by Becca Fitzpatrick
A lot of us, yes?
But how many of us actually turned around and actually wrote our own paranormal teen romance? Not quite so many, right?
Well, it is my personal theory that this gut reaction is exactly the impetus that led Becca Fitzpatrick to write her debut novel, Hush, Hush.
We have two students in high school, Patch and Nora. Patch is a tall, dark and handsome transfer student who meets Nora when they are assigned to sit together in their biology class. (Seriously? Since when was biology the class to pick up chicks?) Nora, our clumsy, bookish heroine, finds Patch mysterious and sexy. She’s attracted to him, but she knows she shouldn’t be because
A/ he’s a douche
B/ he’s dAnGeRoUs
It turns out Nora, despite being skinny and rather nerdy, is like candy to all the hot guys in her school. In addition to Patch’s
sexual harassment flirtations, Nora has attracted the attention of Elliot, another transfer student with a mysterious past. Soon, she feels like she’s being stalked…even when she’s alone in her own bedroom. Torn between her desire for Patch and her fear of his status as a fallen angel (which she figures out with the help of Google, naturally), will Nora make the ultimate sacrifice for love?*
* No, really. Do you think she will?
If this book was, in fact, written in response to Twilight as I suspect, then Becca Fitzpatrick succeeded because Hush, Hush is a superior novel in so many ways.
First of all, Nora has friends. In fact, she has a best friend, called Vee, and they do everything together - Shopping, homework, talking about boys, you name it. When Nora is with Vee, she acts like a normal teenager instead of some preternaturally mature mini-adult. It also gives Nora credibility as a lovable heroine because you can see this friend trying to protect her, making sacrifices on her behalf, and if Vee thinks Nora is this great, maybe it’s reasonable for these guys to find her so special, too.
Second, the characters think about sex. A lot. I mean, they’re freaking teenagers, and they have hormones oozing out of every pore. The chastity of Edward Cullen is frankly bizarre, and it is a relief to see a hero and heroine so aware of their desire to do it, even if they never actually get that far.
You’ll notice that I don’t really talk about the whole supernatural arc this book. That’s because it really doesn’t come up for the first two-thirds of the book. You’ve got this gorgeous guy who knows stuff he shouldn’t and seems to alternate between horny and threatening, and it’s pretty obvious something spooky is happening. But Nora is just uncertain enough of things that there’s a possibility that she’s just going crazy. Once the Big Reveal has taken place, however, the action suddenly ramps up and minor characters suddenly become major villains. It’s not unexpected but it’s very sudden. The mythology behind the angels/fallen angels in this book is weak and a bit confusing.
The writing is decent. I was constantly reminded of the plot of Twilight as I read it, but Fitzpatrick can actually write decent dialogue and create realistic character relationships. Like I said at the beginning, it is as if the author took the first few chapters of Twilight and spun it in her own direction, successfully creating her own story and universe. It's not a rip-off by any means. But I do think that if one read the first novel in Stephanie Meyer's series and Hush, Hush back-to-back you'd pick up on more than a few parallels.
The ‘hero’ Patch is a manipulative bastard who plays mind games with Nora, sometimes playfully teasing her and otherwise outright threatening her. Nora suffers from Dumb Horror Chick syndrome; she knows that she shouldn’t open that door/look behind that shower curtain/fall in love with that jerk but she does it anyway. Patch’s personality change towards the end of the novel isn’t very convincing, given how he’s acted for the previous three hundred and fifty pages. I think fans of Twilight and supernatural thrillers will enjoy this very much, but I don’t think it has a lot of crossover appeal.
PS – The ARC (advance reader’s copy) I read does not have the same ending as the final published version of this book. I think only a few sentences were changed, but I haven’t seen a the hardcover in stores yet so I haven’t confirmed.