005 – Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush cover Romance was not part of Nora Grays 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.

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 cant 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 a battle between the immortal and those who have fallen-and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong chose will cost Nora her life.
First of all, we call FALSE ADVERTISING. “…battle between the immortal and those who have fallen” OUR ASSES.

Characters There is a trend right now in YA fiction that is prevalent in a lot of the books that we’ve read, and that needs to be addressed in this particular review. That is, for typically smart, sensible, level-headed girls to act like complete morons when it comes to being stalked by handsome, mysterious classmates. Nora Grey in Hush, Hush is probably the worst example of this particular trope that we’ve seen so far.

From day one, she feels uncomfortable with the new boy in class who sits next to her. He knows more about her than he reasonably should, and enjoys taunting and provoking her with this knowledge. And to her credit, her first instincts and actions have her handling the situation pretty much the way you would expect any girl her age to; she doesn’t keep quiet or accept it as OMG FLATTERY. She confronts this rude, douche bag of a stalker “love interest” about his behavior to his face, and when he brushes her protests off, she goes to an authority figure (her teacher), to further handle the situation for her. TAKE NOTES BELLA: this is how you handle a stalker. Okay, now stop taking notes. Where Nora fails as a strong character and role model in this situation is in her resolve. She second-guesses herself and her instincts, and from the very beginning, goes back on her word and her resolutions regarding Patch.

For example, during their initial meeting, Nora fails to collect any information on Patch for an assignment that requires them to interview and write a paper about the person they sit next to. To bait Nora, Patch gives her his phone number on the pretense of allowing her to interview him outside of school. After his provocative behavior during class, Nora tells him flat-out to his face “I will never call you.” And promptly proceeds to go home after school and call him.

During the course of their conversation, Patch refuses to answer any questions, and instead implies that she should come down to the dive bar where he hangs out playing pool. Again, Nora tells him absolutely not, and refuses to go. Then hangs up the phone, and talks herself into flipping a coin to decide whether or not she really will. Needless to say, she ends up driving to the bar.

Nora has other issues as a character that are better explained in this article about YA in general and Hush, Hush specifically, as they relate to women and rape culture. We agree whole-heartedly with her analysis, and there’s honestly no way we could put these issues any better than she did, so we recommend it to get a better perspective on that aspect of the characters and book.

Nora’s love interest (and we use that term so very loosely) is Patch, a centuries-old vampire fallen angel with a goddamn dog’s name (the explanation for this is stupid and doesn’t excuse a retarded name. How can we even take this seriously? HOW?). His character is nothing more than a creepy asshole who shows absolutely no redeeming qualities aside from being handsome and mysterious and an excellent kisser. He is outright hostile to Nora, without even the traditional veil of charm, wit, and the all-important ‘protectiveness’ to mask his stalkery and outright homicidal tendencies. He is a blatantly scary and mean bastard that nobody IN THEIR RIGHT MIND could ever be expected to fall for, and yet Nora is inexplicably attracted to him, despite her better judgment and honest-to-god literally believing the guy is out to kill her. Apparently his being dubbed the ‘love interest’ by the in-flap summary and his, you know, being there is supposed to be enough to carry his character and this chemistry-less, predatory romantic relationship.


The secondary characters are Vee, Nora’s best friend; Elliot and Jules, two transfer boys interested in Nora and Vee; Dabria, Patch’s ex and the angel of death; and Marcie, resident cheerleader bitch. As a character, and a pretty frequently present one at that, Vee was annoying and pushy and obnoxious and, as it seems to go in a lot of YA paranormal romance books, not a very good friend to the heroine. Her few defining characteristics were being overweight and perky and cheating on her color-coded fruit diet.

Elliot and Jules have the awkward position of being in the book, but utterly ignorable because you know in the end that they’re a) not going to end up with the heroine, and b) most likely going to turn out to be evil, which is another one of this book’s flaws, but more on that later. Dabria is sort of a random character who pops in and out mostly just to establish her presence so that her involvement in one of the book’s climaxes can be called a ‘twist’, and isn’t just out of nowhere. She has no dimension other than being a homicidally jealous ex. The same could be said of Marcie, who never makes it beyond ‘bitchy cheerleader rival’.

World: Despite what the cover claims, this book isn’t about any epic battle between immortals and fallen angels. This isn’t The Prophecy, it’s fucking Twilight with angels. This book is about Nora and her stalker boyfriend, and thus the ‘world’ aspect takes a backseat to the relationship. The background information that we get (the existence of fallen angels, and human-angel hybrids, or nephilim) is nothing particularly groundbreaking or original (I mean Jesus, the angels don’t even sparkle, what the fuck?) and very little is actually done with it. It’s hard to critique a world when it’s not the primary, or really even secondary focus of the novel. And really, unless you count a theme park having a goddamn FALLEN-ANGEL-THEMED ROLLER COASTER that helps to foreshadow Patch’s fall from grace, there’s nothing to really distinguish this world from ours. In short, it needs expansion to even really be considered its own ‘world’.

