I should have learned by now to stay away from books that have a blurb that follows the following template:
“Idiotic female teenager usually with a ridiculous name was just your average American girl trying to get through high school. But then the super intense hottie-hot-gorgeous hunk new guy at school makes eyes at her and only her and the shit gets real. Also, this book is told in the first person narrative, because the author thought that meant she didn’t have to bother with that pesky little thing called characterisation for her main character.”
This book actually started out rather well. In fact, I can honestly say that I enjoyed the first half. Sure, I could see the obvious flaws; Hush, Hush is exactly the same as Twilight but Twilight was a guilty pleasure for me, and Hush, Hush began that way too. It has the same stereotypical characters we are all used to in YA fiction: bland, idiotic lead + smoking hot love interest + an annoying best friend. The writing style was passable; I’m not going to go into detail, but I’ve definitely read worse. I honestly think if the book had continued the way it started out, it would have earned a much higher rating from me. Here’s why.
The first half of the novel:
Part One: What was shit
Nora Grey is our teenage, curly-haired protagonist. She doesn’t have a stupid name, so I instantly like her more than many of the other YA protagonists. She also looks (and probably acts) like the author Becca Fitzpatrick – a fact that gives us a disturbing insight into said author’s personal fantasies, seeing as Nora Grey is clearly an embodiment of the author’s personal fantasies. Later, you’ll understand why that’s important.
Nora doesn’t have a lot of characterisation going for her. She suffers from “bland character syndrome”; a chronic condition that affects a lot of YA protagonists. We really don’t know anything about her personality; the most interesting thing about her is that her dad was brutally murdered a year before the book’s events begin. I thought that was interesting, and that it would surely deepen her character. Oh no, the death of her father apparently did not affect her or change her in the slightest. It is never even touched upon. Her father’s death is mentioned about three times, each time in a very casual way. I would just love to rant about this stupid oversight, but there is a lengthy review ahead so I’m sure you can fill in the blanks.
Nora’s best (and only) friend is Vee Sky (ugh, that name!) who is ridiculously annoying, but she at least has more of a personality than Nora. Honestly the less said about Vee, the better.
Then comes the love interest: Patch. Not his real name of course (he’ll probably turn out to be the archangel Gabriel or something), but hey I kind of like the nickname. Now I never liked Patch. On first impressions he struck me as a cocky bastard, with his flirting mode constantly on, turning everything into an innuendo, being ridiculously invasive of Nora’s personal space. I have never been into “bad boys” so it’s kind of difficult for me to understand the people who do.
There is one scene where he is asked by a teacher what qualities he would want in his “potential mate” (yeah, I know…). He says he wants ’em “attractive, intelligent and vulnerable”. Yeah, that should have tipped me off right there.
But the thing with Patch is I was convinced he’d get better and I began rooting for the couple. I have never been so wrong.
Part One: What was actually pretty good
No insta-love! Nora Grey’s one redeeming factor is that she doesn’t immediately swoon over Patch. She often tells him to back the fuck off, which is good except that she can’t help but fall for him in the end anyway. I can’t tell if she should get points for not starting out as an idiot, or if she should lose points for doing the wrong things despite her better judgement. Huh.
Other things that were good: plot-wise and pacing, I liked. As I said before, the writing style could be better but I wasn’t too fussed. As is common with YA fiction there is a lot of mindless “school and teenage bullshit”, but I didn’t mind it so much because there is actually a hell of a lot of interesting plot points that kept me intrigued. Nora essentially thinks she’s going crazy because she keeps getting into very dangerous situations, but then turns around and is led to believe that they never happened. Like falling off a roller-coaster to her death, but then suddenly she’s back in the train with her seatbelt secure. I thought that was cool, you see. It was an interesting hook that kept me guessing and I thought it was done in an original way. I was enjoying it. Guiltily, yes, but I was.
Then it all went horribly, horribly wrong.
The Halfway Mark: Where it all spiralled into madness (Psst! Spoilers!)
The more you read about Patch, the more you realize what a true psychopath he really is. We’re no longer talking about your typical rebellious bad boy; Patch is criminally dangerous. I am not even joking.
