Speechless by Hannah Harrington

SpeechlessEveryone 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. (Goodreads)

The Story:

Chelsea Knot has never heard a piece of juicy gossip she didn’t want to–didn’t have to– share.  As one of the reigning popular girls, she never worries about the repercussions of being a jabber jaws. Her BFF, Kristen, is The Girl in school and as long as she’s in her good graces, Chelsea is safe as a kitten.

One drunken night and one secret that never, ever should have been blabbed–at least not by Chelsea–leaves one boy in the hospital, two arrested (one being Kristen’s boyfriend. Dum da dum dum), and Chelsea on the outs with everyone that matters to her because somewhere after doing the wrong thing, she tried to do what was right. All of this comes at a cost and Chelsea’s actions and her past come to haunt her. The cool kids hate her now, no one more than Kristen, and they go out of their way to make her life a living hell. In response Chelsea takes a vow of silence until she figures out exactly what do say or do to make things right again.

My Take:

Well, if Saving June didn’t convince you that Hannah Harrington is immensely talented,let Speechless seal the deal.  Make no mistake, this is an entirely different book. Though it deals with a couple of serious issues in a frank, open way, this book is lighter, has more humor and probably has more that your average girl (or boy) can relate to.

Chelsea isn’t someone you may like instantly. She’s a gossip. She relishes the opportunity to make others squirm. She clings to Kristen, a shallow mean girl, and feels no real remorse about her actions until it all backfires on her. This is when we see her true colors. She evolves. While she’s bullied, she sees that she’s brought on some of it herself (not that there is any excuse for bullying). She grows beautifully and what I loved is that in the end, the life she’s left behind, though it is full of bittersweet memories, is not where she wants to be. She likes who she becomes and she owns up to her mistakes.  Life is different than she expected, but better.

In this book there are great stories of friendship, of courage, forgiveness and love in all forms. It hits every note just right–the guilt, the embarrassment, the burgeoning friendships, new romances, everything.

Crush Intensity: 4.25/5 I really enjoyed this one and will read pretty much anything by this author!

Thanks to Harlequin and Net Galley for providing me with an e-galley of Speechless!

Saving June

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down again.  (Goodreads)

The Story:

In the aftermath of her older sister’s suicide, Harper Scott is barely trudging by, still trying to make some sense of it all. June was the star child—intelligent, beautiful, seemingly unfazed by everything, sure to go anywhere she wished in life—while Harper was The Other One; the truant one, the one with the attitude, the one who’s somewhat less together.  So how could June, who had the love and approval of everyone, how could she do it? How could she end her life?

Harper ends up searching June’s room, looking for solace or comfort or some sort of clue to explain what drove her sister over the edge.  There was never a note, never a sign, no explanation.  Instead Harper finds tiny clues to show that there was another side to June that she’d never known. There’s a mixed CD from a mysterious boy named Jake. There’s a postcard of California. And there’s hope.

Suddenly Harper knows what she needs to do. She needs to help June realize her dream of going to California. She needs to find a car and get June’s ashes there.   And the mixed CD guy? He needs to help. So Harper, Jake (that’s Mixed CD guy) and Harper’s amazing BFF Laney, pile into Jake’s beloved piece of crap van and take a road trip.  Of course, this is a sad road trip. It’s not all fun and games. And they sort of have to run away to do it. And Harper has to steal June’s ashes.  It’s all very traumatic because Harper is so sad and lost, and yet she’s so determined to do this.

And it there are so many sad moments on this journey. And so many great ones. And moments of growing up. And moments of humor and of pain. Because like life, it’s not just about the destination, right?

My Take:

This book is all about amazing characters. Though the subject matter is tough and sounds very depressing, it really isn’t.  Harrington found a way to delve into Harper’s pain and her regret while still showing a certain hope in helping June achieve something she never could in life.  And one of the things I really loved was that Harper really doesn’t see herself, she only sees June. Like somehow, even though she’s gone, June still takes the limelight. But as the reader, Harper’s humor, her drive, and her tendency to be grumpy and sarcastic all make her so endearing. It takes forever for her to actually see who she is and to realize that she is not a lost cause.

Jake is a solid character too because he isn’t quite what he seems. He gives off an initial bad boy impression, but he really isn’t that guy. He has layers of goodness (and many jerkoff moments) and I felt that I really had a chance to get to know him. The tension and the tingly moments between him and Harper are so believable because it all evolves slowly and naturally.

Finally, I loved Laney. She was the comic relief and the opposite of Harper in many ways. She showed such pure devotion to her best friend that I just wanted to hug her. I wanted to be her bestie.

The whole story, including the actual road trip (complete with tourist stops) is excellent. There are great discussions about music and life, but above all it’s the relationships and their emotional pull that got me.

Crush Intensity: 4/5 Read it!

I’d like to thank Harlequin Teen and Net Galley for providing me an e-galley for review. Thank you!

Fangirl Friday-December 16

Fangirl Friday is a feature hosted by my pal Evil Eva over at Nancy Drew is My Homegirl. Basically, we talk about the things we think are awesomely exciting.  The problem this week is that we’ve had half the household, including me, under the weather this week, so really all that I find super exciting right now is sleep (and maybe a warm blanket).  Here are a couple of things that have made me feel better though:

1. Saving June by Hannah Harrington– You guys, I just finished this book on Thursday and I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it. The subject matter seems like a major downer, but it’s well written and sweet. There will be a review to come but you should check it out.

2. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare– Has this been on every single one of my Fangirl Fridays? Probably. It finally arrived and I started it.  All I can say is holy. Freaking. Cow. Page 204 (Am I right Dixie? Oh yes).  It’s really good.

3. Young Adult– It’s Christmas vacation for my entire family (the hubby is a teacher so he has two weeks off, the kiddos are kiddos so they have three weeks off. Yea!) and at some point we will be going to the movies. I have to see Young Adult. I mean, not with my kids, of course, but me and the hubs.  I’ll totally have a love/hate relationship with Charlize Theron’s character, which is awesome.  I can’t wait.

That’s all for now!