Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2009
A SACRED OATH
A FALLEN ANGEL
A FORBIDDEN LOVE
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.
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.
Hush, Hush is one of several that’s come out in recent years revolving around the concept of fallen angels, which is a topic that sort of hits me in my weak spot, hence my interest. I looked at this book, Fallen by Lauren Kate, and Halo by Alexandra Adornetto, and decided to go with Hush, Hush because it got the best reviews. Which is not to say that it got absolutely fabulous, raving reviews – it didn’t – but just that this book’s reviews were a tad more on the positive side than the other two titles. Before I get into my actual “review”, let me preface it by saying that, for me personally, the positive reviews AND the negative were completely warranted. This book was the author’s first, and it definitely shows. Likewise, some things weren’t researched terribly well (or, like, AT ALL). But for some reason, this book gripped me and I couldn’t stop reading it; it was like Twilight, in that, once I started, I just wanted to know how it would all work out and end. I gave this book three stars because of that “I can’t stop reading” feeling, and also because of one particular character. It lost stars, however, because of pretty much everything else.
So we have two main characters in this story: Nora, a high school sophomore of above-average intelligence, who is more interested in school than in boys, as she has a desire to get into a “top-tier college” (her words), and Patch, the guy with the “bad boy” persona, who winds up being Nora’s biology lab partner. (First off, can we PLEASE get another subject with which to introduce the main characters? Why must it always be biology? I took high school biology, and there was NOTHING in that class to make it the perfect setting for bringing two characters together. Also, Patch reminded me slightly of Edward, although he was by no means as G-rated as Edward; Patch is no gentleman, although he and Edward both seem to share a penchant for stalking.) The biology teacher – called “Coach” – tells the new lab partners that he wants them to get to know each other, so he tells them to interview each other in order to write an essay about their new lab partner, which they’re to turn in the following class. Because apparently this biology class also teaches composition? Nora introduces herself, and Patch is completely and utterly uncooperative (in fact, at this point we don’t even know his name, because apparently Nora has had class with him for several weeks and NO ONE has ever mentioned his name. Right), until he utters his first words:
“Call me Patch. I mean it. Call me.”
LOL. What follows is Nora’s attempt to keep Patch at a distance, and Patch’s unwillingness to let her do so. See, Patch is basically a stalker; he shows up everywhere Nora is, and devises ways to get her alone with him. His actions even border on being downright creepy. The reader knows from the beginning exactly what Patch is, but, see, Nora is quite honestly the STUPIDEST character I have ever had the (dis)pleasure of reading. Even with clues dropped by Patch himself (he calls her “Angel” and takes her on a roller coaster called The Archangel, and that’s just for starters), it takes her 250 (of 391) pages to figure it out, and even then, deems her findings too frightening to think about, so she, “cram[s] everything [she]’d read into a mental folder … filed it away … and stamped SCARY on the outside.” WHAT? I’m sorry, but if I’d just found out that my not!boyfriend was a fallen angel you can damn well bet I’d do more than try to forget about what I read. ESPECIALLY since she flip flops (sometimes on the same page) between being scared of Patch and thinking he’s trying to kill her to thinking he’d never hurt her, even though she has NO reason to think the latter.
As for Patch, he is the character who kept me reading, even though he is by no means an angel (yes, I know, I went there, and I did it purposely). Patch is the epitome of dark, handsome and arrogant. He has the witty one-liners and the half-smiles and smirks and dark eyes. However, he also does things that border on “yuck”, especially his conversation in biology class about what attracts him to a potential mate, which just tips over the line into sexual harassment. The reason he intrigued me, though, is that he is completely unapologetic about it. He KNOWS he makes Nora uncomfortable – at times, he is purposely doing this – and yet continues to do so. He manipulates her into situations that make her uneasy, but I can’t even blame him because she does nothing to stop him. Nora has no spine, and seems to be incapable of making a decision that isn’t a bad one. She gets put into these situations with Patch because she willingly goes along with whatever he says. How can you fault a guy for being exactly what he is, especially when he’s sort of supposed to be bad? He tells her later, “I’m not a good guy […] but I’ve been worse,” and also tells her flat out that at one point, he did mean her harm. The reasoning behind this is actually pretty interesting – the angel lore, basically – and I wish Fitzpatrick had spent more time on that, and on Patch’s back story, than she spent on Nora being stupid and constantly needing Patch to bail her out. For someone who is supposed to be able to get into a “top-tier school” she is amazingly lacking in good old common sense.
