I was pretty excited to get a hold of Hush, Hush after I saw the cover, which is completely awesome, and began hearing murmurs of dark goodness floating around the verse. Then I was fortunate enough to win an ARC over at Steph Su Reads. Thanks, Steph and Becca! I'm going to preface my comments by saying that if you really want to know what I thought of this book you should go read Chelle's review over at Tempting Persephone because I agree with every single thing she said. No joke. Chelle and I are often one on our reactions to a book, but this time I feltexactly the same way. In every particular. Unfortunately, in this case, it was a book neither of us loved. We wanted to. But we didn't. Several things got in the way.
Nora Grey is your average high school sophomore. Intent on getting through the year with her grade point average intact and her best friend Vee at her side, she is dismayed to find herself partnered with the broody, mysterious Patch in biology class. Patch seems to delight in intimidating the hell out of Nora. He goads her, teases her, persists in getting to know all her hidden quirks and fears and exploiting them. No one seems to know where he came from or who he really is and, as he continues to pursue Nora, she becomes obsessed with finding some answers to the mystery of Patch and his mercurial smile. Against her friend's, her counselor's, even her mother's advice, Nora spends more time in Patch's questionable company. Bit by bit, as she puts two and two together, Nora develops an impossible theory as to stalkerboy's origins...along with a pretty healthy attraction to her dark shadow.
Let's start with the good. Becca Fitzpatrick displays some solid writing skills in her debut novel. I enjoyed her way with words, the honest and wry observations Nora made about her world, and the deft descriptions of bad boy Patch. And you've got to hand it to Simon & Schuster's packaging job. That's one gorgeous cover, coupled with a killer title given the subject matter of this YA paranormal. Lastly, the whole idea behind this book is top notch. The Paradise Lost fangirl in me loves the notion of fallen angels, struggling to reclaim their former glory and still maintain their fierce independence, tangling their destinies up with mere mortals. It's a recipe for a cracking good story. The problem I ran into was in the characters themselves. Everyone knows I'm a sucker for the bad boys. I'll take Spike over Angel, Logan over Piz, Eric over Bill, and George over Jonathan any day of the week. On the surface of things Patch seemed made to order. Except he never won me over. He was just bad. No boyishness at all, really. Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of chemistry between these two. But when he wasn't smoldering, Patch was pretty creepy. And not in a good way. He felt cold, alien, and like your worst stalker nightmare. I was unable to find romance in his meanness and I didn't want Nora to be with him. Unfortunately, I didn't really want him to be with her either. Nora didn't wear any better for me. She felt like a stand-in for a cool character and I couldn't seem to summon the energy to care whether or not she died, fell in love, or passed biology. Not necessarily in that order. The rest of the characters felt annoyingly one dimensional and forgettable and this proved to be the ultimate stumbling block for me. There were also several unfortunate and distracting similarities to Twilight (I'm sorry, but it's just no longer possible to have your smart-but-uncoordinated heroine meet and become lab partners with the dangerously-handsome-and-supernatural-to-boot bad boy in biology class), some strangely pointless plot threads, and an unconvincing denouement. But my lack of enjoyment remained rooted in the unsympathetic characterization. Now, this reaction is mine alone and will certainly not be true for all (or even very many) readers. I see Hush, Hush finding a very fond, dedicated readership (just check out some of the glowing reviews below). As Chelle said, it just wasn't for me.