Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Discussion: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Title: Speechless
Author: Hannah Harrington
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Goodreads | The Book DepositoryAmazon

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.
Review by Nara


Okay, so it's been a while since this book was released, so I'm going to do a discussion post again. If you want a spoiler-free review, have a look at Chantelle's. Again, brief non-spoiler bit before we go on to the good stuff (which is hidden under a spoiler tag).

Speechless is one of my favourite books. It's such a poignant novel about redemption and a form of sacrifice.  About doing what is right, and about one character's journey to find out what exactly that is.
Initially, bluntly put, main character Chelsea Knot is a bitch. A mouthy bitch at that.
After all, everyone knows that Chelsea Knot doesn't know how to keep her mouth shut.

She and her "best friend" Kristen are manipulative, status-seeking and yeah, basically, terrible people. While reading the first section of the book, it's actually unclear whether Chelsea really has any true friends.
Sometimes Kristen can be such a bitch. If she wasn't my best friend, I'd probably hate her.
So really, according to Chelsea, the only reason she likes Kristen is because she's her "best friend".

Although she initially seems rather dislikable, we do see glimpses of a character that we could, maybe, just possibly like:
(of Brendon Ryan) We've been caught in a wildly passionate, completely one-sided affair since freshman year.

Spoiler time!
Click me to read spoilers

(of Warren) But his smile is all wrong, twisted, and there's something else in his voice, too, warning me not to push it.
And so I don't. Because it's easier. It's easier to let them go.

At this point, I think we see how Chelsea acknowledges the fact that something is going to happen to Noah and Andy. Although clearly not the brutal beating that ensued, she did expect something. And that is perhaps one of the reasons why she felt so guilty afterwards, and led to her deciding to tell the truth.

Nothing has changed. I'm still the same Chelsea Knot. Bow down, bitches.

Running my mouth has hurt enough people already- the least I can do is shut up. Why can't everyone see I'm doing to world a favor?

I don't know who I am without Kristen. I don't know if I want to find out.
I find it rather interesting how there seem to be two sides of Chelsea following the start of her vow of silence. One side is still clearly quite dominant and sassy, but the other is uncertain and melancholic. We truly see her regret of what has happened, but at the same time, she doesn't quite know what to do with herself now that she's no longer the queen bee, so to speak.

I mean, Christmas is like the one time of the year where it's nice to have snow on the ground. Christmas without snow is like the Fourth of July without fireworks and barbecues, or wearing leggings as pants. Just wrong.
I think I speak for all those who live in Australia when I say awwww. Sadface.

There are some really beautiful quotations in Speechless that really speak to you (yes I realise that sentence is a bit ironic). There's something about how raw and how realistic they are that make them really quite powerful.
"Don't pay her attention," she [Asha] says. "She isn't worth it." (of Kristen)
I know Asha's right, logically. Now if only I could make my heart believe it.

(of Andy and Noah dancing) I wonder if she's thinking what I am. How it seems so impossible that someone could look at them, see how plainly they care for each other, and find anything ugly or shameful or worthy of hatred in it, when all I see is something beautiful.

And my favourite serious quote from the book:
"Hate's too easy," he says. His face is calm, calmer than it has any right to be, his eyes not wavering from mine, like he's so completely sure of what he's saying. "Love. love takes courage."

But of course, Chelsea's journey of "self-discovery" isn't the only thing awesome about this book. We can't miss out the absolutely swoon-worthy romance. One word: Sam. Sam is epic. He's so kind and sweet and geeky and cute. He's seriously one of my favourite male characters ever. EVER. (Also, I like how he has glasses. Hardly any love interests have glasses. It's kinda like, Sam has glasses. I HAVE GLASSES. WE ARE SOULMATES.)

"I'm no Marc Jacobs-" he starts, and when I raise my eyebrows he says "-and yes, I may have done a search for 'famous fashion designers' earlier solely so I could make that reference and impress you- but I figured the yellow would look okay with green. It does, right?"
Aw, he's so cute. Also, seriously, what a dork!

So really, I highly recommend reading this book. It's such a beautiful, realistic novel of mistakes, second chances, and a sweet romance. (+Sam. Can't ever forget Sam.)

Panacea Candidate

Overall: 10/10
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 4/5


  1. I actually requested this book from Net Galley a while back, but never got to it. I was considering adding it to my to-read list, when I came across your review. I think I might have to add it. Is her bitchy character supposed to be portrayed that way, or did you just find her bitchy? (Didn't read the spoilers.) Thanks for the heads up! :)
    Ana @ Characterized Book Reviews

    1. She's supposed to be like that, but it's only at the very start. It shows her growth as a character, because after she takes the vow of silence she begins improving :) And yeah, definitely add it to your to-read! It's an amazing book!