5 October 2012
Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Release Date: August 28th 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTeen Australia
Add it: Goodreads
How do I even begin this review? I'll be honest, I had no idea what I was expecting but it was what I got. Speechless has got to be one of my favourite contemporary reads, well, ever.
Chelsea Knot is one of those girls in highschool, she is a sarcastic, gossip spreading bitch who knows everything about everyone (that's why her hair is so big, it's full of secrets - it's not really that big, and I just had to throw that in there) and has absolutely no problem with that being her reputation as long as she is at the top of the social ladder. Until, that is, a secret she tells nearly costs somebody their life. Chelsea is overwhelmed with guilt and goes on a vow of silence, not for a spiritual journey, but to learn to keep her mouth shut once and for all.
At first, Chelsea is someone who is written to be hated, but no matter how judgemental and stuck up she was in the beginning, I still loved her character from start to finish. Maybe because she was such a real character or maybe it was because hell, she reminds me of myself. She is sarcastic, swears too much ('asshole' and 'fuck' seem to be a favourite of hers, as well as mine) and can be a snappy bitch. Also, I feel as if Chelsea and I have the same sort of vocabulary, for example she says "This is legit" at one stage - that is basically my motto if life lately, and GOD, the way she ends her silence is so sassy and ugh. I just love her. Her best friend is the prettiest, most selfish, popular chick at school and their friendship isn't what you'd call real. It's an illusion created by the need to fit in. After Chelsea spills that secret, and the person in question almost dies, she turns the culprits in which results in Chelsea being shunned, ridiculed and bullied - she finally realises what it's like to be on the other end of bullying and this is what makes her grow so much; not only the vow of silence, but being on the other side of the fence. So while I understand she isn't likable to begin with (although, dammit she is FUNNY - I appreciate sarcasm, it's actually a quality I love!), her character development throughout the novel is incredible. She doesn't just take the vow of silence and learn nothing from it; she meets new people, learns what TRUE friendship is (none of this self-righteous "I'm better than you" shit) and learns that it can be better for you as a person to be a nice person because being nice makes you feel better than being nasty.
The entire novel is really about Chelsea's growth as a person. Some very nasty things happen to her and none of it is deserved in my opinion - no matter how nasty you were, everybody makes mistakes - and just when you think Chelsea might give up her vow of silence or retaliate to the bullies, she doesn't. She handles everything so admirably considering how horribly she is bullied and then you begin to see her break. It's when she starts to break that she truly begins to realise how much her old friends are assholes and that it's so much easier to treat people like human beings.
The friends she makes as a result of her ordeal are wonderful. They are all such unique, real, beautifully flawed characters and are the perfect kind of friends for Chelsea to learn from. Her friends aren't all open arms to her at first (except Asha because she is waaay too kind!) which is completely understandable on many levels but they eventually grow together and all of the characters end up meshing together in one perfect not-perfect little group.
There was romance in this too and OMG IT WAS EXECUTED BEAUTIFULLY. The romance had a perfect pace and started off slowly. Sam is my new fictional crush (I don't care if he would realistically be too skinny for my liking, he is so sweet). That's it. Just wanted to put that out there. The romance is realistic, cute, awkward and just a bit painful to read (COME ON, YOU KNOW YOU WANT EACHOTHER) and the two of them together just made me feel all happy and giddy inside.
Speechless was one of the most powerful novels I've ever read. It affected me so much because words can hurt people and words are powerful. I was a firm believer in trying to see the best in people and not deliberately hurting people beforehand anyway, but I highly recommend this to everybody. It's such a powerful message and I think every single person who reads this will take something away from it. I've not read Saving June, but I will be soon! (Oh look, that rhymed).
Thankyou HarlequinTeen Australia for providing me with a review copy. This has in no way affected my review