Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Woo. Long review. But, first blog review for this book! (That's actually the reason you're seeing this so early. Give it a couple of months and EVERYONE will be reviewing it.)

There’s something almost seductive about the title, isn’t there? It kind of dares you to pick the book up.

Anyway. It all begins when Coach--he who teaches biology--forces Nora, a straight-A student, to switch lab partners and she suddenly finds herself opposite of Patch, a mysterious-seeming senior. At the same time, things are going terribly awry. Nora’s sure she’s being followed. Her room’s ransacked. And everywhere she turns, Patch is there, lips tugged in a smile, the face of confidence.

And he seems to know everything about her. At once she doesn’t know if she should succumb to his charms and run into his arms, or listen to her gut and run away from him. Whatever he wants, he’s not telling her. To escape his lure, Nora turns to the other boy vying for her attention, Elliot. But he’s not what he seems either, and the connection between him and Patch runs deeper and deadlier than she could know.

Basically? Nora’s stuck in the middle of a sinister game of revenge. Both Patch and Elliot seem to want something from her, and in a place where sides shift suddenly and unearthing hidden motives gives way to more secrets, Nora’s got some tough soul-searching ahead of her to figure out whom to trust--and not much time to get there.

The first chapter opens in biology class, with a Barbie doll and her Ken counterpart stripped naked and covered with leaves in strategic places. They’re about to start on the reproduction unit. Immature comments are shouted out and upfront and center we meet three integral characters: Nora, Vee (the BFF), and Patch. And so it begins, this journey with them, where at equal parts it feels like we’ve known them our whole lives (they’re well-written) and, especially where Patch is concerned, they keep us at the edge of our seats (again, they’re well written). And they shine.

Oh, but does Patch shine. Here’s your unabashedly cocky (anti?)hero, an absolute ass, and possibly all the more attractive for it. Not one thing that comes out of his mouth is predictable, except maybe predictably swaggering, and it’s that quality and his unwillingness to share part of his past that make him magnetic. It’s hard to say this without giving spoilers, but we see many, many sides of him, most of which are not goody-goody, which serve to make him one of the most complex and interesting characters in the book.

And the plot? What can I say about the plot so as to not give anything away? Well, it’s clever and hides surprises in the folds of its intricacies. Especially when you’ve got the pacing this book does, which makes five pages go by in no time, ten stretch into twenty, and fifty come and go in a snap. There’s actually even a scene at the very, very end where the plot turns in on itself and ties things up in a way I would usually hate but couldn’t here because I thought it was bright and fitting with the story.

Which doesn’t go to say this book is perfect. First up is a classic case of a useless character--in this case a bitchy cheerleader named Marcie--who dropped off the face of the earth and resulted in an unresolved plot thread. Second: For a proclaimed disciplined student, Nora lacked a certain amount of drive. Heroines without it are no-no to me. But, you know, she’s under constant threat. So we may see some redemptive ambition in the sequel. Here’s to hoping. Further, there’s a leap in the progression of the Nora/Patch dynamics that made things feel a bit too sudden and mistimed. (I’ll have more to say after it’s released.) And finally, I hate to be the one to compare yet another book to Twilight, but there were a couple of scenes that brought it to mind. Nothing formulaic or that made Hush, Hush unoriginal, and I’m not sure if the existence of said scenes is necessarily negative, but…I could do without the surges of déjà vu, y’know?

That said, it’s really hard to hold all of that against the book, though, when I recognize that, save for my minor complaints, this is exactly the type of thing I like to and want to read: dark and both relevant and whimsical, with memorable characters, great quotability, and abundant humor. Hush, Hush doesn’t stop at exciting--it was an experience so complete and enjoyable, it tides you over. It’s not hard to picture fandoms being built around it, copious fanfic taking up terabytes of space, or a movie being made. There’s just that special quality that makes it compulsive and turns willing readers loyal. A shoo-in for the best of 2009, obviously. A shoo-in for a lot more, actually, but I’ll stop here and observe how things will unfold.

