Saturday, January 7, 2012

On Fallen Angels: A Review of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

I've read quite a few reviews of Hush, Hush, and the one thing I've noticed is how polarized the opinions are. People either love or loath this book--very few people are on the fence about it. Now, having read it, I completely understand why.

At sixteen, Nora Grey has no time for boys. She's busy trying to keep up her perfect GPA in hopes of someday landing a full scholarship to a top school. When she and Patch are paired as biology partners, she's certain it will spell disaster. Patch couldn't care less about school. Worse, he radiates a bad-boy charm that has Nora hopelessly attracted to him, and he's obviously attracted to her in turn. Then, Nora and her friend Vee are repeatedly harassed by a masked attacker, Nora begins to suspect that Patch is following her--and is more than what he seems.

Positive Comments

I hate to admit it, but I like Patch. In real life, guys like Patch--guys with bad boy attitudes, who come on very strong, but seem to care about nothing--turn out to be pure scum, every time. The fact that Patch does not turn out to be scum provides an odd kind of wish fulfillment. Because, let's be honest, who doesn't like bad boys?

I like the core conflict that Patch has to deal with. I can't get too specific without spoiling. He basically has to choose between a lifetime goal and Nora's life. Throughout the book, he bounces back and forth between these two choices. Not giving in to the darker side is a big sacrifice for him, and  I really enjoyed that aspect of the story.

I like the relationship between Patch and Nora--they have excellent chemistry. The book is at it's best when these two are alone together. Patch challenges Nora, putting her in touch with some darker sides of her personality. Nora brings out Patch's softer side. They're honestly good together, and I'm really looking forward to seeing more relationship development in future books.

Critical Comments

I hated Vee. She's dim-witted, she's flighty, she's useless; overall, I would have liked to see a lot less of her. It seems like she's there as a plot device, and her role in moving the plot forward is far more important than her character development. She runs headlong into trouble, her life is threatened, she has to be saved--all of the classic traits of a damsel in distress. In the end, she learns nothing. Did this book really need a damsel type character? No. Granted, she makes Nora look smarter by comparison, but I still would have been happier without her.

The masked stalker plot was only just passably entertaining. It was predictable. It served the purpose of forcing Patch to make his choices. But other than Patch, no one changes or learns anything from the entire experience. Furthermore, this plot had me questioning the intelligence of both Vee and Nora. During the entire climax, I kept wondering why no one was calling the cops. Lives are at stake, after all. But they're afraid that calling the cops would get Vee in trouble, so they handle in themselves. Seriously? Get your priorities straight!

As I said earlier, I understand why this book inspires such love and such hatred. The characters make bad decisions, the relationships aren't what I would call healthy, and the writing is only alright. On the other hand, the characters are all the more interesting for their imperfections (except Vee: I hope she dies in a fire), the relationships are complex and deliciously dangerous, and I was completely invested in the story the entire time. For me, this book was a guilty pleasure. There are a lot of problems with it, no question. Yes, some readers will hate this book. But if you're like me, and you enjoy YA fantasy with bad boy heroes, this is a good book for you. 4 stars.

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