August 23, 2012

The Power of Words • Speechless

Speechless book cover
Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Source: BEA 2012 || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the opinions expressed in my review.]

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.

Chelsea has taken a vow of silence - to learn to keep her mouth shut and to stop hurting anyone else. There's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way. Including a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive her...if only she can forgive herself.

(This book is one of the books up for grabs as part of my birthday & Travel Tales giveaway!)

I love it when I pick up a book and just cannot put it down until I've finished reading it. SPEECHLESS is one of the books that had that effect on me this year. It's a fantastic story with a lot of heart by HANNAH HARRINGTON

The book centers around Chelsea Knot, who is a girl who would say just about anything to stay in the good graces of the in crowd, especially her "best friend" Kristen. She's notorious for finding out secrets and gossip - and not being able to keep her mouth shut about it. When she spills a secret that nearly leads to the death of a classmate, her whole life just changes completely.

Fate leads her to an article about monks taking a vow of silence - and that inspires her to take a vow of silence as well. After all, she knows that it's her words that caused all of this to happen, her words that created the mess she now lives with. So she decides that it's better to shut up and say nothing at all. Instead, she writes everything she wants to say, which gives her more time to think about what to say if anything at all. I think this is one of the important takeaways we get from this book - we should always be cautious about what we choose to say, so that we don't end up hurting others. 

I truly felt for Chelsea while I was reading this book. I wasn't a big fan of hers at first, but after the incident, I suddenly started to understand a little bit more about Chelsea really. It finally came across that she had been a person that others had made her to be, instead of sticking up for who she really was and what she really liked. I enjoyed seeing her transform from a Kristen hanger-on to Chelsea, a girl who knows how to stand up for what's right in any given situation. It's a heartwarming and sometimes truly painful journey - but it's definitely eye-opening just to walk with Chelsea every step of the way.

What also makes this book such a great read is the supporting ensemble - Sam, Asha, Dex, Andy and Noah. Each of the characters that I mention definitely has a distinct impact on Chelsea's growth as a person, and each of them also has a distinct personality that sets them apart from the others. 

Oh, and a bonus feature of this book character-wise - Chelsea's parents are pretty great. Though they're a little strict and though they don't support the vow of silence idea at first, they end up being supportive and protective of Chelsea throughout most of the novel. I love how Chelsea realizes how lucky she is to have her parents, because they are pretty darn awesome.

The "secret" that I referenced earlier - well, I'm not going to spill it for you. But I think HANNAH HARRINGTON does a great job taking on this particular issue and just running with it. It's an issue that deserves attention, and I feel like she handled it well in the book. This is considering, of course, that it's not a book about the issue, but about one person's response as someone who encounters the issue. I know that might not necessarily make sense right now, but I promise it will when you read it.

Oh, and there's romance in there too! It was quite sweetly done, with nothing too heavy, though it still hit me pretty hard (in a good way!). I thought the boy in question was definitely swoon-worthy for a good boy type, and I loved the transition of their relationship from knowing-of-each-other to friendship and eventually to love.

HANNAH HARRINGTON has crafted such an engrossing story around Chelsea's transformation, and it's a story that will certainly be able to find a place in your heart. SPEECHLESS is about a girl who's taken a vow of silence; it's left me speechless with the simplicity of the story but the heaviness of its impact on my heart.


  1. I like the premise of this novel. I love a book with a good ensemble side cast of characters.

  2. This book is on my TBR list! Might read this one sooner rather than later thanks to your awesome review :)

  3. I really like Hannah Harrington's writing and I thought this story was great. Not only was there an emphasis on bullying, but there also seemed to be an examination of what it takes to be your own person. Great review!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  4. This looks like such a good read. I loved Hannah Harrington's SAVING JUNE and added this one to my TBR list immediately after finishing SJ. I love the premise of the novel and it's something that can resonate with anyone -- how many people give into spreading gossip? Sure it might not be something they do ALL THE TIME, but the consequences are definitely something that can be deadly, depending on the gossip. I think this book would be a real eye-opener.

    Great review, Alexa!

  5. Such a great point that the story was fairly simple, but the impact was deep. I really love stories like this one and Hannah did such a beautiful job writing it. I am a huge, huge fan of her work! Definitely glad you loved this Alexa! :)

  6. I'm saying this in like, every review I read of this but I WILL FINISH THIS ONE. Soooon. Ish. From what I read, I agree about her parents! I was glad to see them featured so nicely as it's not very often in contemps we see that.

  7. I so want to read this! Every review I read makes me want to read it more and more. I think it's awesome that Chelsea's parents are great and involved, cause a lot of times the parents are either gone or just kind of there.

  8. The whole premise of Speechless is pretty great, right? I haven't read it yet, but I can't imagine a young person today taking a vow of SILENCE and sticking to it, so I'm eager to see what Hannah Harrington does with it here. I really enjoyed Saving June, so I know I'm in for something great with Speechless! And I love that you pointed out Chelsea's parents being awesome. I love seeing that in books. Great review, my dear :-)

  9. Oh I really want to read this one. There are a million things I want to comment about here, but I'll just stick with I can't wait to read it and I think it's SO relevant and I'll leave it at that. Great, great review.

  10. I love the sound of this one. Thank you for bringing so many great books to my attention :)

  11. I have been planning to read this one for forever - I just can't seem to find the time. I hope I can soon!

  12. I got this one at ALA, and am so excited to get to it after reading your review! We'll have to have a book chat about it soon!

  13. I bet you can guess who is uber excited to read this one now! I really just love the whole idea behind the book and your review really solidified that I will enjoy this one!


Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)