Thursday, August 23, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: ARC from BEA
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.