Published: August 28, 2012 (Harlequin Teen)
Source: E-ARC from NetGalley
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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.
Last year I read and fell hard for Saving June, Hannah Harrington's first novel; so, from the moment I saw she had a second book coming out, I wanted and NEEDED to read it. After I received Speechless from NetGalley, I just wasn't in the mood to read a contemporary for awhile, but when I finally sat down with this one, I read it in a matter of hours. It's THAT good. Once again, Hannah has written a stellar group of characters, even going so far as to humanize the secondary characters, which I really liked. I was hesitant at first, reading this story, because I wasn't sure if I'd feel anything other than scorn for the main character, Chelsea, but I surprised myself when I ended up liking her.
Having the main character take a vow of silence after she spills a secret that changes several people's lives forever is a wonderful plot device; it really gave me, as a reader, time to get to know Chelsea better than though dialogue. As Chelsea dealt with the consequence of her gossiping ways, she started to really SEE the people around her for who they were, as well as herself for who she is, has been...and can be. Throughout Speechless, Chelsea grew so much as a person, and that really surprised me pleasantly. She realized the people she thought were friends perhaps weren't, and discovered that when you stop talking and start listening...you can hear, see, and learn so much.
I enjoyed the relationships in Speechless. As usual, Hannah Harrington writes these characters and relationships that feel REAL: flawed, yet possible. I loved that so much thought was poured into the interactions between the characters - from Chelsea's relationship with her parents, to her tentative romance with Sam, to her new friendship with Asha. My only complaint is that Speechless felt, to me, a bit short - I'd have liked to have seen Chelsea's transformation take a little longer. But as usual, Harrington is a gifted story-teller, and Speechless definitely GOT to me. I shed a few tears for Chelsea and in the end, was very pleased with this novel!
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