Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Speechless, Hannah Harrington

Title: Speechless
Author: Hannah Harrington (author website | blog)
Release Date: 29 August by Harlequin TEEN Australia
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 star

In Saving June, a story essentially about loss and grief, Hannah Harrington showed us light, hope and joy. So it comes as little surprise that her sophomore offering, Speechless, a story about a shallow, nasty mean-girl has unexpected depths, its own heartbreak, and a moving, poignant message that may just leave you speechless.

From Goodreads:
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's has taken a vow of silence--to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting everyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets if hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in 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.

The Story

Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret. Hell, even if it's not a secret she revels in being the first to know and passing it on. Until now.

At a drunken party, Chelsea sees something it’s not her business to tell a soul. But she does. The next thing she knows a boy’s nearly killed, two of her friends are in jail, her best friend hates her, and she’s gone from popular, untouchable princess to loathed social pariah.

Chelsea knows her mouth got her in trouble, so her solution? Keep it closed. Taking a vow of silence, Chelsea starts to change... and begins to realise maybe she hasn’t lost so much after all.

The 101

Chelsea Knot is... difficult. Selfish, nasty, and sidekick to a mean girl who makes Regina George look like an angel, she’s difficult to like... but then she’s not. Chelsea’s not a character you can dive straight into, and connect with from the page one, but nor should she be. Harrington doesn't ease you into her characters. She doesn't compromise authenticity for likeability, rather allowing empathy to be a force that builds. And it does. Chelsea grows from a cruel, self-righteous, self-centred girl to someone more: Someone innately good, while losing none of her defining fire; someone deserving of empathy, and her own story. She grows throughout Speechless, and that growth is wonderfully rewarding as a reader
“Even in the movie of my own life, I’ve never been the heroine. I’ve never been Action Girl. I’ve only ever been Kristen’s supporting character.”
At her lowest, though, Chelsea is never irredeemable. She makes mistakes—big, potentially life threatening ones—but makes difficult choices to right them, her vow of silence amongst these. The vow lends Speechless an introspective tone and a unique view on a number of its aspects. We see Chelsea’s growth intimately and clearly as the story progresses—even when she does not—and it allows Harrington’s marvellous secondary characters to shine.

Harrington’s characters are imperfect. They have rough edges, flaws, and foibles, and it makes them magnificent. It’s a person’s imperfections that make them perfect for telling a story, whether it be a—rightly so—angry guy named Andy, the unexpected, lovely, quirky new friend, Asha, or something more: a special, sweet, unfathomably nice boy named Sam.
“Who you love... that isn’t important. It doesn’t change who you are, or how much we love you. Nothing could change that.”
Harrington doesn’t tip-toe around the very real issues she sets out to address, and Speechless is a story as much about the evils of ignorance, bigotry and hatred as it is friendship, love and acceptance. She approaches the insidious nature of homophobia with sensitivity and bravery, questioning casual acceptance of the status quo, and examining what ‘love’ really means.
“Hate is... it’s too easy,” he says. “Love. Love takes courage.”

The Verdict:

Speechless is a tale of many things: love, hate and acceptance; the power of words, forgiveness and friendship. Harrington’s writing and insights are a joy, as are her cast of characters; their ‘AHA!’ moments resonate deeply, and fans will enjoy a brief but charming cameo from Harper and Jake, the protagonists of her superb debut, Saving June. Sweet, funny, poignant and heartbreaking, Speechless is a remarkable offering from an inimitable talent.
“I was never happy before, and I never even realized it. 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.”
An enormous thank you to Harlequin TEEN Australia for providing a review copy of Speechless

52 comments:

  1. A cameo appearance from Harper and Jake? Yay! I'm actually a little bit nervous about reading this book because I loved Saving June SO MUCH and don't want to be disappointed. It sounds like I don't have to worry and this book will be wonderful, too. As always, lovely review, Sarah!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES! Sarah, seriously, I FLIPPED out and full-on squealed :D

      I was seriously worried coming into this one, too. Saving June is in my top 10 books of all time, but it didn't dissapoint. Promsie ;)

      Delete
  2. I turned down this book from the publisher, just becausue it didn't sound like my kind of read . . . even if I loved Saving June. But I'm glad you really enjoyed this book. Lovely review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I REALLY enjoyed it, Erin! Seriously, there are only so many books you can read, but it's a quick one if you get the chance :D

      Delete
  3. Wow, just wow, Amazing review Sarah!!! This book sounds incredible, and each quote was impeccably placed! I really want to read this realistic book on changing into a better person. I'm glad Chelsea doesn't change her overarching personality as she changes throughout the story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, Rachel! THANK YOU! I loved it so much, and Hannah is so SO quotable.

