My Rating: 4 hearts
Thoughts on the Novel: After seeing lots of praise for Hannah Harrington’s debut novel Saving June and then again for her newest book Speechless, I wondered what I was missing out on and figured I’d give her sophomore novel a try before my galley expired. I’m not really fond of stories revolving around selfish, mean girls so when I first started Speechless and realized Chelsea was one of those girls who ignores how awful her “best friend” is in order to stay popular, I speculated how long it would take before she blurted out the secret mentioned in the synopsis. Fortunately, not long; and by the end, Harrington’s gradual development of Chelsea’s character had me if not liking Chelsea, at least respecting her.
In my opinion, by far the best thing about Speechless was Chelsea’s voice because it was so honest and easy to relate to. Since Chelsea decides to take a vow of silence – which to me seemed a tad unrealistic because why decide to stop speaking altogether when you could just as easily make a vow not to gossip for example – a significant chunk of the book focuses on her thoughts. Through Chelsea’s perspective, you realize that, like anybody, she’s flawed and is a myriad of contradictions – brave, judgmental, determined and self-absorbed yet also vulnerable, thoughtful and perceptive.
I also liked the secondary characters. I just wish I could have gotten to see them in a more personal environment (e.g. in their homes) so that I could learn about them as characters independent of their interactions with Chelsea at school or work.
Another thing that I would have liked more time to be spent on was the relationship between Chelsea and Kristen. Since the two stop hanging out after the awful incident, we don’t really get to see Kristen as anything other than a stereotypical mean girl. At the same time though, I was okay with the way their relationship was portrayed because there was eventually some sort of resolution between the two.
Speechless was released in August 2012 by Harlequin Teen.
In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Harlequin Teen) for free via NetGalley.