To celebrate the recent release of Speechless, Hannah Harrington's sophomore novel, I've got not only my review for why I loved this book so much, but a chance for you to win a copy, as well as info about the Love is Louder campaign!
Speechless explores the real-life teen issues of bullying, mean girls, LGBT awareness and hate crimes. Compared to the many books already out about bullies, Harrington’s novel stands out for its authentic voice and unflinching portrayal of what it means to be part of the bullying. In October 2012, Harlequin TEEN will be releasing a brand new survey that has interviewed 1,500 girls between 13-18 years old on the subject of bullying.
Raw, powerful, and layered, Speechless pulls in several painful elements and weaves them into an impacting story. With an absolute stellar character arc for Chelsea, and some huge undertones of bullying without letting the book be just another bullying book, Harrington’s talent continues to grow and shine. Well written and to the point, and holding a heavy emotional air, especially as things progress, Speechless is a read in one sitting and then think about it for weeks kind of book.
Chelsea is, at the start, relatively unlikeable. She spreads rumors like crazy, and is a major gossip. She doesn’t seem to care if what she says hurts others, she mostly likes the attention, and can’t keep things in. It takes something big to get through to her, but get through it does. From there, her entire character development is done magnificently. She grows in such impressive ways, sometimes small things adding up and other times something big pushing her forward. She not only changes her view on herself, but those around her as well, and doesn’t only suddenly stop spreading rumors just because one person got hurt. The depth of it, the pain she even feels over it, goes far to build her character, but Harrington also keeps a very realistic note. Chelsea still makes mistakes, she still has her moments of being hard to get behind, yet I found myself still wanting her to come out on top.
This one has the perfect romance element to it, something that has a strong impact without being the focus, or necessarily being a specific driving force. With sweet moments mixed into painful ones, and some pretty hefty scenes thrown in, this is easily one of my favorite couples. There isn’t an easy road between the two, and Chelsea faces some of her hardest moments in light of not only her budding feelings but the new friends she meets, but it also pulls things together in a beautiful and memorable way.
Though Chelsea is mute for much of the book, Harrington still keeps the dialogue and banter going with other characters, and perfectly weaves in the change from talking too much to not talking at all, and then navigates Chelsea figuring out when to talk again. This book is unique in some respects but what makes it more notable is how easily Harrington has woven together known concepts into something different.
Love is Louder, a movement that started when actress Brittany Snow, MTV and the Jed Foundation decided to do something to help those feeling mistreated. Hundreds of thousands of people just like you have come together to raise the volume around the message that love and support are louder than any internal or external voice that brings you down.
GIVEAWAY: For your chance to win a copy of Speechless, and a branded phone skin, just fill out THIS form. This contest is US/Can only, and ends October 1. Huge thanks to Harlequin Teen for providing these prizes!