Saturday, 18 May 2013

Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Title: Speechless
Author: Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Mira Ink
Released: August 28th 2012
Pages: 272 (Paperback)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on 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.

I know from reading other reviews that most people picked up Speechless because they loved Saving June. I actually haven't read Harrington's debut novel (although it's now on my TBR list) - I just picked up Speechless and the synopsis immediately had my curious and asking questions; what secret had Chelsea shared that had gone so dramatically wrong?

Every high school has got one; the bullying, popular clique, who do anything that will make them look better. The main protagonist, Chelsea, is in that group - well, until she spills a secret she shouldn't know to begin with. Suddenly, everyone is against her; the culprits, her "friends", the victims - all because she couldn't keep her mouth shut. So she decides to change this by taking a vow of silence; if she can't talk, she can't hurt anyone else.

I usually find it difficult to like typically self-centred and "popular" characters - but not with Chelsea. At first, her quick-witted and catty remarks annoyed me, as it was clear she thought herself as a bit of a smartass. However, as the novel progressed, I actually began to like her comebacks and overall personality, and found she was actually quite a realistic character. Harrington has the amazing ability to write like how a teen thinks, and anything Chelsea said I could just relate to immediately. I also liked how Harrington never really concentrated on what the characters looked like - you got a brief description, and the rest was left to your imagination. This enables the reader to develop a much more personal connection to the characters, as they feel like they are more realistic as to being works of fiction.

I also liked the characterisation of all the secondary characters. Although they weren't the main narrative,  Harrington still took the time to personalise them all a bit, again adding to their realism. I actively despised Kristen, and I again thought it was a pretty accurate representation of the "popular" girl in school. I loved Asha and Sam and how willing they were to help Chelsea, even though they were the last people expected to do so. I even liked Andy - although he was a bit horrible at times, it was understandable, and towards the end, I adored his snappy, sassy attitude. Although Sam wasn't the typical, overly-ripped, sparkling and sexy love interest, I loved him. It's pretty obvious to say that I kind of dig the nerdy look, and he was just adorably perfect.

I thought the concept of the story was pretty unique - I mean, imagine not speaking for an extended amount of time? I remember a few years ago, I tried to raise money for Red Nose Day by doing a sponsored silence. Throughout the day, each time I accidentally spoke, I kept making rules up about how many times I could slip up and...well, let's just say that I slipped up a lot. So in one sense, it was a tad unbelievable that such a loudmouth would be able to be quiet for so long - but it was still interesting, and I think it teaches quite a valuable lesson - that actions can speak louder than words.

As I said, I've never read a book by Harrington - but if Speechless is anything to go by, then I need to get my hands on Saving June ASAP! If you're intrigued by the synopsis, then you must pick this up when you've got the chance; you won't regret it.
Rating: 5/5

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