Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: Speechless

Publish February 29, 2016

Speechless by Jennifer Mook-Sang brings both comedy and insight to that watershed of middle school: the speech contest. Jelly Miles hates public speaking. Every year at school he mumbles his way through his compulsory speech and is really happy when it’s over. But this year the prize for the best speech is a shiny new tablet and he wants it more than he’s wanted anything in his life. Unfortunately, the class smarty-pants, Victoria, is also determined to win, and she’ll do anything to beat Jelly, including engaging in some pretty devious psychological warfare. As Jelly struggles against his natural disinclination to do any homework at all but still come up with a winning speech, he encounters one challenge after another. Victoria spreads a rumour that he stole his speech from the internet and even his best friend, Parker seems to desert him for a while. Mook-Sang has created a hapless, lovable hero who is easy to relate to. He keeps his wry sense of humour, even as his life crashes and burns. She has perfectly captured the twelve-year-old boy’s experience of life: he loses the power of speech when confronted with pretty girls, teachers and she-devils like Victoria, and his rather distant parents are kind but essentially clueless. Jelly eventually discovers that he has a lot to say and that people want to listen. Speechless is a funny, engaging read that proves that even our deepest fears can be hilarious.


Jennifer Mook-Sang
Scholastic Canada Inc.
ISBN 13: 978-1-443-142-670