Monday, October 01, 2012

Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

From Goodreads: 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.

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. 

Comments About the Cover: At first, I figured this was just a temporary cover because THERE’S NO PICTURE! It has actually grown on me now, and I find it unique and very creative. The author’s name still seems to be missing, however.  

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Harlequin Teen) for free via NetGalley.

8 comments:

  1. I'm really not a fan of high school drama and mean girls either so I had initially written off this book, as well. However, I think I could withstand and even enjoy a book where said mean girl has a true character arc. And this one sounds really well done, too. I'm impressed! Hopefully I'll find the time to read this one, thanks!

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  2. Like you and Aylee, I usually shy away from "mean girl" stories because they just frustrate me to no end, but I've heard such great things about this book and I'm really interested in Chelsea's character development. Despite the few minor drawbacks you mentioned, this book sounds amazing and given that I haven't seen a review below a 4 for it yet, I think it needs to go on the list!

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  3. Like you I'm not fond of mean girls and the popularity drama, which is why I skipped this one, however, I'm glad that Chelsea became a bit more introspective and seems to have learned how to take the bigger picture in. There's nothing more infuriating when the one characters don't realize that they are participating in the same behavior that they dislike.

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  4. I have this one here but havent pick it up yet. Near the release date there were so many, so many reviews coming out that I was like... okay, this one has enough buzz so it can wait for later. But hey, I will for sure pick it up because your review is not the only positive one I have read. Actually they have been all pretty good. And like you,I havent read Saving June either. XD I love when I read reviews that talk about the voice of the novel. That's one of the things that will play a BIG role in hooking me to the story or not. SO glad you loved it =D Im IN for this one! moving it up on my pile.

    Wonderful review Zahida <333333

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  5. Yay, another fan. :) It always pleases me to see another positive review of this novel... Nicely reviewed and I agree, the simplicity of the cover is actually beautiful!

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  6. I am like you, this is all ove the blogosphere and I still haven't read it! I just need to give in and find time to check out this author. I have heard so many great things. I know the relationship between the two characters is a niggling point but perhaps it is more realistic this way. I agree about the cover, weird....







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  7. Oh I completely thought this was a temporary cover too. I kept wondering why they hadn't released the final cover when we were so close to the release date! :D Ha, I have warmed to its simplicity now though. ;)

    This is a great review, Z! I think Harrington's timing at the start was perfect. There's only so much of that mean-girl rubbish I can tolerate before having to put the book away. Thankfully Chelsea started to appeal to me at exactly the right time. :)

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  8. Fantastic review Z. This wasn't a book that appealed to me, but I've seen nothing but great reviews for it, and I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it too.

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