Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Review of Hush, Hush
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Teen girls, 20-somethings, YA paranormal romance readers
High point: Nora (finally, a smart heroine!)
Low point: The bad guy
Reader maturity: 13+
I absolutely loved this novel.
The writing was great, Nora is a very realistic teenager (and amazingly free of angst, considering her circumstances). Her best friend is "large" (i.e. still normal-sized) but isn't loud or depressing or any of the other stereotypical descriptions that plus-size sidekicks tend to be handed.
And Patch? I liked Patch. I knew guys like Patch. They were mean and prickly, and every once in a while, I'd catch a glimpse of their vulnerability, just like the reader does with him. He has a softer side underneath his bravado, and it makes for great tension between Nora and Patch. His motivations are revealed throughout the novel, and try as I might, I wasn't able to make myself mad at him, just as Nora wasn't.
There are a lot of mysteries for the reader to piece together throughout Hush, Hush. Though there's a tendency for this technique to backfire, Becca Fitzpatrick does a terrific job of using this device to pull the reader closer to the characters and the plot.
My reading copy is an ARC that included the new ending. Personally, I like the old one best, leaving the closing more mysterious and open to the imagination. However, a few extra paragraphs aren't reason to discount the novel, especially after such a good emotional ride. Hush, Hush is a compelling story that will draw you in and leave you wondering what happens next.
[SPOILERS and OPINIONS] I read a post somewhere (sorry, I can't remember who wrote it) about how Hush, Hush is a perfect example of the things that are wrong with YA today--in this case, sexual harassment--but I beg to differ. The blogger argued that no one listened to Nora when she came to them with a serious claim about how uncomfortable Patch made her feel, and she was ignored when she brought up stalking accusations.
Before I begin, let me just say: Nora's coach should have listened to her. If she was feeling uncomfortable, it is his job to protect her. His dismissals are inexcusable.
That being said, in my opinion, Nora's reason for talking to the coach (and wanting to change seats) was motivated by her desire to be partners with her best friend, not because of Patch's advances. She was more bothered by the fact that he was being difficult (by not doing his share of the work) than anything else. Also, she never took her claims to anyone other than the coach, like another teacher, her counselor or her mom. She also purposefully sought Patch out several times away from school. That says to me that, in her eyes, Patch wasn't truly harassing her. I believe that if she really felt uncomfortable or in danger, her character would've gone elsewhere for help; she wasn't the type to be cowed. (Just as a side note: if someone ever makes you feel uncomfortable, seek help! They're not going to turn out to be your soulmate.)
As for Vee's non-reaction to Nora's suggestion of stalking, it wasn't that she thought Nora was exaggerating; she thought she was being silly and dramatic. Again, Nora didn't go to anyone else with these theories. Nora never--not once--told her mom or the housekeeper that she thought something was wrong. While some of the characters should have had a completely different reaction to Nora's statements, it's unfair to say that the novel promotes a poor attitude against women.
Title: Hush, Hush
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Genre: Teen Fiction--Horror & Suspense
Book Source: Won from My Ever Expanding Library