I read somewhere that Ms Fitzpatrick worked on this book for five years and has over two thousand pages of deleted scenes to show for it. That’s a lot of dedication. And it worked: this is good. You gotta give it to her--she earned the buzz she’s been getting, which I’m sure is just the tip of the iceberg for what comes down the line. So, tell me, Becca, how does it feel?

Simon & Schuster BFYR | 400 pages | October 13th, 2009 (you'll get a reminder closer to pub date) | Becca's website | GoodReads | IndieBound | Amazon

45 comments:

Lianne said...

this looks really good, I can't wait to read it!

Diana Dang said...

Sounds good though regardless of the Twilight duplicate scenes! =)

NotNessie said...

Thanks for the great review! I have to say, yours are some of the only reviews I actually read every word of.

I occasionally have trouble with anti-hero type characters... I guess maybe I like to keep my good guys and bad guys completely separate and uncomplicated. But I think I'll check this one out anyway.

Erica said...

You review makes me want to read Hush, Hush all the more :P

Kimberly Derting said...

I can't wait to get my hands on this one, the cover alone makes me lust after it. So glad to see such a great review!

beth said...

The cover alone makes this one stand out. And what great typography on the title!

That said...I'm actually a little hesitant to get it. I teach high school kids and run the creative writing club. Which is just to say that I've been inundated with this kind of story. Since Twilight came out, I've avoided almost everything with that kind of angsty, the boy is really vampire/werewolf/supernatural, the girl is caught in the middle kind of story. Do you think this one really stands out as unique in that sort of genre?

Alea said...

You know this book is going to be good when it's already set to release in like 12 countries, that is amazing!

Lisa Schroeder said...

Oooh, good review! I think this one is going to be a HUGE success!!

Amee said...

I still can't get past Patch being a dog's name, but it does sound interesting.

Are you not giving novels grades anymore? The last two haven't had grades. :|

Tina said...

Thank you for the early review. Thanks to your review I'll definately be pre-ordering me a copy.

Elaine said...

you can read the first two chapters here:
http://books.simonandschuster.ca/Hush-Hush/Becca-Fitzpatrick/9781416989417/excerpt/2

debbiesworld said...

OMG. I can't believe you got a copy of this! I've been wanting to read it ever since I saw the cover. I love your review. It sounds wonderful. I can't believe she had 2000 deleted pages.

BookChic said...

First off, so jealous you have this. I have been wanting it SO. BADLY. It looks amazing! I didn't even know you had it, lol.

Second, great review! I love reading your reviews and have really missed them lately. Very fun to see your thoughts on this highly anticipated book (at least by us bloggers, lol).

Alea said...

And I'm so jealous I was standing right there when you got that, I must have been in outerspace, I remember asking you what it was about though!

Jessica Burkhart said...

Great review! I loved it! :)

Khy said...

I'm coming to your house to steal this. Ok? :D

Ashley said...

Now I really want to read this. Good review! Who cares if it's long? :P

And yes, I love the title, too! (And the cover.)

pirate penguin said...

your review of the book made me feel like I was in a nice dream that was starting to pick up the pace until I wake up and BAM-dream's gone. *head hangs* Auugh, I really want this book! You make it sound so tanatalizing, lol.

Miss Cindy said...

It sounds great, awesome review :)

Ashley said...

It sounds soooo good. Great review.

Steph Su said...

*hugs* I'm so glad that my hunch about how awesome this book is going to be wasn't wrong. Now I'm looking forward even more to hopefully reading and reviewing it!

Rhiannon Hart said...

So why the Icarus-falling-from-the-sky imagery on the cover? How does it relate to the book? A metaphor for "flying too close to the sun"? Or will I have to wait to read it...NOooooo! :)

Steph said...

I can't explain the cover without spoiling the book, sorry. But yes, it's very symbolic.

a flight of minds said...

