Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Book Review: "Speechless" by Hannah Harrington

book cover image for speechless by Hannah Harrington
High school sophomore Chelsea Knot LOVES to spread gossip. She not-always-so-innocently discovers secrets about her fellow classmates and wastes no time using that information to get the best possible outcome. For herself. This means that most of the best gossip she gets is shared immediately with her best friend Kristin, so as to stay in Kristin's good graces. Because nobody wants to be on Kristin's bad side. Nobody. But Chelsea discovers, and spreads Noah's secret... and the end result is not the usual humiliation, but this time Noah is nearly killed in a brutal attack that results directly from his secret. Kristin warns Chelsea not to tell anyone what really happened to Noah... but can Chelsea really keep that kind of a secret? What happens if she can't?

I have to admit that it took me a little while to get into this book. Chelsea is just a character that I immediately hated. She's the typical YA protagonist - pretty but not beautiful, major self-esteem issues, garners all of her self worth from her best friend's approval and is head over heels in love with the Greek God version of a high school boy. The best friend is, of course, over the top beautiful and not a very nice girl in general but popular none the less. I really couldn't stand how shallow, self-centered and ridiculous Chelsea was, which is exactly the point. As I read on though, I really came to like her as she discovered who she really was and the person she wanted to be. The people she meets and befriends along the way are fantastic, and really kept me involved in the story long enough to change my mind about Chelsea. And I did change my mind about Chelsea. So while I wasn't really feeling this book when I started it, I ended up really enjoying it - and that had a lot to do with Chelsea. The writing is fresh and there are some really fun and sweet moments.

You should be aware that there is a lot of bullying going on in this book - everything from verbal abuse to very dangerous physical attacks. The bullying stems from a variety of reasons, and though mostly focuses on a certain characters in this story - you can see how these bullies have a long track record and how anyone could be targeted at their whim. It is a scary scenario, and one I think is far too real in many high schools today. While the majority of the teachers seemed to turn a blind eye to things happening right in front of their faces, I was glad when a student was able to approach and get results from one teacher in the school. I'd hope that today's teens have more resources and help available. This might be a great book for parents to read with teens, or for teen book clubs to open discussions and talk about ways to help stop bullying.

*****
Speechless
by Hannah Harrington
Harlequin TEEN, 2012
288 pages
Source:  Publisher for honest review
*****
Links for purchase:
Amazon
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3 comments:

readinpleasure said...

A fine review.

Jennifer said...

Sounds interesting. The cover really doesn't draw my attention but I'll definitely me adding Speechless to my reading list.

Irish said...

Great review...I like the idea of a redeemable character as its always hard to like a book when you just really don't like the MC.

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