      Delete
  4. I am really looking forward to reading this. I am glad you enjoyed it and have positive things to say about it. Great review :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Cindy! It's a wonderful book from a seriously wonderful author. I hope you love it ♥

      Delete
  5. Wonderful review! I love the way you write and I'm so glad you enjoyed this! I loved this one as well and can't wait to see what Harrington comes up with next! :D

    ~Keertana
    Ivy Book Bindings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, Keertana, you're making me blush! Thank you! I really loved it, and I'ms o glad you did, too!

      Delete
  6. Harrington's characters ARE imperfect, I completely agree with that. Saving June's Harper was a tough one for me to like at first, but I always appreciated how realistic she was. I can't wait to get stuck into Speechless soon. Fantastic review as always, Sarah! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sam! THANK YOU! I LOVED it, and... I LOVE that Hannah's characters are raw and real.

      "Harper was a tough one for me to like at first, but I always appreciated how realistic she was."

      THIS!

      Delete
  7. I LOVE that Hannah doesn't give us cardboard cut-out heroines, but ones that NEED work, who are worthy of the kind of journey she writes. It just wouldn't work half as well with your standard-issue heroine. I ADORED so many of the secondary characters and really grew to love Chelsea as the novel progressed.

    This review... just..

    and.

    YES, SARAH. TO IT ALL.

    As Hannah gives us books worthy of the favourite shelves, you give us reviews worthy of book blurbs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I LOVE that Hannah doesn't give us cardboard cut-out heroines, but ones that NEED work, who are worthy of the kind of journey she writes."

      BRODIE!!!!!!! YES YES YES YES! THIS! *triple underlines*

      I seriously love Hannah. I'm DYING to know what she gives us next! ♥

      Delete
  8. What a powerful story. After reading your review, I cannot wait to read Speechless. Thank you for such a thoughtful review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Andrea, thank you! Hannah's proven she's a master at that--powerful stories. I hope you LOVE! ♥

      Delete
  9. This sounds AMAZING. Sarah, your review is just aaaahhh. Especially your description of Chelsea. I can't wait to read this for myself!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *hugs* ALEX! THANK YOU! I seriously loved everything about it. I hope you did, too! I knwo you loved SJ :)

      Delete
  10. I really enjoyed Saving June, so I will definitely be giving this a look. Great review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you love it, Sophie! Hannah nails it again.

      Delete
  11. This sounds like an awesome read! I can't wait to read it. I really loved Saving June! I do like this cover -- the other one is super minimalist. This one is eye-catching, too!

    Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I LOVE the AU cover for it! Actually, I love both. The US cover is GORGEOUS! Hope you love :D

      Delete
  12. I love, love, loved this book so I'm happy to see you did too :) Hannah is one talented lady!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so so SO happy to see everyone's talking about how much they loved it. It deserves the praise--so glad you loved, M! ♥

      Delete
  13. I got this author's name confused with another author so I had avoided this book. I quite enjoyed Saving Jane and I would love to give this book a try too (I feel so dumb; I could have requested a review copy).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahahaha! I'm sure I've done that before--completely misattributed an author/work. I really hope you love it if you get a chance to read! ♥

      Delete
  14. Mehr. Not sure if it's for me. I liked your review though.

    Oh, but I like the cover.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a WONDERFUL book, but knowing your tastes, I think you might be right. Hannah's a truly AMAZING writer, and she does what she does flawlessly, but it might be a little more to the teen/contemp side for you ;)

      Delete
  15. I LOVE your use of quotes, these are definitely my favorite throughout the whole book. Agreed. Hannah's character's usuallly start off selfish and overall are not very relatable, caring characters. We might not be fans of them at the beginning but by the end, after experiencing and joining them on tough, testing journey, we end up really caring for them.

    Your review is gorgeous. It put's mine to shame ;D *huggles*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *HUGGLES* BECCCCCAAAA! THANK YOU! And I SO don't put yours to shame xx

      Delete
  16. gr8 review. i hope to read it soon

    ReplyDelete
  17. I need to get to this soon! I have this and haven't had a chance to read it yet. Harper and Jake make an appearance! I didn't know that!! I'm so excited to hear that. Wonderful review. Excellent review Sarah.

