Author: Hannah Harrington
Release Date: August 2012
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Goodreads Rating: 4.11 stars
Review: 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.
SPEECHLESS opens with an intriguing concept that brought an issue that perhaps can be considered old into a new light. Although topics like gossip and harmful secret sharing are nothing novel in young adult fiction, I've never read a book about a vow of silence, so this intrigued me. The plot is engaging right from the first page and doesn't let up until the book is over, without sacrificing any character development.
As with most young adult books, this novel definitely had a romantic angle to it, which I was not sure would be entirely fitting for the story. To my pleasant surprise, it wasn't jarring at all and fit in relatively smoothly with the events of the book. The romance itself was sweet, although not terribly original. I do sometimes wish that there would be a romance to really shake things up without the same old, predictable line.
What did bother me, though, was the author's treatment of minor characters. As there should have been, there was a large focus on Chelsea and the emotional consequences of her actions, but I wanted to know more about what happened to Noah, Kristen, and her boyfriend, and how the book ended for them too. They were important elements of the story as well and to merely gloss over it felt wrong.
All in all, SPEECHLESS was not quite a book that left me speechless (I just can't resist the puns) but it was a good read nonetheless. The plot concept was intriguing and executed well, although I did wish for a more original romance and a broader focus than just her inner turmoil. I would recommend this to any fans of contemporary, but this is perhaps not the right book for anyone who does not already enjoy the genre.