'Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.'- Angela Carter

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

REVIEW: Speechless - Hannah Harrington

 Speechless - Hannah Harrington
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.

*Received in exchange for an honest review*
*Thanks you, Harlequin Teen*

"Hate is... It's too easy. Love. Love takes courage.”

 The first thing I will say about this book is that the cover does not do it justice. It's a book that I've seen in Waterstones and W H Smiths often but I'd never picked it up because it just gave off the vibe of 'not being my thing'. When this book appeared on Edelweiss under a white cover, I clicked to read the synopsis and was drawn in. Massive lesson in the don't just a book by its cover! I have to say though, the cover does not convey how beautiful, heartfelt and emotional that this book is. I didn't expect this book to deal with such dark issues and this continued for the first couple of percent of the book. It uses typically teen 'popular kid' language so I was completely blown away when the book took a darker turn.

“Running my mouth has hurt enough people already - the least I can do is to shut up.”

Chelsea is known for being a loud-mouth. Her inability to keep secrets is well known and this is the character that we meet at the beginning of the novel. She comes across as a lap dog to the 'popular' girl of the novel, Kristen. One false move in which Chelsea reveals one secret too many is what it takes to make her world crumble. I don't want to reveal too much but I did not see the reaction of the other students coming. It blew me away and I felt that Hannah Harrington dealt with this issue beautifully. Things get from bad to worse for Chelsea as the novel progresses, but we begin to see true character shining through - a personality which is so far from the bitchy, self-obsessed girl that she appears to be at the beginning.

“But even though I know my flaws are many (many many many), and there are always ways I could be better, and I should never stop working for that—I also need to give myself a break. I can cut myself some slack sometimes. Because I’m a work in progress. Because nobody is perfect. At least I acknowledge the mistakes I’ve made, and am making. At least I’m trying. That means something, doesn’t it?
And just because I have room for improvement doesn’t mean I’m worthless, or that I have nothing to offer to, like, the world.”

One of the key parts of the novel is Chelsea's taking a vow of silence. It was such a difficult thing to read - she suffers so much abuse due to result of her actions by the 'popular' kids of the school and she refuses to talk to defend herself. Her vow of silence is her attempt at not hurting any more people. I found it incredibly strong of her to give up talking in order to make up for the ill she has caused. Harrington manages to portray how important the use of words is through this novel. The relationships Chelsea builds are so strong, honest and pure compared to the old friendships she had. I loved the messages of this book and I really am looking forward to reading more books by the author.

“I’m still the same Chelsea Knot. Bow down, bitches."

With a message on the mistreatment of the LGBT community, the importance of being yourself and the consequences of mistreating others, Speechless is definitely a special book. I definitely recommend it. It's tough, heart warming and nothing like I expected. A lovely surprise in a book that I - more fool me - often snubbed based on appearance alone. A lesson that I've learnt through the actual story line, funnily enough. 

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