Monday, April 15, 2013

Teen Review: Realistic Fiction

Title: Speechless
Author: Hanna Harrington
Genre: Realistic fiction
Series: No
Pages: 288
Reviewed by: Giselle F., grade 9

S U M M A R Y :
Chelsea Knot is one of the most popular girls in school, and she is also a huge gossip queen. Chelsea is known to be unable to keep a secret. So when she blabs about a secret she has no right to share, and someone gets hurt because of it, saying she’s sorry is not enough. Chelsea realizes that her words only get her in trouble and decides to take a vow of silence.

R E V I E W :
When I first got this book, I was really excited to start reading it, because I loved the premise. I knew going in that it would deal with heavy problems that are constant in our society, such as bullying and gossip, and I was curious to see how these issues would be handled.

Right off the bat, I found myself deeply invested in the story line. After Chelsea found out that one of her classmates, Noah, was gay, and ran to tell anyone who would listen, a few students decided to teach poor Noah a lesson. One thing I do admire about Chelsea at this point in the book is that she knew she had to tell someone in order to get justice for her classmate. Of course, this choice makes her the most hated girl in school, but she sticks by it and I really admired that.

One of my favorite things about this book was being able to see Chelsea grow from this shallow girl who cared about no one but herself to a person who cared about others and stood up for them. I strongly disliked Chelsea in the beginning because of the way she carried herself and for her careless actions. I loathed the fact that she would spread around gossip and look down on everybody just because she was friends with the most popular girl in school. When she came to school after taking the vow of silence, and the people she thought were her friends were shunning her for doing the right thing, that's when I started to sympathize with her. I felt as though her vow of silence taught her a few things that she needed to learn. To be honest, though, it wasn't until she started to make new friends and fell for Sam that she became a real, likable character. As the book progressed, she grew into this kindhearted, genuine person that I could care for.

One thing I absolutely loved was the romance. I loved how Chelsea’s relationship with Sam wasn’t love at first sight. I loved that it was a gradual thing. Sam’s humor, and his willingness to be kind to Chelsea when no one else would was what made him one of my favorite characters. I also loved how he was willing to defend Chelsea and help her to forgive herself for what she had done to Noah. He helped her move on from her state of guilt and sadness.

I felt the author did an amazing job handling the different issues, as well as her style of writing and how she developed Chelsea from an unlikable girl into someone I grew to love. I loved the message the book sends: Love is louder when we use our words to help, not hurt. I think that this book is a great read and it’s definitely a book that makes you think twice about what you say about others, and also how sometimes people just need second chances.

5 stars.

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