AUTHOR: Hannah Harrington
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
RELEASE DATE: August 28, 2012
There is no description on Amazon yet, so this is what Goodreads says about it:
The story of a girl named Chelsea Knot who takes a voluntary oath of silence after her gossip-mongering ways yield unexpected consequences…
The plus side: Where to begin? Speechless was one of those books that didn't just touch lightly on a subject, but unabashedly plowed right into it, bringing it boldly into the light. And it wasn't just one, it was many subjects. Being gay, and the cruelty that people often suffer because of it, as well as the festering cesspool of gossip, rumors, hate and general artificiality in high schools. They are all important issues, and Hannah Harrington expertly wove them all together in this beautiful story of mistakes, life lessons, and change.
Her characters were, as with everything else in the book, true to life. The protagonist, Chelsea, is a flawed character--as all characters should be, because, let's face it, no one is perfect. At the start of the book, you aren't supposed to like her, and you don't. She had problems, and not just one, and as such, she became so real in my mind that it pulled me into the story even more. Her dialogue and actions are so true to a teenager, that oftentimes when someone spoke to her, she had the exact same mental response that I had. Or that my teenage self would have had, rather. That made her so real, so alive.
And of course, since the story revolves around a high school, you get a vivid taste of high school and all of the drama, angst, and tension that comes along with it. The entire cast of characters stood out, each with their own personality, their own flaws, and their own quirks. And without getting spoilery, we have a love interest that we want Chelsea to end up with. I was rooting for him from the beginning, which just goes to show you that he was a real, well-developed character right off the bat. (I am picky about my love interests, too.)
The downside: Really, all I have to say is that the book isn't very long, and I love me a long book. But that is also sometimes typical of a contemporary novel, so it is hardly worth mentioning.
The bottom line: I recommend Speechless because it is not only some good food for thought, but it is also simply a good story, and it just might, at the risk of sounding lame, leave you speechless...