smith says:

    Yep Maja, I agree it wasn't terribly original, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I was also going to add that it sometimes almost veered into sanctimonious moralizing, but then I also have strong opinions about accountability so… Thanks 🙂

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