Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Speechless by Hannah Harrington

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Welcome back to Standalone Saturday, in which I feature a book that does NOT have a sequel or a prequel.


Review of
Speechless
by Hannah Harrington
To be published by Harlequin Teen
on August 28, 2012

Source: ARC from the publisher at BEA (Book Expo America.)  Read my review policy/disclosure here.




My summary:  Chelsea loves hanging around with her best friend Kristen. sneaking out behind her parents' backs to go to parties, laughing at those not lucky enough to be part of the in-crowd. Then one night, Chelsea finds out a secret. She could keep it to herself, but she can't resist spreading it around. Something terrible happens as a result. Hoping to gain some clarity, Chelsea takes a vow of silence. But she'll have to do more than that to make things right.

My thoughts: I loved Hannah Harrington's debut novel, Saving June, and so was super-excited to read this. (If you missed my review of Saving June, you can find it here.) Speechless cements my opinion that Hannah Harrington is a great new YA contemporary writer.

Hannah Harrington excels at writing female characters with an edge. Harper in Saving June tended toward the snarky and prickly. As Speechless opens, Chelsea is a little shallow. I'm full of admiration when an author takes a fairly unlikable character, then completely turns my opinion around. Chelsea isn't a horrible person, but she's one of those girls who is willing to do whatever it takes to stay popular. One night, she's been drinking and she's surrounded by her friends. She sees something she knows is gossip-worthy, and blurts it out to the group.
I don't know what I expected to happen when I told everyone. I guess I thought It'd be a funny story, or at least a memorable one. It'd be the kind of thing where later, every so often someone could bring it up by saying, "Hey, remember when Chelsea--"
The consequences of Chelsea's actions are horrible, and she does what she can to make things right. But she also remembers an article she read about a monk who took a vow of silence. So she decides to do the same.

Chelsea then discovers that listening can be more powerful than talking, that her so-called friends never really had her back, and that she's a stronger person than she knows. While I can't say there's anything surprising about most of this, I found the story gripping and emotionally moving. The writing is good, everything feels realistic, and even though I had a strong feeling about how things were going to turn out, I was seriously invested in this story until the very last page.

All the characters in Speechless had some surprises in store for me. By far my favorite was Asha the math nerd. I was a general nerd in high school, but without those math skills that would have come in handy later on! Sam is one of those where-were-the-boys-like-this-in-my-high-school guys, with his 90s movie references and general adorableness.

I definitely recommend Speechless and can't wait to read whatever Hannah Harrington writes next!

30 comments:

  1. This book sounds so good. I have to get to this one sometime. This sounds like a book that I would really enjoy. Awesome review!

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    1. Thanks -- I really am a huge fan of this author. Can't wait to see what she writes next!

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  2. Speechless sounds AWESOME! I loved Saving June as well -- I can't wait to get my hands on this one. I think Hannah Harrington is a wonderful writer!

    Great review, Jen!

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    1. If you loved Saving June, I think you'll love this. I was happy that the two books were completely different!

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  3. i still need to read a book by her. gr8 post

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  4. Great review. Everyone seems to love this one and I just happen to have it so no waiting!
    I love this feature Jen - we need more stand alone books in this world lol

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    1. I really enjoyed it!
      And yes, more standalones! It's my personal crusade :)

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  5. I read this last week too and I LOVED it (almost as much as Saving June!) Harrington's character's and voice remind me of Kody Keplinger, and I totally agree about loving when an author can take a rather unlikable character and make you cheer for them in the end. And did you catch Harper and Jake's cameo? Love it when author's do that! Great review, I'm glad you liked this one as much as I!

    Oh, and yes, Asha, Andy, Lou and Dex, and especially Sam all ROCK:)

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    1. Yes, but that cameo was way too brief! I love when Sarah Dessen does the crossover cameos, and I loved it here.

      And you're right, there are so many fantastic characters in this book. Loved it!

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  6. YAY! I loved this one too! It did feel real and had such a great message. I was worried I would hate Chelsea but I felt like she grew a ton and I was so proud she did the right thing right away. I kind of thought she was going to go to school and keep quiet until it ate away at her but she immediately told her parents and that was awesome. I loved Saving June as well!

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    1. Yeah, I didn't love her right off, and yet I felt sorry for her. She was so afraid that she'd lose her friends and social status if she didn't act a certain way. I was also happy that she wanted to face up to her mistake. And I totally agree -- I love that her parents were a presence in the book.

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  7. SPEECHLESS does look like a great read. I was interested to see what you had to say. So, thank you for your review.

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  8. eep, this sounds good and isn't lovely when you find a new author to love. Awesome review

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  9. I really love the sound of this book; I had initially avoided it after thinking I had disliked the author's previous book but that is untrue because I actually really liked Saving June (I confused her with someone else). I hope to be able to read this soon!

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    1. Well, I am very happy that I helped you straighten that out, because I think that Hannah Harrington is a great find for those of us who love contemporary!!!

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  10. This book sounds really good! Saving June is one that I really want to read, hopefully I will get the time to soon! I actually haven't read a contemporary in about a month.. ahh!!

    Thanks for the review :)

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    1. Ha ha - when that happens to me I swear I get withdrawal!!

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  11. I really got into this one too and can't wait to get chance to read Saving June.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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    1. It's really good! If you want to borrow my copy, let me know!

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  12. I TOTALLY WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE SECRET IS! Text me, please. Even if it's a spoiler.

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  13. I won a preorder of this and just got it in the mail. I have really wanted to read it ever since I saw the cover and the first, short synopsis that was on Goodreads. I just LOVE that cover for some reason, and I'm really glad that's the cover that I got!

    And I'm with you--I get annoyed with characters but I want them to have flaws and I love it when they start off annoying or full of flaws and the author peels back the layers of their personality a bit at a time and you realize that you really like the character! That's what's happening right now for me with It's Our Prom (So Deal With It). Great review, Jen, and I can't wait to read this one!

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    1. Hope you love it. Chelsea is definitely flawed, but I grew to love her!
      Can't wait to hear your verdict on Prom book!

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  14. I so agree - I LOVED Speechless to death! I stopped just short of 5 stars :D Saving June might not have been my kind of book, but Speechless... well, it left me Speechless is all I can say!

    Ana
    (P.S. Did you notice how my computer is finally letting me comment on blogs again? I could dance with joy!)

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    1. I loved Saving June too. I also loved that they're so different. Often an author will find a formula and just keep writing books that way...

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