Title: Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush Trilogy #1)
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Released: October 13, 2009
Genre: YA fantasty
Pages: 391 (first edition hardcover)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
"Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.If you've read Twilight, or any other vampire/werewolf/fallen angel novel for that matter, you've read this book.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems 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 way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For she 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 Nora her life."
Originality is not Hush, Hush's strong point. To any regular reader of YA fantasy, the synopsis will sound painfully and annoyingly familiar: smart but modest teenage girl Nora Grey leads a regular life until she meets the dark, mysterious and handsome Patch, who, for some unidentifiable reason, she feels incredibly drawn to. But she doesn't trust him! But he's so hot! But she thinks he's following her! But he's such a flirt! But he wants to kill her! But he's a tortured soul! And of course (not really a spoiler) he later turns out to be some mythical creature in disguise, romance ensues, yada yada yada.
Can I just say that this book is so uncannily similar to Twilight that it's not even funny? As I was reading it I almost screamed out (several times, may I add), "Why is this so similar to Twilight? Blah!" There are too many things to count: the small, cold, rainy town, the high school biology class, Patch following Nora around, Patch driving Nora around in his incredibly nice car, etc. Even the entire plot structure is basically the same, down to the final fight/confrontation scene with the villain, which, by the way, is incredibly reminiscent of the ballet studio scene in Twilight. You see what I'm getting at here?
Another thing this book has in common with other YA fantasy/romance novels: the not-very-interesting-yet-makes-me-want-to-pull-out-my-hair protagonist. I have a like/hate relationship with Nora Grey. In some ways she's absolutely typical of a Bella Swan-like character: she's "smart", apparently attractive to guys but doesn't know it, modest, and dull. BUT, she definitely has some redeeming characteristics. Nora is somewhat of an overachiever in school and in life. She tracks down Patch at a shady arcade just to finish her biology homework, and later on, when life gets mysterious, travels around, interviewing strangers for answers about the suspicious Patch and the possible-murderer Elliot. This is what redeemed Nora a bit for me: she's pushy. She's an overachiever and is, unlike other Bella Swan types, driven to take action and push for answers rather than stay stationary and simply ask stupid questions in her head. Granted, I would have liked to see more of that pushiness, but some personality is better than none. For that reason, I had respect for you, Nora Grey.
And then you had to go and be all stupid.
This is the makes-me-want-to-pull-out-my-hair part. I simply do not understand Nora's attitude towards Patch. Her first reaction towards Patch is the sensible, understandable one. He's a jerk. He's dangerous. He doesn't have good intentions. But after Patch starts showing more serious romantic interest towards Nora, all of her sense goes apparently straight down the drain. She doesn't listen to her senses; she listens to her teenage girl hormones and throws herself at Patch. It doesn't matter to her if he actually seriously planned on doing her physical harm and followed her around. All that matters is that OMG HE LOVES ME AND HE'S HOT! This really annoyed me. Why does Nora have to throw away all her good sense and reasoning and THINKING ABILITY just because a boy likes her? And that was when I lost a serious amount of respect for you, Nora Grey.
Patch himself is the most intriguing character in the book. He's the typical dark, dangerous bad boy, but at the same time brings some much-needed humor to the story. I can tell why lots of readers would like him, but one thing about him bothered me:
Why the heck does he like Nora?
I am as much confused about Patch's feelings for Nora as about Nora's feelings for Patch. It seems to me that Patch never describes his feelings for Nora as more than a physical lust, yet he a) confesses his love for her, and b) will apparently give up everything for her. When did this falling in love happen?! Can you really jump from pure lust into head-over-heels love so quickly, and with hardly any meaningful interaction? As you can probably tell, the romance in this book was all over the place for me.
I've got to admit, despite all these flaws, Hush, Hush has a leg up over Twilight. Some elements of the book are actually quite good. For one thing, Becca Fitzpatrick has a nice writing style. The climax/fight/confrontation scene is actually written quite well with unexpected twists and a lot of action. I could tell that Fitzpatrick spent a lot of thought and effort making all the novel's prior events build up to it. The dialogue is at times pretty interesting, and sometimes even entertaining, especially the dialogue between Nora and Patch. Patch's quips are snappy, funny, and definitely liven up the book a little. Vee, Nora's best friend/sidekick, also kicks a little life into the story. BUT BUT BUT. One thing about Becca Fitzpatrick's writing I have a serious problem with is lines like this:
It's not just Becca Fitzpatrick. Countless other books describe characters' emotions only through their eyes. So many books do this, and it's just not cool. Eyes that "held more depth" and were "sharpened by a protective edge", really? We get it, you want your male lead to be shown as a sensitive, tortured soul, but there are other ways of describing emotion. Reading lines like these, instead of feeling a pang of emotion for Patch I pretty much did this:
"Patch leaned against the doorjamb. His mouth was pressed tight and lacked its usual twinge of humor. His eyes held more depth than I'd ever seen before. They were sharpened by a protective edge." (381)
So yes, I definitely did have a lot of problems with this book, but Hush, Hush did have it's strong points. The writing, Patch's humour, Vee, the final action scene, and even Nora's sane side make me not have to smack this book against the wall, even if it is all an overused cliche. Will I be reading the rest of the series? Probably, but only in the desperate hope that the worst of the cheesiness is over.
3 Brains out of 5
-you enjoyed Twilight
-you're big on romance