Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Title:  Hush, Hush
Author:  Becca Fitzpatrick
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing 
Genre: YA / paranormal
Hardcover: 391 pages
ISBN: 1416989412 
Summary from Goodreads: 
For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along. 
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.
  • Overall rating: 7/10
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Becca Fitzpatrick's debut novel Hush, Hush is a quick read about a teenage girl who finds her life turned upside down by a darkly mysterious boy who seems to know quite a lot about her.  Suddenly danger lurks around every corner and Nora is not sure who to trust.  Is Patch a menacing stalker with a criminal past, or is he a devoted suitor who would give up his deepest desire to be with her?  Could he be both?

What I Liked:
-    This book has enough mystery and humor to make it a fast, absorbing read.  I was actually shocked to see the page count as I sat down to write this review.  Even reading it aloud, it was a very quick read that felt more like 250 pages than 391.
-      I am a sucker for romances involving science lab partners and darkly flirtatious boys, so the beginning of Patch and Nora's relationship totally worked for me.
-     Patch has several entertainingly suggestive lines of dialogue that made me smile (and sometimes even made me laugh aloud at his audacity).  It seemed he could turn even the most innocent conversation into a blush-inducing one.
-     Although I am not a fan of villains gloating about their nefarious plans as they prepare to take their victim's life (and this book has a few of those moments), I did like that Nora had several different mysteries to unravel throughout the course of the novel.  I had strong suspicions as to who was behind what, but I wasn't absolutely positive until the moment each mystery was solved.
-     The connection to Cheshvan provided an interesting twist to the fallen angel mythology in this book.

What I Disliked:  *WARNING - this section is riddled with spoilers so if you haven't read Hush, Hush yet and want to avoid spoilers, do not scroll over the text below.*
-     Nora drove me crazy!  Could she have been any more indecisive about her feelings toward Patch?!  I understood her inability to decide how she felt about Patch for the first half of the book.  He was mysterious and she was unsure of his motives, yet she found herself drawn to him and charmed by some of the tantalizing declarations of devotion he tossed her way.  But when she still hadn't made up her mind about Patch by the final third of the book, I completely lost my patience with her.  One moment she was asking a stranger to call security and report that Patch was trying to kill her, and the next moment she was wrapping her arms and legs around him and kissing him senseless.  What?!  At times she also seemed like a character straight out of a cheesy horror movie.  She was literally the girl who tried to escape danger by running down a dark alley in a scary part of town.  You know the one who leaves the safe car and races into the deserted building where she knows a serial killer is waiting for her?  Yep, that is Nora. 
-     I like Byronic bad boys as much as the next girl, but Patch pushed the physical threats a little too far for my taste.  Honestly, I don't have a problem with couples who are well-matched sparring with one another (Rose and Dimitri, anyone?), so Patch's physically intimidating antics probably wouldn't have bothered me so much if Nora had been a more formidable heroine.  But she was not his equal in any way, and he knew it.  He openly acknowledged that he was capable of killing her at any moment and had almost killed her more than once.  In fact, he also said that her vulnerability was one of the things he liked best about her.  So when he cornered her, chased her down, locked her in a room, or pinned her against a wall, it felt more menacing than flirtatious to me.  I didn't begrudge him his telepathic abilities.  But I did take issue with him for mentally manipulating a person with a fear of heights into believing she was going to fall to her death, making her think her cell phone had no charge so that he could isolate her, and making his car appear to break down so that she would be stranded with him.  I like my 'bad boys' more broken and protective than deceptive and manipulative.  Intentionally terrifying and deceiving the person you love for your own personal pleasure doesn't make you a 'bad boy' it makes you a jerk.
-    At the beginning of the book, Vee seemed poised to be Nora's outgoing, supportive friend, who provided entertaining comic relief every few pages.  I had no idea that she would become a character that I completely despised.  It is one thing to be a boy-crazy, gold-digger, but it is quite another to encourage your best friend to go on a camping trip with a guy who just drunkenly assaulted her.  We are talking about a guy Nora suspects of being a murderer.  Vee knew all about that, and her response to finding out that the guy just physically assaulted her best friend: "He was wasted.  Maybe - maybe he didn't know what he was doing.  Tomorrow he is going to feel horrible."  Later that same day, Nora goes in search of evidence to connect him to the murder, and where does Vee go?  She goes to a party with the guy and his creepy friend, all by herself, in another town.  Then she calls and casually asks Nora to come join them at the party.  What part of 'The guy physically assaulted Nora earlier today!' does Vee not understand?!  She is definitely in the running for worst fictional friend of the year.
-     Perhaps I missed a detail or two while I was distracted by characters that were driving me crazy, but a few plot points had me a bit mystified.  Why would Patch have told Nora that he'd seen both of them (Dabria and Nora) in action and believed that she could take Dabria in a fight?  Up to that point Nora had been totally ineffective in fighting him off and certainly seemed completely outmatched as Dabria hurled lamps at her with the twitch of a finger, broke doors open with a word, tore off an entire banister with a laugh, and lit Nora's house on fire.  Once Dabria has even more reason to despise Nora, why would Patch act as though she does not pose much of a threat?  Even if Dabria's fallen status has changed her abilities, couldn't she still speak into Nora's mind, terrify her with visions, and overpower her physically (as Patch has done).  Also, why would sacrificing a Nephil's female descendant kill them?  And does it only work if a fallen angel who has used that particular Nephil as a vessel kills them or if the descendant kills herself on behalf of a fallen angel who has possessed her ancestor?  If the immortal Nephilim are considered an unnatural threat to humanity (hence the flood, etc.), then I am surprised the archangels or avenging angels would consider Patch's choice to dispose of his Nephil vessel a threat.  One more human and one fewer immortal doesn't seem like much of a threat.
-     A few other aspects of this story were difficult to believe - the bomb threat at the school, Vee & Nora heading to the Borderline with a ridiculous disguise the moment Vee was out of the hospital, Nora's reluctance to tell anyone reasonable about her stalker, Nora giving her coat, hat, and cell phone to the homeless lady she encountered, the police not contacting Nora's mother after they were summoned to her house, and the fact that a kick to the groin apparently immobilized an immortal long enough for Nora to find and rescue Vee. 
-     Of all the humans Patch could have fallen in love with over hundreds of years, he fell for Nora?  Someone please explain why.  Is it because she's the worst liar he has ever met?  Because her mind is easy to manipulate?  Because of her killer legs and unruly curls?  Aside from their physical chemistry, I just didn't quite understand his attraction to her.  Also, am I the only one who thinks there is something a little creepy about the fact that Patch has done all sorts of dirty deeds in Nora's g-g-g-g-grandfather's body?  Do we know for certain that he wasn't in possession of Chauncey's body when Nora's ancestor was conceived?