Aside from Nora, I had a lot of other Issues with this book, not the least of which was the author’s lack of research into things she introduced into the story. Let’s start with the biology class itself, which Fitzpatrick apparently never took. Ignoring the “get to know your partner” essay, we also have a blood pressure lab, not to mention an entire unit on sex ed. WHAT? Sex ed is taught in HEALTH, not biology. And while you might talk about reproduction in a sense, you’re certainly not going to get into what attracts you to a mate, or the actual act of sex itself. Then you have the biology teacher, who, when Nora complains that Patch makes her uncomfortable (her one moment of using her brain, seriously), instead of taking her seriously, tells her he’d like her to tutor Patch outside of class! Because OF COURSE that is how a teacher would react to a statement of that nature. There are also several conversations with the police, none of which result in a phone call to Nora’s mom, even though Nora is a minor and can’t be questioned without an adult present. And then there’s the bit about a minor being questioned in a murder investigation that makes it into a newspaper; minors are protected by law, and even if a reporter said that SOMEONE had been questioned, considering that someone was a minor, their name definitely wouldn’t have made the article. But of course, that person being mentioned in the article was needed to move the plot along, so I imagine Fitzpatrick just figured she’d ignore that little tidbit of info, since it would mean having to come up with a different idea and that would probably be too much work. *eyeroll*
And then there’s Vee, Nora’s best friend, who is quite possibly the WORST best friend in the history of best friends. She starts out okay, although there are some things about Nora’s characterization of her that irk me, but once she meets Elliot and Jules, just deviates completely into “bad friend” territory. While at the start Vee is constantly pushing Nora towards Patch, she then flip flops and tries to tell Nora to stay away, even after Nora complains that one of the other two just harassed her and got violent. Vee even goes so far as to ignore Nora’s feelings completely, and tell her that she wants Nora to go camping with the three of them, as if Nora’s complaints aren’t worthy of any further thought. And the situation that culminates in the story’s ending was just UGH. Awful best friend, seriously.
Some other quick things that annoyed me: Nora’s father was killed prior to the start of this story. Nora’s mother, who before the murder was a stay at home mom, decides she needs to get a job, so instead of finding something close, takes up a position that has her traveling nearly all the time, leaving Nora at home by herself. Somehow I’m doubting the legitimacy of this; if my husband had just been killed, I doubt I’d be leaving my daughter alone all the time. This book had a plethora of bad guys, only one of which was actually dealt with in a satisfactory way for me personally. If Nora warranted FOUR different people who meant her harm at one point or another just in the first book, how can the author possibly top this in the rest of the series? ONE bad guy is honestly enough. And don’t even get me started on Nora’s anemia which apparently requires her to pop iron pills like they’re going out of style. There’s a part towards the end where she takes two of them, waits a moment, then starts to “feel the iron work through her system”. What? As someone who suffered from anemia and was put on an iron regimen, I can tell you with 100% certainty that this is not even CLOSE to how it works. And taking two pills isn’t going to automatically cure her dizzy spells, either. Poor research runneth rampant in this book!
This is the first of what I think is meant to be four books, but I won’t be reading any farther. As I said, I gave this three stars (and probably from reading this you’re wondering why, when so much of the book bothered me), mostly because of how quickly it read, some interesting points in the plot (namely anything dealing with the angel lore, which was sadly under-utilized), and Patch. Patch was the big draw, even though I can’t help but feel a little dirty for liking him so much.