Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Teen (28 Aug 2012)
Firstly, kind thanks to the publishers, for granting me the permission to review this book via Netgalley, for no charge, for an honest review. This book was read on my kindle.
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.
Firstly, many thanks to the publishers for granting me access to review this book, for which it was kindly received via Netgalley. This was read on my Kindle and the review is of my honest opinion. When i saw this book and realised who the author is, i did a little scream of delight because i absolutely adored her debut book 'Saving June'. Even now almost three months on, i still think about that book because it had such a lasting impression. Now i know this book isn't connected to the debut book in any way, other than the author connection, but still, i had to read this. After reading the synopsis, i thought it sounded fantastic and i was hooked. Obviously because of this, i had set high expectations! The cover whilst plain and boring can also be seen as quite intense in relation to the story and the title, but i would not have picked this up if i knew nothing about it because it doesn't appeal to me.
The plot is quite straightforward really, set with high school kids as most contemporary YA novels are, leading to obvious assumptions about possible themes that seem commonplace amongst teens. The main character Chelsea is part of a 'popular' girl group (we all had them in high school i am sure) but to put it bluntly, she is really being used by the leader of this group, yet she doesn't realise it and is a follower wanting to impress. This means Chelsea is quite horrid at the start, and gossiping about people, spreading rumours/lies, telling people's secrets and making people miserable. Hence, i really disliked her initially because i just could not relate to her; i hate seeing people get hurt and followers are just not themselves, they don't use their own mind, making them weak in character.
One night, everything changes, Chelsea sees something she shouldn't and once again she shoots her mouth off to all those who will listen to gain attention, regardless of anything else. This leaves someone's life in the balance and she is given a 'wake up call' in regards to her actions. She decides to stop gossiping and telling secrets/rumours by not using her voice, hence 'Speechless', perfect title! and she also does something quite impressive to try and 'correct things', which was a commendable action. This action is hated by her 'friends', who then turn their back on Chelsea and she finally realises that they aren't her real friends at all. Unfortunately, she does experience a lot of bullying at school for standing up for what is right; which is so sad to read because she did the right thing, infact it was heartbreaking to read about and made me feel uncomfortable. It leads Chelsea onto a path of self-discovery whereby she also finds new opportunities and new friends, but is there any forgiveness from them or herself? Well you will have to read for yourself.
After Chelsea did this commendable action and onto her path for self-discovery, i started to like her and i loved being in her mind as such She absolutely wanted to change, she knew her mistakes and was learning from them- she really needed to forgive herself though and i have to say that i started to feel sorry for her. Throughout the rest of the novel, i really did like her and took to her. There are several other side characters with means lots of names which i won't go into them all; her 'old' not real friends who are just nasty b*tches and then there is her new friends; Sam, Asha, Lou, Andy etc (her only communication with them is through text and notes) who are lovely, warm-hearted and funny. I adored them as they seemed really nice and funny too, i could totally relate to them. There is even a love interest for Chelsea and it's so cute, i wanted her to be happy. To get to know each other they have to use texts and notes since she doesn't speak, not even with him. There isn't a huge amount of romance in the book but it's a lovely friendship that is developing into a budding relationship.
I really did enjoy the book, it definitely improved as it went along but for me that was due to the characters and how i felt towards them. Not only that but there is underlying lessons inside for teens who read this book; around high school with peer pressure and friendship, around bullying and showing that even when standing alone is difficult, it is still possible to do the right thing. On the lines of self-discovery and how Chelsea feels, i have included a quote, which is her thoughts, it shows how far she has come and how strong she it.
".....except that night didn't change my life. I changed it. I have to stop acting like i have no control over these things. Like i'm letting them just happen to me. These are my choices. For better or worse"Such a powerful quote in my opinion. This is what i love about the author's writing style, she can evoke so many emotions in the reader, enabling bonds to be made with the characters, she kind of gets under your skin and just pulls you in. You can read so easily and so much at once because her writing just flows beautifully. She does the same with the 'Saving June', this lovely writing ability that she possess, but like i said you cannot compare the books, I loved them both. I loved this and really enjoyed it, I HIGHLY recommend this book for everyone to read because you will really enjoy it. Does Chelsea speak again? You will have to wait and find out. I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars.