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.
◆ A copy was provided by Harlequin for review ◆
Chelsea reminds me of Sam from Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall in that both are characters that are hard to like at first. While she has somewhat of a sense of right and wrong, she's also pretty clueless about the implications of her actions. All she wants is a little fun. But then her idea of fun sets in motion events that send a boy to the hospital, and she takes a vow of silence, believing that no good can come out of her words. Her story that follows is one of self-discovery, love, and forgiveness.
Though Chelsea can be pretty insensitive, she's well-meaning at heart and a likable character. As much as she cares about some shallow things, she's willing to make sacrifices to do what her heart tells her is the right thing to do, and she proves capable of learning from her mistakes. That isn't to say that she has strong conviction. The whole reason that she takes the vow of silence is because she doesn't trust herself to say the right things. This made her all the more endearing and realistic. As much as I love a strong, independent female character, I also love the ones that need encouragement and support to move forward.
The side characters were equally quirky and endearing. I love the cast the work at the diner. They're a bunch of fun characters that I would love to be friends with. They're down to earth and not afraid to call people out on their b***s***. (Yeah, there's some language flying around here, but not THAT much.) I don't want to start naming all the individual characters because that would be another review on its own; just know they're awesome, and I wish they had more screen time. If I have (and am) to give a special callout to someone though, it has to be Sam. I love me a dorky, imperfectly cute boy, and the scenes between him and Chelsea are so, so cute and giggle worthy. They had me smiling, in my happy place. They are beautiful and precious.
I especially love how, while the book tackles some deep issues, it does so with fun and humor. It fits in with Chelsea's personality and make the book a quick, easy read. I also love how Chelsea is close with her parents. While she does sneak around a little, her parents are a constant presence, and it is obvious that her family is close-knit despite the problems they encounter. The only complaint I really have about the story is that the narration jumps around a little and doesn't really explain how some things come to be or does so later in the story, such as Sam deciding to befriend Chelsea. Something or someone would be mentioned here, and then it will pop up again later. Plot threads and characters weren't developed all that much, though not to the point that it's unbearable.
Overall, Speechless is another powerful contemporary story from Hannah Harrington. While there are some problems with the writing, the message comes across, and I very much enjoyed the light style of writing. This is certainly a book that I will be recommending.