Chelsea is exactly the kind of girl I would have hated in high school. She is mean, snobby and a gossip. When her inability to keep a secret causes some real damage, her vow of silence starts a journey that I really enjoyed reading. I give the author a lot of credit for making her main character so unlikable at first. She is not a sympathetic character, despite doing the right thing, but as the layers of the story were added, I slowly began to start to see Chelsea as someone who took a hard road to find the right path. Even more enjoyable were the friends she makes during her vow of silence. I became just as attached to Asha, Sam and everyone else as I was to Chelsea. Although Chelsea's story was at the core of this book, it really became a string ensemble cast of endearing and believable characters.
There is certainly an examination of the consequences of bullying from the point of view pf the perpetrator, which was very emotional, but more than that it is a story about someone who decides that she is worthy of her own opinions. Chelsea is a follower and as the best friend of the most popular girl in school, there are certain perks, but Chelsea's journey involves the realization that sometimes you have to think enough of yourself to make a different choice. The wonderful people she meets because of her social ostracism are a great example of people that are ok with being themselves, even if they aren't the most popular. Chelsea's growth throughout the course of this book was such a joy to read and the honesty in the storytelling really brought this book to life.
With this sophomore offering from Hannah Harrington, I have officially become a devoted fan of her writing. Saving June was one of my favorites of 2011 (fans should keep their eyes peeled for a Jake and Harper cameo in this book) and I predict that Hannah Harrington will become one of the strongest voices in YA contemporary fiction.