Author: Hannah Harrington
Published: August 28th, 2012
Genre: YA contemporary
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
POV: 1st person
Format: eARC, paperback
Source: Netgalley & Won
Rating: 4 out of 5
"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."
Has anyone ever gotten hurt because of something you said? Chelsea Knot knows what it's like to say something that sets off a chain reaction, ultimately leading to a young man being seriously injured. Chelsea Knot also knows what it's like to be one everyone else blames. So, Chelsea decides to take a vow of silence in order to learn from her mistakes, and ends up gaining more than expected. In SPEECHLESS, Harrington tackles many serious issues in a sincere fashion. As much as I struggled to relate with Chelsea in the beginning, my heart still went out to her whenever she found herself being bullied by her peers and even her supposed friends. This story, much like Lauren Oliver's BEFORE I FALL, reminds readers the power words can have over other people. But, this story isn't only about bullying. SPEECHLESS is also a story of friendship, young love, and forgiveness. With each serious moment, there's another humorous one for readers to appreciate and savor. A story filled with secrets, consequences, and second chances, SPEECHLESS makes a strong impression.
Highlights: The side characters (Asha, Sam, Andy, Dex and Lou) were fabulous. Chelsea's lack of dialogue allows the reader more time to dwell inside her thoughts and really get to know who is she and who she is becoming. I like how Chelsea owned up to her mistake and, in response, tried to find and embrace a different and better version of herself. There were some really great themes in story.
Lowlights: It was a bit challenging to like Chelsea at first, but she fortunately goes through a lot of character growth. I love how Chelsea's family was present in the story, but I hate how she wouldn't tell her parents or the school administration about what was happening to her. There's a social stigma against asking for help from adults (in the novel and in real life), and I think that is absolutely sad, because sometimes the right adult can make a difference.
Note: I have not read SAVING JUNE, but I think two characters from that book (possibly the protagonist and a young man named Jake) show up during a diner scene in SPEECHLESS.