Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: August 28th 2012
My Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
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. (from Goodreads)
The premise of Speechless fascinated me because I personally just can’t imagine taking a vow of silence. I have this need to voice my opinion, and while I’ve never been interested in gossiping or secrets and the like, I don’t think I could keep silent, especially with all the abuse that Chelsea suffered. So that fact that Chelsea made this vow and actually stuck to it had me intrigued. I wanted to know more, I wanted to know how it would change her. And I just loved how her oath made her see things in a different light. I loved Speechless! Hannah Harrington is definitely an author to watch out for and I’m looking forward to see what she comes up with next!
Chelsea wasn’t really that likeable to begin with, but it was pretty clear that you weren’t actually supposed to like her. She was the queen of gossiping, well known for being unable to keep a secret and she didn’t seem like that great of a person, really. She just loved to poke her nose in other people’s business and got a kick out of announcing to the world the inner details of people’s private lives. It was only when her love of gossiping almost got a boy killed that she began to realise how what she did affected people. And that’s when the Chelsea I loved began to develop. When she tried to do the right thing, she was punished. She lost all her friends, her popularity from her old life and was hounded by people who now hated her. And she slowly came to understand that popularity wasn’t everything, and that people all had secrets and had their own reasons for keeping them. I loved Chelsea’s friendship with Asha (who was just awesome), because it was such a contrast to her previous “friendship” with Kristen. Kristen was demanding and had to have everything her way. She was like a dictator, she even managed Chelsea’s wardrobe. And she was a hypocrite that used people to her own advantage. Asha was the complete opposite, she liked Chelsea for who she was and she was funny and kind and just accepted Chelsea despite all the bad things everyone was saying about her. She didn’t find Chelsea’s vow of silence crazy or stupid at all and respected what she was trying to do. I loved Asha so much, she was quirky and such a nice person and I’d really love to have a friend like her! Chelsea was lucky she met Asha, I think, and being with her and Sam really helped Chelsea become a better person, I think.
Sam was another character I really liked, more and more as the book went on. He was concerned about Asha (who was his friend and co-worker) when Chelsea first started hanging out with her because he thought Chelsea might have been using her, but he was also surprisingly not very judgemental and didn’t just ignore or hate Chelsea, despite the fact she was part of the reason his best friend was in hospital. Obviously he didn’t jump up to be her friend, but he wasn’t mean to her either, unlike the people Chelsea thought had been her friends but who didn’t really care enough to stick by her. Sam just seemed really genuine and the kind of guy who really cared about his friends. He could be sweet too, and I loved watching his and Chelsea’s relationship develop. It was quite odd because Chelsea wasn’t speaking for most of it, but Sam seemed to understand her even without words and there was this...I don’t know, chemistry between them from the beginning! It was written really well, because while this chemistry wasn’t obvious and in your face, it was there. One of my favourite parts was the ice-skating scene – I could empathise with Chelsea there. Ice-skating is damn hard, and no matter what anyone says, some people just can’t do it (can you tell I’m speaking from experience? :P). Sam and Chelsea seemed to really complement each other and it was great to see how they slowly began to care about one another as time went on.
Plot-wise, there wasn’t too much going on, but it wasn’t slow and boring either. The book was mainly about Chelsea’s vow of silence; how people reacted to it, and how it changed her. I liked the way we got to see Chelsea’s growth and I think the way all the different characters played a part was very interesting. Ms Kinsey, Chelsea’s art teacher, was a secondary character, but she supported Chelsea’s vow and I really liked her (wish I had a teacher like that!). I think the only thing I could complain about was Kristen. I felt like she could have perhaps been a bit more developed or maybe we could have seen why she acted the way she did, because at the end we got a glimpse of a different Kristen, and I would have liked to have seen more of that. The ending also felt a little bit rushed, but other than those things, I really enjoyed Speechless, and I’m looking forward to what Hannah Harrington writes next!
Overall, Speechless was a fantastic contemp with a pretty original story. Definitely recommended, especially if you liked Saving June.