Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Title: Speechless

Author: Hannah Harrington

Published: HarlequinTeen September 2012

Synopsis: The story of a girl named Chelsea Knot who takes a voluntary oath of silence after her gossip-mongering ways yield unexpected consequences… Saying she’s sorry isn’t enough.

Status: Read from August 30 to 31, 2012 — I own a copy {Courtesy HarlequinTeen Australia}

My Thoughts:

In Speechless, a contemporary young adult novel, author Hannah Harrington explores the consequences for sixteen year old Chelsea Knot when she thoughtlessly reveals a secret that leads to the vicious beating of a fellow classmate. Sharing idle gossip, rumour and innuendo once ensured her status as a member of her high school’s most exclusive clique but identifying the boys responsible for the assault makes Chelsea a pariah. Guilt stricken, Chelsea takes a vow of silence, reasoning that it’s best for everyone if she doesn’t talk at all.

The strength of Speechless lies with it’s protagonist, Chelsea, and her development from a self centered, shallow, mean girl into a mature, caring individual. The first person point of view allows the reader to connect to what Chelsea is thinking and feeling as she navigates her new social reality while her vow of silence ensures the author is able to keep the focus on Chelsea’s internal journey. Chelsea isn’t aware of how much of her identity she had compromised in order to remain Kristen’s best friend until she is exiled from the group. She wore whatever Kristen approved off, behaved the way the Kristen expected and focused on catering to the needs of her ‘best friend’ almost to the exclusion of everything else. In the wake of the attack on Noah, freed from the confines of the clique’s expectations, Chelsea begins to discover who she is, and who she wants to be.

I particularly liked that the consequences for Chelsea were realistic. Exiled from the popular group she becomes a target of their bullying and the rest of the school population has little sympathy for the former ‘mean girl’. That the consequences seep into her father’s life is perhaps a little bit of a stretch but then given the behaviour of their children it is hardly any surprise the parents are no better.

Chelsea’s journey is supported by a blossoming friendship with Ash and Sam. I admire both for their willingness to reach out to, and forgive Chelsea, though as friends of Noah they would have been within their rights to ignore her. Kristen and her friends are fairly typical representations of the power clique familiar from high school, privileged, petty and self involved. I did like that moment when Chelsea quietly confronts Kristen with the truth that the boys are responsible for their fates.

Speechless explores the issues of friendship, bullying, personal responsibility and self acceptance in a manner that is sure to appeal to teens. It is an entertaining read but with a serious message at its core and will hopefully get teens thinking.

Available to Purchase

@Harlequin Australia I@BoomerangBooks I @Booktopia

via Booko

@Amazon I @BookDepository

{Australian Residents only}

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting
    Sep 12, 2012 @ 17:13:02

    I have this one to review as well–I’ll try to get to it this week. Thematically, with the whole “speechless” thing and the being outcast from a friendship group thing, it sounds quite a bit like Kate McGarry’s Pushing the Limits.



  2. Trackback: Burn For Burn By Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian « A Lot Like Dreaming

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