I love reading more than just about anything else and can't wait to share my views with you.
This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Chelsea Knot has taken a vow of silence. After a drunkenly outing Noah, a classmate, which results in someone beating him so bad he was hospitalized, Chelsea can't keep her mouth shut. She confesses everything she knows to the cops, including the name of the perpetrators, making herself public enemy number one with her friends. She decides that only bad things come from when she speaks without thinking and she needs so serious quiet time to sort it all out. Surprisingly, silence isn't so bad. Despite being harassed by the majority of the school, she ends up making a friend or two in the most unlikely places. Friends that seem to be able to forgive her for what she's done. Now can she find the courage to forgive herself?
Chelsea is initially a character I hate. Popular and mean and full of herself, she is the it girls bestie. All that really matter are the rumors she spreads, her clothing choices, and the fashion world. But when the shit hits the fan, she steps up and realizes that maybe it's time to change.
Shit...bad choice of words. That just makes me think of the fact that Shim Moore left Sick Puppies and my devastating feelings on that matter.
I'm good, I swear, so let's continue. Chelsea takes this situation and turns it into something positive. Since the last few things that came out of her mouth only caused trouble, let's not speak for a while. This is more challenging than you'd think. Not only can you not verbally communicate with anyone, but you can't hum or sing along to your favorite music (which would be a tremendous challenge for me) and you can't defend yourself from ridicule. But it has the intended effect. Chelsea now thinks before she responds and her answer isn't just the first thing that comes to mind. The vow actually impacts her in a positive way because she makes true friends and starts improving in school and realizing that the people you associate yourself with makes a world of difference. She realizes that the bad guys aren't always the ones doing the bad things, but also the ones who stand by and let the bad things happen. She certainly didn't beat Noah to a bloody pulp, but her actions caused it and even before that moment, her not speaking up when her friends where being homophobic jackasses in a small way lead to it.
Sam, the love interest, is sweet and dorky and absolutely adorable. He stands up for what he believes and he fights for what he thinks is right. He reads...::swoons::...and listens to NPR...::not so swoons:: but he makes an effort for Chelsea and they are so cute together, that you can't help but believe they'll make it out alright. They'll figure out a way to make it work, regardless of whether or not they have common interests.
What makes this so special is the amazing transformation Chelsea undergoes. We see real change and development on her part. She is one of the most fully formed characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading about. It also could come across as a PSA, giving you that lecture feel because of the subject matter, but it doesn't. Chelsea's story is very readable and addictive. She grows and changes and learns. This novel manages to give you a good message, especially one for teenage girls, without throwing it in your face. People are assholes, but there are some good ones out there and it's a great idea to learn to be thankful for what you have. Things could be a great deal worse.
Geez, I'm not explaining this right. I just can't find sufficient words to make you understand. This novel was perfect. There wasn't a thing I would change. It feels real and true and wholly amazing. Chelsea changes. I know I keep saying that, but how many YA stories do you get where the heroine changes on her own. There is no spirit guide or world that needs saving or magical event that helps her along the way. After the Noah incident, she knows something has to give and maybe that something is her.
This novel has been sitting on my TBR shelf for far too long and I really regret waiting to pick it up. It's going down in my book as a favorite because it was amazing. It has everything you need in a great novel, with a good message, readable quality, realistic characters, and those humorous moments that make you smile despite yourself. I recommend it to absolutely everyone!
****Thank you to Harlequinn Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****