by Hannah Harrington
Published: September 2012 by Mira Ink
Version: Ebook from publisher and Netgalley (review my own, honest opinion)
Rating: 4.5 sofas
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.
I was excited to read this as I have heard nothing but good things about it. The idea seemed pretty simple; a loudmouth girl whose outbursts had serious consequences decides to take a vow of silence.
However, the story runs much deeper than that. It explores as teenagers (and adults) how easy it is to give into peer pressure. And how we convince ourselves that things we say or do aren’t really *that* bad. This book turns that all on a head, and shows that actually the little things can have dire results. And even if we might not remember it, something we say or do can have a profound effect on someone else, and therefore we should really think before we act.
The idea of taking a vow of silence baffles me. Obviously it would be totally impractical in a working day, but it is such a powerful notion in this book. It really highlights how much we rely on our voice, and different ways of expressing it.
Although this book focusses on silence, ironically, it is also about speaking out. Chelsea is an easy target because she can’t really fight back. But does this allow her to be bullied?
Ultimately Speechless is about Chelsea’s journey of self discovery. Learning that being cool or popular doesn’t always equate with being happy. You should never have to be horrible to someone or hide your true self in order to gain friends. Asha is the personification of this; she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. And if that means she is ignored or bullied by the ‘popular’ group, then thats okay because she is true to herself.
I fell in love with Speechless. I adore issue books and this one certainly did not disappoint. It hit me a lot deeper than I expected, with the writing both emotional and beautiful. Perfect for any teenagers, it highlights the importance of standing up for yourself and not following the crowd. Highly recommended; 4.5 sofas!