Nora has always suspected that there wasn’t something quite right about Patch, but it’s overshadowed by the fact that there’s another bloke called Elliott who also makes her uneasy. She investigates this guy a lot more, realizing pretty early on that she was an idiot to trust Elliott, but never sees that she’s even more of an idiot for trusting Patch in the end. She tries to stay away from him for a good long while. She thinks he’s following her. She’s pretty sure he is telepathic. She finally confronts him about this. He tells her fuck all, he just continues flirting, and not well I might add. So now that he’s alluded to sex over 25 times, smiled creepily, and refused to tell Nora why he’s such a creep, what does she do? Goes on a date with him.
I don’t understand, Nora. When you first met him, you made it clear that you felt no attraction to him. Ever since then, he has acted like a dick. He is constantly bombarding you with flirtatious sexual innuendo when you have asked him to stop (that is sexual harassment). He also shows up wherever you are and you know he is stalking you. He has not denied it! You also suspect he has supernatural powers and that’s a little bit freaky.
How the fuck did we get here?
What changed? What did he do that made him grow on you?!
All that in the paragraph above, the way he is forcing himself on you and making you uncomfortable, that is not hot. That is not a turn on. That should not make you like him, and I judge you for it. I judge anyone who reads about characters like Patch and wishes they could have their own.
It gets worse.
This is around the time when it *ahem* “comes to light” that Patch could possibly be a fallen angel. The way it’s done is laughable. The reader knows he’s a fallen angel. It’s on the fucking front cover. But there are a whole bunch of these ridiculous fake clues throughout the book. Patch calls Nora “Angel”, she sniffs a perfume called “Dream Angel”, she rides a roller-coaster called the fucking “Archangel”, come on! That kind of teasing is only acceptable when the reader is not meant to know who he really is. The whole mystery is lost when it’s fucking obvious. But then there’s the big reveal! OMG, Patch is a fallen angel!
So we now know for sure that Patch is evil because that’s essentially what fallen angels are. There is then another confrontation scene where Patch admits that he has been planning to kill Nora all along. Yes. Kill her. He tells her especially about one occasion in her kitchen when he had a knife in plain view and was going to murder her. But instead he forced himself on her and tried to kiss her.
He stalked her for a year, attempted to murder her more than once, went all rapey and actually fell in love with her.
I have no idea why he fell in love with that cardboard cut out of a girl. I am even more clueless why Nora falls for him and completely trusts him from that point on.
She really does.
“I’ve been planning on murdering you and possessing your body.”
“That’s hot. Let’s make out.”
I. Understand. Nothing.
What is wrong with this girl? What is wrong with this author?
You are glorifying a potential rapist and murderer.
There are kids and even adults out there who now fantasize about this shit.
Just go onto the Hush, Hush Goodreads page, wade through the excellent one-star reviews, and then you will get to the five-star reviewers. Here are some snippets:
“I fell in love with Patch instantly I mean what’s not to love?”
“Patch Cipriano is just… wow. Definitely in my top 10 male characters of all time.”
“PATCH- O M G!! What a sinfully delicious character! His arrogance really worked his charm and you just can’t help fall for the dreamy, sexy bad Angel!”
“Patch was now what I wanted him to be, dark, dangerous, mysterious, and his cockiness became as sexy as hell. I was loving his bad boy attitude and all black ensemble. I also knew that deep down he wasn’t a bad person at all”
“The only down side to Patch is that his intensity can be a little overpowering, and sometimes even creepy. But I am willing to overlook this small issue.”
I can’t go on.
I just can’t.
This, all of this, is just wrong.
I’m not going to tell you how this ends. You’re not missing much and it is utterly predictable.
All I have left to say is this: I didn’t have nearly as many problems with Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey as I did with this. Yet I have an urge to read the next book. I have a masochistic need to find out what happens. I will undoubtedly regret my choice, but I want to do it. I want to review the next book.
I refuse to pay a fiver for a copy of this. Buying this book would be endorsing a rape/murder fantasy that has sucked in a lot of foolish teenagers and maybe some adults. I have found a free copy online and I am going to see what happens. I am going to review the hell out of it. I hope I can warn some poor teenage girl before it’s too late.
My Predictions for the rest of the series:
– There will be a break-up.
– There will be a love-triangle.
– Patch will continue to be a dick and the reader will be expected to find it lovable. We’ll also find out his real name, which is probably the name of an actual angel. Gabriel or Raphael or something…
Patch murders Nora and lives happily ever after. – No, that’s probably wishful thinking.
– It’s all going to get so much worse.