Release Date: August 28th, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: This is a guest review by Heartless Lyn.
Blurb: Chelsea Knot can’t keep anything to herself. She uses the power of her gossip to gain a pass into the popular circle. So when she drunkenly shares a secret about a classmate, the result comes at a high price after the victim is brutally attacked. The aftermath of her careless decision, then her cooperation with the authorities rattles her entire world. She loses her friends, her status and her chance with her current crush. Shaken by her loss, Chelsea decides to take a vow of silence to keep from furthering the damage she has caused. Losing her voice, however, helps her gain a new found insight on who she is under the complicated layers of popularity and shallow acceptance. Chelsea soon befriends a group of students, peers that she gave little though to before her decision. As Chelsea discovers the value of people and friendship, she battles constantly bullies and the retaliation of her former popular best friend. Chelsea soon realizes what holds true value in her life as she braves the hostile environment of her former cliché at her school. After witnessing her life crumble and rebuild, Chelsea learns that not only can words can destroy, but decisions can save a life.
Review: This book could not have come to me at a better time. Speechless covers a number of important topics, each receiving an appropriate level of critique and care. The bullying mob in the book hits close to home as I watch some of my own book blogging friends deal with the aftermath of a group of slandering individuals attempting to wreak havoc in their lives. These individuals have spoken against the unfair treatment of other book lovers, and they have paid a high price for their courage. In Speechless, Chelsea battles something similar. She haphazardly shares a secret about a classmate which launches the entire plot of the book, but she also comes forward and confesses to the police when an act of violence results from her actions. She suffers the consequences and faces an ongoing battle at her school, but not because of her betrayal of the brutalized victim. When two of the popular jocks are taken into custody, resulting in Chelsea becoming a target for vandalism, she receives threats and is physically assaulted. Because she decided to do the right thing, she pays with her personal safety.
Secondly, this book has a very solid pro-homosexual point of view. This issue is a hotbed currently in the news, with the owner of a fast food chain, Chik-fil-a condemning gay marriage. I won’t bring in my own political beliefs–oh, who am I kidding, I’ll never set foot inside another one of their franchises EVER again, but we cannot deny that this issue is becoming an all out war. The book handles a gay relationship with care and tenderness, even in the face of a hate crime. The ending of the book will make you want to laugh and cry all at once. I had a wonderful warm fuzzy feeling during the last 15% of the story. WARNING: You’re going to need some tissues.
I also applaud the author for adding that the male population can be just as cruel as the female population. Typically in young adult novels, popular boys are utilized as props or prizes for female mean girls when popularity comes into the mix, but Hannington doesn’t let the boys off easily in this book. The guys hand out the same level of bitter bullying tactics. Don’t get me wrong, girls can be poisonous, but boys can be just as petty and passive-aggressive as girls. I am glad to see an author step up and point out that both genders can be spiteful and mean.