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Speechless by Hannah Harrington This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Speechless
By Hannah Harrington

Although entitled Speechless, the message of Hannah Harrington’s novel reads loud and clear. Targeted for an adolescent audience, Speechless is a steady paced and stirring work of fiction in which a high school sophomore vows an oath of silence in honor of gay rights. Her self-discovering journey is rooted in the plot; however, as you pan through the final pages of the story you are left with a lingering feeling of dissatisfaction, for it fails to epitomize the true meaning of love.
The book opens with a miscellaneous medley of social happenings in the life of a shallow and self-centered teenager known as Chelsea Knot. Although she retains the qualities of a blandly one-sided character, Chelsea’s attributes prove more relatable to a modern teen then characters from other YA novels. At a party with her popular friends, Chelsea interrupts two gay males in a bathroom together, and drunkenly recounts the tale to a few of her homophobic companions. Later that night, Noah Beckett, one of the boys from the bathroom, is jumped in a parking lot and hospitalized. Her former friends turn on her, and, shredded with guilt, she resolves to take a vow of silence in hopes of redeeming herself for this mistake.
With the broad usage of social media and other internet sites, today’s society has grown accustomed to speaking up for what they believe in. Chelsea Knot’s decision to do the exact opposite is refreshing in theory, but poorly executed. Chelsea’s communication throughout the book is spotty and inconsistent; she writes on napkins, whiteboards, or any convenient surface. This obscure method of dialogue distracts the reader from the meat of the book.
While the moral of Speechless is juicy and thick, Harrington delivers it in a dry way that doesn’t evoke any particular response, and the stakes should have been raised slightly to avoid loss of interest. Nonetheless, her touching romantic components and powerful theme make this novel a pleasant read for someone of any sexual orientation.




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