Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

First appeared on Goodreads, July 30, 2012

It's official! Hannah Harrington is now one of my favorite peeps for contemporary YA! Saving June was an awesome debut, but Speechless was a follow-up that blew the grading curve.

Chelsea Knot is not known for keeping secrets, but she never expected someone to get hurt. When a boy she outed as gay gets beaten up, she experiences a crisis of conscience, goes to the police, and then decides that the world would be better off if she shut up for good.

I don't know what is it about Hannah Harrington's books, but there's something about them that really sparkles. I'm like an old mother-in-law, checking the house to make sure her daughter cleaned everything up, and tutting whenever I realize that even the top of the drawers is dust free (totally stole that analogy from Terry Pratchett) - I feel uneasy reviewing books I love, but at the same time, I'm happy that an author I love has written another great book.

I love the characters. I love the dialogue. I love to see people maintaining their optimism and energy, even when things get tough. I love to see white guys not abusing their privilege, and ladies who aren't afraid of standing their ground. 

Of course, it's all a matter of personal preference, but Speechless strikes a pretty good balance between a coming-of-age story and a true portrayal of some real issues people meet every day. Granted, there were some parts that seemed a bit too cheesy or on-the-nose, and there were some characters I wish Harrington explored more, but that's more of a personal preference matter than one of general quality. And it is worth noting that even at its cheesiest, this book made me wanna fist-pump and sing "We Are The Champions" because I loved the characters so much!

But ultimately, this is a book about Chelsea's journey. Her vow of silence makes it possible not only for her to see what's important (I know, I know, bear with me), but also to step back and realistically examine the reasons why things happened the way they did. She acknowledges her blame and takes responsibility, but she also realises why she was never able to keep secrets to begin with. She's very stubborn and spunky, but by the end of the book, by the end, you can tell she came out as much stronger, more confident person.

And I think this is what really makes the book for me.

Note: A copy of this book was provided by the publishers via NetGalley.


Note: Image via Goodreads.

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