By Becca Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
To Sum It Up: High school student Nora Grey never could have predicted that a simple Biology class assignment would turn her life upside down. Once she is partnered with a mysterious classmate named Patch, strange and disturbing things begin happening to Nora. Not only does Patch seem to know everything about her, but he also displays a knack for showing up wherever she goes. While Nora senses an element of danger surrounding Patch, she finds herself unable to turn away from him, either. Nora’s efforts to uncover Patch’s secrets lead her to a shocking truth about herself- one that explains why she is the target of fallen angels.
Review: I know that you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I frequently do so anyway. When a book sports an amazing cover like the one that Hush, Hush does, I can’t resist picking it up and at least checking out the jacket summary. The story sounded promising; in the end, though, I found it disappointing.
Some parts of the plot gave my brain a good boggle. At the beginning of the book, we learn that Nora’s father was murdered. How can Nora’s mother allow her daughter to stay by herself at night when she’s away on one of her frequent business trips? Then there's Nora's friend, Vee, whose endless supply of crazy schemes comes in handy, say, to give Nora a diversion so that she can rifle through confidential school records in search of info on Patch. It's too bad that Vee can't channel some of that cleverness towards realizing that she's frequently in the company of two very, very sketchy guys. At one point, Vee texts Nora that she's at a party with said sketchy guys, Elliot and Jules. This concerns Nora greatly, but it's not until about fifty pages (and one motel stop with Patch) later that she gives Vee a ring to make sure that the latter got home safely from the party. The best What-Is-Going-On-Here Moment, though, was when Elliot turned up at Nora's front door demanding that she accompany him, Jules, and Vee (who of course thought that this was the greatest idea ever) on a camping trip. Huh? By the end of the book everything makes sense, but better transitions between preceding events would have made this a smoother read, at least for me.
Like the majority of Hush, Hush itself, I have mixed feelings about Nora. She’s astute enough to spot danger in the air; then she makes a beeline towards it. Exhibit A: her relationship with Patch. In Chapter 2, she observes: “I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but something about Patch wasn’t right. Something about him wasn’t normal. Something wasn’t . . . safe.” Good work so far, Nora. Maybe you should make a run for the opposite direction right now. By Chapter 26, however, she hasn’t made much progress with her opinion of Patch, noting that, “He was the worst kind of wrong. He was so wrong it felt right.” This is going to sound blasphemous to those who loved the book, but I just don’t understand why Nora falls for Patch in the first place, especially since she suspects that he’s 1.) stalking her and 2.) means her bodily harm. Normally, I’m very sweet on sarcastic male characters. If Patch’s snark was meant to be charming, I failed to find it so most of the time. In fact, some of his comments to Nora are downright creepy.
So how did I manage to finish reading this book? The writing itself was solid and engaging enough that I still wanted to find out what happened next. If the plotting hadn’t been so haphazard, I probably would have enjoyed Hush, Hush more.
All in All: I borrowed this from the library. I’m glad that I didn’t allow my admiration of the cover to persuade me to buy it. At some point, I might borrow Crescendo just to see if it’s an improvement over its predecessor. I hope so, because I thought that Hush, Hush had a lot of potential that wasn’t fully realized.