Author: Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Harlequin Teen (2012)
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 couple of months ago I had the opportunity of taking a vow of silence as an experience. In honour of this same book, Speechless, I remained silent for a day, using only signs, a piece of paper and a pen as means of communication (if you’d like to read more about this personal journey of mine, you can check here). I can now say, with absolute sure—and I guess back then, too—, that I learned a lot, not solely about myself but about others as well, and, in a twisted kind of way, I believe I understand Chelsea’s actions and thinking a little bit better than the “average” reader.
Chelsea Knot made a mistake, a terrible, terrible mistake. She should have kept it to herself, she should have held quiet, but something inside of her forced her to spill it all out. Everyone got to know what he is. And he, Noah Beckett, almost lost his life because of it.
For someone who is used to be the core of every gossip, every rumour, to actually not spread something this big is highly complicated. I’m not going to tell you what the secret is, you must read the book to find out, but looking back and after truly analyzing what was said and what was done, I can only think that our society still has a long way to go towards equality and respect. I don’t really blame Chelsea for what she did, it was in her nature, it was who she was, who she portrayed to be, but I do censure her friends, or the ones she thought were her friends—Kristen for being a self-centred hypocrite, Warren and Joey for not accepting differences, and all the others for the way they treated her after the incident—because, in the end, she did redeemed herself, she did become a new and improved person, she did found happiness and real, true friendship, while the rest of the “popular group” simply didn’t.
I wish I could say that this book swept me off my feet, that the author’s creativity, boldness and writing style impressed me extremely, but unfortunately it wasn’t the case. I love that she picked a theme like this one, that she gave it a fun and uncommon twist—with the whole vow of silence situation—and that she, somehow, found a way of showing that people can, in fact, change and that sometimes all they need is a little push. Still, I wasn’t able to relate with any character in particular and after reading such an incredible and unforgettable book like Hopeless, it had to be a really special, exceptional and dazzling story if I was going to go crazy about it—for a second plot in a row.
Nevertheless, Speechless is the kind of story that you read out of curiosity because you seriously want to know when Chelsea is going to speak again—and, specially, due to what—, when is Sam going to kiss her, when is Andy going to forgive her, how is Noah going to be and, even more than all of this, how is she, Chelsea, going to handle every day to day without the possibility of using spoken speech. It was a good, unique read after all, just not an outstanding one. At least not to me.
«For once in my life, I wish everyone would just forget about me.»
«Not talking leaves me a lot of time alone with my thoughts and ever-growing paranoia. I've never been like this. So inside my own head.»
«I know now. You can be surrounded by people and still be lonely. You can be the most popular person in school, envied by every girl and wanted by every boy, and still feel completely worthless. The world can be laid at your feet and you can still not know what you want from it.»
«Not every chapter of my life is going to have a happy ending, but they all do need endings, regardless.»
«Hate is easy, but love takes courage.»