SPEECHLESS by Hannah Harrington


Age Range: 12 - 18


An absorbing drama about what happens when one of the popular girls becomes the target of her former friends’ bullying.

Sixteen-year-old Chelsea is second in command to her school's queen bee, Kristen, following her smug best friend in all things. Chelsea lies to her parents to attend Kristen’s secret New Year’s party. There, Chelsea gets drunk and walks in on two gay boys, then stumbles downstairs and outs them. Kristen’s boyfriend and another boy brag that they’ll beat them up; later, they do, landing one in the hospital. Ashamed, Chelsea turns them in, but her former friends shun and attack her. In response, she vows not to speak at all. Thereafter she makes some unexpected friends and changes her entire outlook. Harrington draws a convincing portrait of the nastiness involved in the personal attacks against Chelsea, especially as the girl realizes how cruel she has been to others in the past. Although Chelsea’s nearly complete change of character might seem too sudden, the author makes it look plausible by writing from Chelsea’s point of view and underscoring her reactions to her changed circumstances. Characters stand out quite well as individuals, especially confident Asha, the freshman girl who befriends Chelsea. The story works well as an argument against bullying that reaches young readers in their own world.

Timely and affecting. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 28th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-373-21052-7
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2012


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