    I'm going to follow you GFC. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rachel! I really hope you enjoy it, and I FREAKING THE FLIP OUT when Jake and Harper showed up! ♥

      Delete
  18. Weee! I got this on a whim but now I am totally glad I went for it.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love the way you structure your reviews! I'm really looking forward to this one, and your review has me hopeful (especially those quotes!). YES to what you said about empathy being a force that builds - that's so important in a book like this, and it's what made books like Before I Fall work. It's all about the characters, and from what you've said it sounds like Hannah Harrington has done a great job! I haven't read Saving June yet, but I'm so excited to read her stuff. Fantastic, well-written review, Sarah!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eep! Thank you! I'm seriously flattered ♥
      I still need to read Before I Fall, but can't wait. I met Lauren earlier in the year, and she's LOVELY. Hearing her talk about it only makes me want to read it more, but I LOVE that in a book. The growth of a character, and the slow build of affection. It's like a growing friendship ♥

      Delete
  20. Hannah Harrington's characters, I think, aren't someone that you can easily like but she lets us learn and know them and understand their situation so we'll be able to connect with them. Brilliant review, Sarah! Glad to hear positive things about this one. And oh, a cameo from Harper and Jake!? Awesome! Can't wait to start it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Eunice! I really loved it SO much, and I LOVE that her characters are ones you grow with. AND YES! H&J! ♥

      Delete
  21. Awesome!! Review! I have Speechless here, I just want to pluck up nerve to reading Saving June , I have had it for a long time . I started it but the suicide thing had me running for cover. My bff's brother committed suicide and I know of two other friends and WOW! I wasn't ready. There is the crossover thing so I MUST read Saving June. Being there for my friend at such a horrific time and how she didn't cope at all... yeah, I dived for cover with Saving June, so I need to man up and read it. I know it is a journey of after and a road trip, but I ran....but I will read it:D

    Lovely work on this review!

    Michelle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Michelle... wow.
      I SO understand not being ready, and... wow. I think what I loved about Saving June is that it WASN'T using suicide as a plot device. It's not the event, then 'it's OK because they have an awesome roadtrip!' There's this very real, raw depiction of grief.

      The way Hannah handles it, I wondered if there was something personal there. It seemed... quite carthartic, and there's a kind of healing in it, and... it effected me very deeply. Speechless is a lot lighter, but has a *very* strong message I really appreciated. I hope you love, Mich! ♥

      Delete
  22. I love your description of Chelsea-- she definitely does grow at the story progresses, and become a much nicer person. How sweet was Asha? I loved her!

    Great review! I'm a new follower via GFC.(:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the follow, Ria! I ADORED Asha, she was beautiful, and I LOVED watching Chelsea grow. SO glad you loved it, too! ♥

      Delete
  23. Wow. Just... wow. This review is awesome! Speechless sounds incredible! I AM EXCITED! I need to read this book! I've yet to read Saving June, so I guess I should remedy that quite quickly. Thanks for the amazing review, Sarah!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JOOOO! *HUGS*
      Thank you! But seriously, it's the book that's amazing, huh? I'm kind of dying from excitement for book 3!

      Delete
  24. Yay, I'm so glad you loved this one, Sarah! Speechless was one of my favourite reads this year, so my heart always gives a little flutter when I see a positive review of it. :) Lovely, lovely review! You articulated my exact thoughts perfectly.

    “Hate is... it’s too easy,” he says. “Love. Love takes courage.”

    Ah, such a powerful quote. I love it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm SO with you there, Leanne! It's my fave contemp of the year, definitely. And that quote is PERFECTION, right? ♥

      Delete
  25. I totally missed out on getting Saving June from NG but there's no way I'm NOT going to snatch up this one after the lovely review you just gave it! *runs to NG* Right, now that I have that downloaded! :)

    I LOVE THIS REVIEW. Damn Sarah, I don't know how you manage to shock me with the GORGEOUS reviews you write every single time but you do. I love in particular how you describe Hannah Harrington's characters and it's something that I'm definitely eager to see for myself.

    Amazing review! <3 I'm so glad you liked it.

    Sonia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DJHDFALJDFH. SONIA. MY BRAIN. And the ego. You know, with the exploding? And the... eep. Thank you! It's SUCH a wonderful book and I can't WAIT to see what you though! ♥

      Delete
  26. asdfhjkl.

    THIS.
    THIS REVIEW.
    RIGHT HERE.

    Damnit woman. Why do you have to write so gloriously?

    I agree with everything you said and more. And THIS is my favourite quote of the ENTIRE book;

    “Hate is... it’s too easy,” he says. “Love. Love takes courage.”

    just... gah... speechless. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eeep... but... uh... I don't know how to take a compliment? FAYZER. THANK YOU.

      That quote is AMAZING, RIGHT? I ADORE. ♥♥♥

      Delete

LinkWithin


Currently Reading:

Follow Me

Can't see Google Friend Connect? Join This Site

Blog Archive

Want an e-mail notification when there's a new post at saz101? Enter your e-mail, and the Feedburner faeries will answer your wishes ♥

 

I receive books from publishers, in exchange for honest reviews. When this is the case, I state so at the end of each post. This doesn't effect my review of the book, or my opinion, and I receive no monetary compensation for anything posted on this site.
When you click on a link to Amazon from www.saz101.com, I receive a small referral fee on any purchases made. It won't cost you any more to buy your books this way, but it does help to support this blog.
If you have any questions about any of the content on this site, contact me :)