Christopher Walken would have improved this so much -_-;
Plot: Predictable and needlessly complicated. There were one too many villains, one too many twist reveals, and (gasp!) one too many fake out endings. But the ultimate, for-real boss fight/ending was both convenient and troubling. You can pick out the villain(s) from literally the first chapter, and their final confrontation is all kinds of confusing; Patch possesses Nora, and uses her to break out of a bad spot and take a few jabs at the villain. But apparently he can only do this for a few minutes, and then gets knocked out or some shit, becoming so absolutely useless and absent from the boss fight that he might as well not be there at all. Then there are the loopholes that allow Patch and Nora to have a happy ending, which don’t hold up to reasonable logic. But really, the most troubling thing about the climax (haha) is Nora’s sacrifice.

!~*spoiler*~!

We are told three quarters of the way through the book that in order to become human, Patch must sacrifice a nephilim, which is why he was stalking nephilum-descendant Nora (WHAT A CATCH, that boy, amirite?). Now, just to be clear: this wont extend his life span, it wont redeem or save him from anything, all it does is allow him to physically feel, and make him mortal. Essentially, it improves his quality of life. Now, knowing that he initially intended to kill her for this reason, Nora still falls in love with Patch (but it’s ok, because he took it back and omg is ~*in love*~), and her ultimate romantic expression, in the end, is to offer her life for his humanity. There is not enough fucked up to describe this! She KILLED HERSELF FOR HER HOMICIDAL STALKER!!!! Seriously, how stupid is this situation! JUST…WHAT? WHAT? You know whatHIS BIG EXPRESSION OF LOVE WAS? NOT SACRIFICING HER FOR THE SAKE OF BEING ABLE TO GET LAID MORE THAN ONCE A YEAR. JUST WHAT???

GAHADSNGFDKLNADFL:KNF *headdesk*

…okay. We’re better now.

Anyway.

For the sheer amount of offensive and sexist and just MORONIC bullshit in this book, we do not recommend it. AT ALL. Don’t even touch it. It’ll burn you.

one star


 

13 Responses

  1. Kate Evangelista

    June 12, 2010 8:59 am, Reply

    I’ve read the review that you’ve linked in this review a while back. A friend sent it to me. The thing is, I agree with your review more than with the other one I’ve read because it was obvious that she didn’t finish reading the book. For me, it’s a big no, no to write a review about a book I haven’t finished. There’s no real basis for judgement there.

  2. Kayla & Cyna

    June 15, 2010 6:04 pm, Reply

    Yeah, there’s really no call for reviewing a book you haven’t finished, but still, the stuff she called the book out for was valid. Thanks, though 🙂

  3. Kayla & Cyna

    June 15, 2010 6:04 pm, Reply

    Yeah, there’s really no call for reviewing a book you haven’t finished, but still, the stuff she called the book out for was valid. Thanks, though 🙂

  4. Autumn

    August 5, 2010 6:47 pm, Reply

    This made me laugh. I have to agree. Patch was a dumb name. Dabria’s existence was “patchy” LOL at best and just didn’t make much sense really.

  5. Kayla + Cyna

    August 5, 2010 7:01 pm, Reply

    lol well thanks, we’re glad, I guess that means we’re doing it right 😀 Yeah, Dabria just seemed thrown in there for a twist’s sake. And lol Patch. Heh.

  6. Smash Attack!

    August 17, 2010 1:01 am, Reply

    Thanks for the comment on my blog. Your perspective on Hush, Hush is definitely not the first I’ve heard. Many people found Patch an abusive stalker and Nora and imbecile with no backbone. However, I guess I just don’t analyze these books the way that you do. You do a fine job, I’ll tell you that! I didn’t find Patch abusive, although he definitely had stalker qualities. It was nothing new in way of content, but I was really drawn to Patch. I guess I just like sarcastic, cocky asshats. *shrugs* 🙂

  7. Kayla + Cyna

    August 17, 2010 7:31 pm, Reply

    It wasn’t that Nora was an imbecile, she just didn’t have the sense that she should have, but if she had well, then the plot wouldn’t have gone anywhere.

    Thanks xD We try.

  8. scurphufelump2010

    December 2, 2010 10:08 pm, Reply

    It was the best book I’ve ever read! how can u say stuff like that? but i have to admit that patch is a dumb, and annoying name, and i got confused near the end-ish part at the motel, and patch could’ve been a little nicer. but he cared about her, and always told the truth! that’s what counts right?
    just my opinion

    -jay

  9. Kayla + Cyna

    December 6, 2010 9:10 pm, Reply

    Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but we can say stuff like that about Hush Hush very easily. We’ve been hard on some books we’ve reviewed, but this isn’t one of them.

    And no, to us, his caring about her isn’t what counts. The way he treats her is what matters to us. And he treated her like crap. Not only was he there to kill her, but he made no attempt to hide it. He menaced her, provoked her, sexually harassed her in public, among other things. I mean, he was so predatory that she was convinced not only that he was trying to kill her, but during one encounter that he might rape her. How are we supposed to like a root for this kind of guy?

    Not only that, but Nora was a terrible heroine. Despite feeling everything we mentioned above, she still fell for Patch. Even though she was AFRAID HE WOULD KILL HER.

