Nora Grey has never met a boy she could fall for. Certainly not at school, and when she winds up with bad boy Patch as a biology partner, she’s desperate to switch. Patch is infuriating, handsome, and way too sure of himself. Not only that, but he knows secrets about Nora he couldn’t possibly know.
Before long, she’s wondering whether Patch has something to do with the terrifying things she’s been seeing recently. A masked man tearing his way into the car she’s driving. A fall from a rollercoaster that should leave her dead, but doesn’t. And everywhere she goes there’s Patch.
Nora’s being drawn into the world of fallen angels. The battle is on, and she’s right at the centre.
I love debut novels, because I never know quite what to expect. No matter what the summary is like, no matter how many reviews I've read, there’s always something deliciously new about the first page of a new author’s first novel.
Hush, Hush has inevitably attracted comparisons to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, and while I think the association is a understandable one, there is a lot more to Becca Fitzpatrick’s debut. Nora Grey is a responsible, studious heroine; Patch is a dangerous character; they’re forced to sit next to one another in biology… Yes, there are surface similarities. However, I actually found Hush, Hush to be a far darker and more complex novel than the big T. In particular, the reader is made aware very early on in the story that Nora is personally under threat - and we’re talking real, someone-wants-to-hurt-her danger with consequences. It’s well-developed and there’s genuine mystery about who is out to get her and why. Page-turning mystery, people, with a whole lot of action. And when we get the answers, they satisfy and they make sense, and a lot of things fall beautifully into place.
Now, on to the romance between Nora and Patch. Actually, I don’t even want to call it a romance. It’s a relationship, and there is a huge amount of chemistry, but it’s not hearts and flowers. It’s dangerous and unnerving, and I spent parts of the book not quite sure whether I liked it. Patch is a bad boy - overconfident, a little bit naughty, and not particularly respectful of personal space. His early actions read like stalking, even to Nora and her best friend Vee. As you might expect, Nora is unsure whether she has the serious hots for him, or should be running scared. In view of this, I wasn’t so keen on the fact that she let herself end up alone with him in several potentially dangerous situations. And yet… Patch is just so darn likeable. He’s funny, unexpected, and just impossible - in a good way. I could deal with it because Nora doesn’t think that certain types of behaviour are okay, and because she gets into these situations unwillingly. I could also deal with it because this inner conflict I felt about Patch was exactly the conflict that Nora was going through.
However, there’s another aspect of the relationship that I really loved, and that I think is expertly done. It’s hard to get into it without spoilerizing to an unforgivable extent, but Nora’s discovery of her true significance for Patch provided me with my single biggest OMG moment of the story. It made me realise how deeply Fitzpatrick had imagined the world of Hush, Hush and how high the stakes were for every character involved. And surprisingly, this made the ending of the book genuinely touching in a way I wouldn’t have imagined in the opening chapters. I often feel a little let down by the endings of books that are the first in a series, but not in this case. There’s resolution, there’s understanding, and there’s still a lot to get me crazy excited about the sequel.
Hush, Hush is without a doubt one of the best YA titles I’ve read this year. Sure, I had my reservations about the ‘romance’ at times. I wasn’t sure I should be willing Nora to get more involved with a boy like Patch. And yet… I couldn’t stop reading. I was intrigued. This is a book about fallen angels, and no creature is going to blur the boundary between good and bad like one of those. The relationship between Nora and Patch is every bit as edgy and complicated as the subject matter demands it should be. Just don’t go into it with your heart set on warm and fuzzy, or expecting it to be just like any other YA out there. This one’s all new.