Thursday, 15 November 2012
Thursday Thoughts: Book Review of Speechless by Hannah Harrington
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publishers via Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.)
Chelsea Knot doesn't know when to shut up. Until she opens her mouth and reveals a big secret, which leads to someone getting hospitalised. In response, Chelsea finds the strength to confess what happened, then vows to stay silent for good. Shunned by her old friends for her apparent betrayal, but helped by the people closest to the hospitalised boy, can she ever forgive herself?
Perhaps surprisingly for a book centering on a girl's vow of silence, the strongest point here is Chelsea's voice. As she did in her debut Saving June, Harrington has created an excellent main character. It's easy to dislike her at first due to her thoughtlessness at the start of the book, but hard not to warm to her as she's so desperate to atone for her actions. Her communications with others through text messaging, whiteboards and other non-verbal ways is entertaining and touching, especially when romance develops between her and one of Noah's friends.
The other characters are generally good although I had to say that a couple of characters, particularly Chelsea's new best friend Asha were perhaps a tiny bit too perfect for me. On the other hand, some of the more minor characters, particularly Chelsea's ex-best friend Kristen and her initial crush Brendon, are really well-developed and completely believable. I also thought Chelsea's relationship with her parents, as she tried to cope with their disappointment with her behaviour and their concern over her vow of silence, was very well-portrayed.
This deals with some tough issues including bullying, hate crimes and homophobia. Harrington's writing style is easy to read and hard to put down. Following on from the excellent Saving June this is definitely one which establishes her as an author to watch out for in the future.