I am now doubly excited for this book. The title is amazing, because one of my favourite words is hush. The cover is gorgeous. And your review makes it sound great. The snarky anit-hero? Right up my alley. Thanks for the great review!

- Alex

jessica_shea said...

Great review! I can't wait to read this one. And the cover is so gorgeous!

Reader rabbit said...

Great review! I'm jealous..
Only thing is, I don't know if I'm going to be able to get over the fact that the guy's name is Patch. I'm going to be imagining Patch the real person while reading that book...which will detract from Patch's attractiveness

Kami Garcia said...

Can't wait to read this.

ilonga said...

I know you know this, but I have to say it: you are SO lucky... there you are reading that awesome book and here we mortals have to wait until october.

Thanks for this great review. Good as always :)

bec_fitzpatrick said...

Oh man, Steph! What an awesome review. I'm probably going to be all egotistical and come back and read it every morning...haha. And, um, yeah. I'm glad I stuck with it for five years. Whew! There were a couple times when I almost quit (one too many rejections, I suppose). Interestingly enough, I got an email recently from a woman who read the story back in 2007, when she was an assistant to an agent (she now works as an editor). Anyway, she said waaay back then even though she had to reject the story, she always hoped I'd stick with it and make it. It's always cool to look back and know people were cheering for you even when you didn't know about it. The guardian angels of publishing, I suppose :)

Thanks again,
Becca

Sarah said...

The cover alone makes me covet this book!

Anonymous said...

Great review! I agree with your points, since I read this book a few months back. The final cover is looking nice, I must say!

--Linda

Fauxreal said...

You completely sold me on this. Fantastic review -- you can add me to the list of the zillion bloggers who'll be reviewing this in the upcoming months.

Lenore said...

Ah man! You scooped me ;) I wanted to be the first to review SOMETHING! Maybe next time.

Anyway, of course I am thrilled that this is getting great buzz and that it deserves it.

the wanderer said...

Oh this is next on my to-read list! I'm excited now to get home and get to it after reading your review!

Emilia said...

What a great review :) I thought you & your readers may be interested in this interview with the fabulous Becca! http://teenswritingforteens.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/interview-with-author-becca-fitzpatrick/

Liviania said...

This sounds exactly like the kind of thing I love. And I adore that cover. It's very creepy.

Jess said...

This sounds like a fantastic read and look at that gorgeous cover! Thanks for the first look review!

Okie said...

I found out about this book a few weeks ago and added it to my wishlist. Thanks for a great review that helped me get even more excited about it.

Melissa said...

Dark and both relevant and whimsical - sounds good to me! 'm not the only one to say this, but I would pick this book up based on the cover art alone - says a lot about what some good art can do for a product :)

Rabid Fox said...

I very nice review. As if I didn't have enough want for this title, it's cemented now. I must find this book.

RagDollVampGirl said...

Hey!!

Great Review..

Posted About It On My Blog...

Check It Out!!

http://yabookreleases.blogspot.com/2009/06/news-on-author-becca-fitzpatrick.html

xoxo
RagDollVampGirl

Ally said...

Awesome review, as usual. I must read this book...

Laina said...

Aaaahhh!!! I'm so jealous of you, I've been drooling over this one for a couple weeks now!! And the author's so nice, isn't she? *eyes turn green* Seriously, jealous, you're sooo lucky!

neat, I wasn't the only one who saw the resemblence to Twilight, it's not just Twilight on my brain.

Anonymous said...

i love the book, ive read it via the internet and i cant wait to get the book (unless of course my dad doesnt let me by yet more books) i hope they make it into a movie. because it would be a must see film. like i sed i love the book it is absaloutly amazing. it is a MUST READ book. :) :D

Anonymous said...

ive started reading the book and i love it ,
its amazing and nothing like the twilight saga :)
patch is the best character in the book so far its well worth buying i absaloutly love it :)

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