Hush Money starts off with Joss back in school after the “disappearance” of a classmate, Krista. Everyone knows Krista was taken away because of her Talent, but nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody ever likes to talk about Talents. Joss has been trained to be invisible, to blend in as much as possible. She avoids speaking in general and she doesn’t have any friends. But Kat, another student in Joss’s year, is determined to change this. And once Kat starts talking to Joss, other people begin to as well, like Joss’s long-time crush, Dylan. Joss soon realises she can’t go back to the way her life was before, but the fear she has always had still remains. What would happen if anyone found out she had a Talent?
Hush Money is an engrossing, fast-paced read. It’s told from two points of view; Joss’s and Dylan’s, and this dual narration is one reason this is such an engaging book. Hush Money is never boring because the switching of view-points keeps the story on track and moving forwards. I loved reading from both perspectives; I enjoyed Joss’s because it gave me a chance to relate to her, and it also helped build the back-story of the town and Talents. I liked Joss’s awkward first interaction with Kat – it’s easy to see that she’s not used to speaking to people because she’s been avoiding them for so long. I also liked how we got to see Joss become slightly more confident with each chapter and how she began to feel less uncomfortable around people than before. We were also given insight on Joss’s home life, which helped explain why Joss was the way she was and really built up and fleshed out her character. However, I also loved reading Dylan’s point of view, mostly because he’s a boy and it was just so interesting to get into his mind. I think his perspective was portrayed pretty realistically and it was definitely enlightening to see the course of events through his eyes. I liked his constant doubt about Marco, and how he was torn between doing the right thing and staying loyal to his best friend of so many years. One thing that really made me love Dylan though (besides the leather jacket :P) was the way he saw Joss, and the thoughts he had about her. He was protective, even from afar, and caring in a sweet yet dedicated way.
Other characters I liked were Kat and Heather. Kat’s very feisty and doesn’t take crap from anyone, and I thought she made a good friend for Joss because they sort of balanced each other out. Heather intrigued me because she has certain rules she abides by which I think make her a very decent person, but also kind of mysterious and almost wise.
Plot wise, Hush Money has the right amount of action, conspiracy, humour (four words: Dylan and Joss’s dad :D) and danger, and while there isn’t a lot of romance, I really appreciated the fact that this wasn’t one of those books where the characters fall in love after five minutes and then spend every waking moment together. The only problems I experienced were a few formatting issues and a few grammar errors, plus the use of a lot of ellipses toward the beginning, but I have no complaints about the story itself. The ending was a bit sudden (no cliff-hanger, just ended quite quickly) for me, but now I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series because I’m anxious to find out what happens next.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed Hush Money and I’d recommend it to anyone who liked Hex Hall or the Darkest Powers series (though there are no werewolves in this one!).