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Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secretUntil 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...
Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secretUntil 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...
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  • Everyone 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.
 

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  • From the book



    Keeping secrets isn't my specialty. It never has been, ever since kindergarten when I found out Becky Swanson had a crush on Tommy Barnes, and I managed to circulate that fact to the entire class, including Tommy himself, within our fifteen minute recess—a pretty impressive feat, in retrospect. That was ten years ago, and it still may hold the record for my personal best.

    The secret I have right now is so, so much juicier than that. I'm just about ready to burst at the seams.

    "Will you stop the teasing already?" Kristen says. We're in her bedroom where I'm helping her decide on an outfit for tonight—a drawn-out process when your wardrobe is as massive as hers. "It's annoying. Just tell me."

    Kristen is not a patient person. I realize I've been pushing it by alluding to my newfound information over the past twenty minutes without actually divulging anything. Of course I'm going to tell her; she's my best friend, and I can't keep it to myself much longer without truly pissing her off. A pissed-off Kristen is not a fun Kristen. Still, it's rare for me to have the upper hand with her, so I can't help but hold it over her head just a little.

    "I don't know," I say innocently. "I'm not sure you can handle it..."

    She turns around from where she's digging through her closet and chucks a black leather sandal at me. I shield my face with both hands, laughing as the shoe bounces off one arm and onto the mattress. Kristen props a hand on her narrow hip and cocks her head at me, her glossy, shoulder-length blond hair swaying with the motion.

    "You're building this up way too much," she says. She yanks out a shimmery red top from her closet before facing me again. "I bet whatever it is, it's completely lame."

    "Well, in that case, I'll keep it to myself." When she glares at me, I just smile in return and say, "Don't wear that. That baby-doll cut looks like something out of the maternity section."

    She hangs the top back up and comes over to the bed, flopping down on her stomach next to me. "Spill," she whines, the previous iciness dissolving into borderline desperation. This is as close as Kristen ever gets to groveling. "Otherwise I'm uninviting you from the party."

    The threat can't be real—Kristen knows I've been looking forward to her New Year's Eve party for over a month now. She even helped concoct the cover story necessary to convince my mother to let me come over to her house despite the grounding I received after my parents saw my latest report card. Like I'm ever going to need geometry in real life anyway.

    Even though Kristen can be...touchy, she wouldn't uninvite me from the party over something like this—but I decide it's better to cave already than to test her on it.

    "Okay, okay," I relent. "I'll tell you."

    She breaks into a grin and scoots closer to me. I like having her attention like this; Kristen is easily bored, so when I do get her full focus, it makes me feel like I'm doing something right. She is, after all, one of—if not the—most popular girls in the sophomore class, if you keep track of that sort of thing, which I do. She's used to people fawning all over her to get on her good side. I've been on her good side for almost two years now, and I intend to stay there. I'd better make this good.

    "So I met up with Megan today because she wanted me to help her pick out new shoes, right?" I start. "She also wanted to bitch to me about Owen, because he totally blew her off last weekend and they've been fighting a lot, and she's wondering if she...

About the Author-

  • Hannah Harrington resides in Michigan with one dog and too many cats. When she isn't busy writing like a crazy person, she enjoys arguing about politics, watching documentaries, playing guitar (very badly), and speaking about herself in the third person. You can find her online at hannahharrington.blogspot.com, facebook.com/hannahharrington and on Twitter @hharrington_.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 30, 2012
    Among the many books about bullies, Harrington’s stands out for its authentic voice and unflinching portrayal of what it means to be part of the bullying. Sixteen-year-old Chelsea relishes her in-crowd status, gained through her friendship with popular Kristen and cemented by her penchant for passing along gossip. But after Chelsea drunkenly outs her classmate Noah at a party, he is brutally beaten by two jocks, one of whom is Kristen’s boyfriend. Despite promising Kristen otherwise, Chelsea tells the police what happened. As Chelsea’s social life implodes, and she herself is bullied, she takes a vow of silence, communicating her thoughts via a small whiteboard. The vow, along with new friendships and a budding romance with Noah’s best friend, change and deepen Chelsea, who learns about the power of love over hate, real friendship, and being true to oneself. In Chelsea, Harrington (Saving June) has created a powerful, strong-willed character, portraying her with true-to-life complexity. Even at her most unlikable, Chelsea never ceases to be fascinating. Ages 14–up. Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary.

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2012
    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)

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    December 1, 2012

    Gr 10 Up-Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret. She tells all and makes many enemies along the way. Nothing seems to stop her from blabbing until Noah, a gay teen, is beaten to the point of hospitalization after she reveals that she saw him hooking up with another guy at a party. Upon learning about the trouble that she has caused, the teen decides to take a vow of silence like a monk she reads about in a National Geographic article. "What comes out of my mouth is the root of my problems, so the solution is for nothing to come out." During this time, Chelsea is abandoned by her former best friend and bullied with name-calling, locker trashing, and other forms of harassment. She sticks to her guns, however, and remains mute. Readers will wonder what will finally break her silence as the drama surrounding Noah's beating unfolds. The book could stand on this premise alone, but Harrington has chosen to throw in a bit of romance between Chelsea and Noah's best friend, Sam. Chelsea grows as a person, making new friends, learning to bite her tongue and developing a stronger sense of self. However, some readers might feel that her vow of silence draws too much attention away from Noah, especially those who sympathize with him. This book is part of the Love Is Louder movement whose mission is to help those who are mistreated and misunderstood. Readers might see Noah as misunderstood, but maybe not Chelsea.-Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI

    Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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