Speechless by Hannah Harrington – Mini Book Review

Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Published by Harlequin Teen, an imprint of Harlequin 

From the publisher:

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.

it would have been so very easy for Speechless to seem gimmicky. I mean, the girl whose big mouth causes a world of hurt for multiple groups of people taking a vow of silence? Please.

But when Chelsea drunkenly outs a gay classmate at a party, the consequences of her inability to stop talking are really more than she knows how to handle, so a vow of silence seems almost reasonable, if a bit dramatic. Chelsea is a high school student, though, and for some teenagers, drama is the name of the game.

What could have been simply eye roll-inducing really worked here. Chelsea doesn’t simply refuse to talk, she spends time observing, listening, and getting to know people she would have walked all over a year earlier. Her growth happens realistically, which is perhaps the main thing that makes Speechless so enjoyable and ultimately meaningful. Recommended.

For more, please see my interview with Hannah Harrington for the SheKnows Book Lounge.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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High School Book Drive

My husband teaches high school math in the Western/Northwestern suburbs of Chicago; last week he came home telling me that his students were begging him to ask if I had some books I was finished with that he could bring in to them. Kids excited about reading get me really excited, so I went through my shelves purging things I was finished with and didn’t want to keep, as well as books I knew I was never going to get to. I even pulled out a few books I would have probably kept otherwise, because I knew they would appeal to his students.

The kids got their books on Tuesday and they were Over. The. Moon. about them. In fact, they wanted to know when I would have more for them. I had to tell them that sadly I probably couldn’t put together another bag like that until the end of the year, and even it would be a stretch.

Their excitement got me thinking, though. My husband’s school and district are going through really hard times budget-wise (what schools aren’t, really?). Many of the kids are immigrants or the children of immigrants, and 65% of the students are low-income, as opposed to the 39% state average. The school library has no funding, and many of the kids don’t have a ton of books in their houses, but they still love books.

So, I thought I’d see if my bookish friends have any books they would like to donate.

Books will go to interested students, the school library, and perhaps also some classroom libraries (depending partly on the quantity we get). The kids are interested in things that are YA, or adult books with YA crossover appeal. Historical fiction seems to be a big hit with the students, and I know that at least one US History teacher is interested history and historical fiction for his classroom library.

Since my passion is early literacy, I’ll donate $10 for every 50 books we receive (up to $200) to First Book, which will buy an ADDITIONAL 5 new books for younger children, thus increasing your donations by 10%.

We need the books by mid-May at the latest, so if you are sending media mail (which I would encourage you to do if sending within the US, it is a much cheaper option), please mail the books by the end of April. I will provide periodic thank yous/updates on the books received.

Books can be sent to:

High School Book Drive
C/o Jen Karsbaek
738 E Dundee Rd #194
Palatine, IL 60067

If you are planning to send books, please take a moment to fill out the form, so we know how many to expect, and so we have your information to properly thank you.


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