    We know that if we were seriously afraid some guy would attack/kill us, we’d STOP HANGING AROUND HIM. Any sensible girl would do the same.

    So yeah, that’s our opinion. Not a fan.

  10. Gwen Lightburn

    April 11, 2011 2:46 am, Reply

    Who would win in a UFC bare-knuckle brawl? Hush, Hush or all of the House of Night books?

    I’d have to sit in the Hush, Hush corner. It really comes down to voice. I can tolerate more junk with plot and character when it’s written decently. I feel like the Cast women could use a good 2 years in a community college creative writing course to teach them the basics of story and prose.

    Nearly all of these YAs conform to the ultra-fucked formula of weak, virginal girl falls for thinly veiled stalker-rapist. Actually, it isn’t a new conventional formula. Stoker’s Dracula and 99.9% of Victorian literature hops on that train. In fact, that’s pretty much the reason I started reading all of these things, and it’s at the core of the academic research I’m interested in.

    That being said, I used to fantasize about guys like Patch. It’s common for females to fantasize about being seduced–which, in the sexually immature mind often translates to being controlled, restrained, raped. I liked one thing about Patch over Edward Cullen, Jace Wayland, or any other archetypical YA jerks: he doesn’t change his tactics, and he doesn’t get “pained” looks on his face because he “loves” her so much. He’s there to bang/kill her, and that’s it…until he “saves” her.

    To end this tome–which would be much more fun over a coffee and scone–I have more of a problem with the way the females are written than the way the males are. When are we gonna get a heroine who is strong, not because she “kicks ass,” but because she has conviction and pride?

    • ZeldaQueen

      February 27, 2016 5:22 pm, Reply

      “Who would win in a UFC bare-knuckle brawl? Hush, Hush or all of the House of Night books?”

      It’s really hard to say. On one hand, the Cast ladies have legitimately interesting ideas, (try to) make use of Native American mythology (which is sadly pretty underrepresented in media), and (again, try to) bring attention to issues like rape or women being denied power. On the other hand, they botch up the mythology they try to use and have their own set of incredibly messed-up views on gender politics (not to mention, while they write against flat-out rape/harassment like Patch displays, they seem to be unaware that manipulation and emotional abuse is no better. Not to mention, they try to retcon a fucking rapist immortal being as a Good Guy and have him redeemed and returned to his Lady Love… who had banished him to begin with BECAUSE he was a creepy douchebag).

      Both series engage in excessive slut shaming, but with different vibes. HoN is disturbingly preachy in what girls Should and Should Not Do while the slut shaming of Marcy Miller (which REALLY gets bad in later books in the series) comes across as… very personal. Like, given how the author gave a rather unsettling account of telling stories with her sister about locking her kindergarten bullies into a school bus and sending them off a cliff and spinning that as her start in storytelling and given what ends up happening to Marcy by the end of the series, I get the nasty feeling she’s meant as a stand-in for that.

      “Stoker’s Dracula and 99.9% of Victorian literature hops on that train.”

      Although really, that’s why Stoker portrayed Dracula as a monster. Him stalking and draining Lucy and Mina of blood was meant to horrify the readers, not intrigue or titillate them. That’s also why vampire Lucy was portrayed as so terrifying, in comparison to her sweet, beautiful human self. (Of course, countless modern-day writers have missed that point. -_- You could do a drinking game out of all the rewritten/AU/continuation novels that have Dracula as a tragic bad boy who is Mina’s REAL tru wuv).

      “That being said, I used to fantasize about guys like Patch.”

      I think one of the issues books like Hush, Hush and Twilight have are the author getting so wrapped up in the fantasy that they forget what it looks like to an outside party. THEY know the Bad Boy isn’t going to strangle the Heroine and leave her body in a dumpster, so nobody ever seems to act like that’s a serious possibility. So if that possibility is blocked off, everything else comes across as kinky foreplay.

      “I liked one thing about Patch over Edward Cullen, Jace Wayland, or any other archetypical YA jerks: he doesn’t change his tactics, and he doesn’t get “pained” looks on his face because he “loves” her so much. He’s there to bang/kill her, and that’s it…until he ‘saves’ her.”

      No, he does get all ~~tragically regretful~~ when he talks about the circumstances behind his falling (he got lustful for a human girl and ditched heaven, then found out he was a dumbass who leaped before he looked) and how he used to be SUCH a bad person. The sequels ramp it up with him being all “The other angels want to send me to Hell because I’m breaking the rules and am dangerous for you, Nora” and Nora’s all, “NOOOOOOOOOO~ you aren’t! D8” and I’m like, “Uh, yeah, he is.”

      “When are we gonna get a heroine who is strong, not because she ‘kicks ass,’ but because she has conviction and pride?”

      I hear ‘ya. In the case of Hush, Hush, I’d just stand for a heroine who actually MATTERS. Nora is such a nonentity in her own story, it’s sickening. The only reason she’s ever included in any part of anything is because Patch decided that he liked her (while stalking her!) and was going to date her.

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