Thursday, October 18, 2012

Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Hannah Harrington
2012, 288 pgs

Book Summary 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 Summary

So this is my first review in at least a month and I’m feeling very rusty. 

Chelsea is popular.  But more the “she’s friends with the right person so she’s in the group” popular than the “people gravitate towards her” popular.  Her responsibility in the group is to be the one with the info….and to spill.   When Chelsea discovers one piece of REALLY big news she immediately tells her best friend and the aftermath of that secret getting out has disastrous consequences.

I didn’t especially like Chelsea in the first chapter or so of the book.  She’s a weak, self-centered gossip – not much to like.  BUT she redeems herself pretty quickly because while she does tell a secret she shouldn’t have, she does the right thing afterward even though it results in alienation from her friends and the popularity she worked so hard for.

Chelsea decides that since talking just gets her in trouble she’s just going to stop talking.  She writes a note to show her teachers letting them know about the change – some accept it, others respond with daily detention.  While it’s difficult to be silent, especially when being verbally harassed and bullied by her peers, the silence allows Chelsea to really think about who SHE is, without the outside influences of the in crowd.

I was never popular in high school.  Occasionally, I’d have a touch of envy because something the “popular” crowd did seemed fun, but even at fourteen, I recognized that popularity would require more work than I was willing to put into it.  I had a great group of friends so I enjoyed high school.   Anyway this made me really happy for Chelsea when she started making new friends during her vow of silence.  Friends that just wanted to be there for her and vice versa rather than because she could provide them with the “scoop”.

I haven’t said anything about the love interest because it’s really a back story.  I liked the relationship and felt it was well developed, but the romance wasn’t important in my enjoyment of this book.

I’m well past my teens at this point, but I still felt a huge connection to Chelsea and this book gave me a lot to think about.  I actually can think of one secret I told that wasn’t mine to tell and there were consequences (though no where near as disastrous as the aftermath in the book).  I still have some guilt over my part in that secret getting out.  I also have forgiven myself, but this book was a good reminder to think before speaking.  You can’t take it back once it’s out there.

Other Reviews 

My Rating
Enjoyability (4 out of 5 stars)

Character Development (5 out of 5 stars)

Writing (3 out of 5 stars)

This book will stay with me for at least 1 year.

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