Bizarrely, I did not want to set this book down while I was reading it (even when I repeatedly felt like yelling at Nora and shunning Vee for her idiocy), but as soon as I finished reading it I couldn't stop mentally picking it to pieces.  The good news is that the characters obviously got under my skin.  The bad news is that I was more annoyed by them than in love with them.  And yet, I still find myself very curious to read the next book.  I am baffled by how to rate this one because the protagonist drove me crazy, but it still seemed like a fast, absorbing read and the conclusion left me wondering what will happen in the second book.  I guess I will have to categorize this one as a guilty pleasure book because it was infuriating in a way that somehow left me craving more.  Perhaps Nora and I actually have more in common than I realized.

If you are a fan of 'Does he want to kiss me or kill me?'-type romances of the vampire/angel/superhuman  variety, then you will want to pick up Hush, Hush immediately.  But if you thought Edward Cullen was a creepily-old, controlling, manipulative boyfriend, then you seriously won't want to get anywhere near Patch Cipriano.  If you are looking for a quick, guilty-pleasure book, then Hush, Hush may fit the bill.  I am looking forward to checking out Crescendo when it is released October 19th.  If you would like to learn more about Hush, Hush or author Becca Fitzpatrick, please visit her website, blog, facebook fan page, or twitter.

You can read several sample pages from the first five chapters of Hush, Hush using Simon & Schuster's Browse Inside feature here.


Candace said...

Okay, I read this one on vacation and by the time I wrote up my review I didn't remember it clearly anymore. But reading over your more negative thoughts about it, I AGREE! Those same things annoyed me to no end, but yet I was still pulled into the story and when I finished I said I loved it! Reading over that and being reminded makes me think I rated it too high and just went by my more lingering thoughts. I don't know, but I too am curious for Crescendo. Great review, and GREAT points!

Anna said...

but what about the kissing on the kitchen counter...
I hated everything you did and more...but oh my the kissing on the kitchen counter!

Aleksandra said...

Finally, someone who feels about this book exactly like me!
I liked & disliked this book & that never have happened to me :) Although I liked Patch at the beginning & a little at the end, I was like when & why did they fall in love (that's what I wrote on my blog) I couldn't understand that & I was really annoyed with the characters while I was reading it, but I too couldn't put it down! I also didn't rate it in my small review, I thought about 4 of 5 rating, but I just couldn't make myself do it :)
I'm not planning to read the sequel, but now if you read it & say that is much better, than I might ;)
Awesome review!!!

Violet said...

Candace - This was such an odd read for me because I really loved the beginning and did find myself intrigued by the story even as my impressions of the characters plummeted dramatically. I am still curious to read Crescendo.

Anna - Haha! That "Go here... or here...?" kissing scene was quite delicious (even though I was bummed that she didn't get the chance to kiss him back that night). I loved her little sigh/moan just before the phone rang. But they only really had two consensual kissing scenes in the whole book, what were the odds of both being interrupted by phone calls? Also, Patch's later admission that he'd been planning to kill Nora with her own kitchen knife that evening kind of tarnished my impression of that night. But if you are a fan of delicious kitchen kissing, I would highly recommend Wicked Lovely. Seth and Ash share some yummy kitchen moments.

Aleksandra - It is so awesome to hear that you had a mixed reaction to this book too! :) I couldn't put it down (even when the characters were grating on my nerves). And I felt very torn about rating this one because I disliked so many things about it, but overall I still actually enjoyed reading it. Definitely an unusual experience for me, and I am thrilled to hear that I am not the only one who felt that way about this book. :) Hopefully the sequel will be better. :)