Read this. Don't argue: just do it:
"If you don’t like me, I’ll force myself on you until you do. We see this all the time and it’s even romanticized. Everything from romance novels to sitcoms we see women who aren’t interested in a man and we see those men determined to catch her. To pursue her, to convince her that she’ll like me eventually. If I try hard enough, if I harass her long enough... she’s sure to cave in eventually. She can’t say no. And if she does I’ll just assume it’s code for “try harder."
Before you read the rest of this review you should really go and read this post
and this post
on rape culture. Please read them, especially if you don’t like the word feminist, especially if you think Patch is ‘hot’ or ‘romantic’, and especially if you’re thinking about trolling this review. Learn what’s really acceptable before you bash someone for saying Patch isn’t. It seemed so often that the only reason Nora was saying no to Patch was so that she could later relent, thereby confirming the fact that when women say no they really mean yes, especially to hot guys they’re attracted to and frightened of at the same time.
Oh, Ms Fitzpatrick, you’re a crafty one. But 30 pages of non-shittiness at the end of a 400 page book can’t redeem all the shittiness from the earlier pages.
So, here’s what happens in this book.
Nora: Some creepy transfer student is sexually harassing me.
Patch: LOL, you know you want me.
Nora: Fuck off, creep.
Elliot: Hi Nora, I’m the complete opposite of Patch, and I’m your only alternative.
Nora: I better go out with you so I don’t think about Patch.
Patch: Come leave your perfectly normal date and ride on a rollercoaster with me even though you hate me.
New school counsellor: Stay away from Patch
Nora: Okay. But he’s following me anyway so I better confront him.
Patch: You’re so sexy I want to bone you. /threatens rape
Nora: Even though you just threatened to rape me, I’m going to accept a ride home with you because I’m pathetic and I can’t call my mum or a cab or catch a bus.
Patch: Wielding a knife makes me sexy and I’m going to almost kiss you.
Nora: Fuck off. You terrify me.
Patch: Loosen up, babe. You love it. By the way, I was planning on killing you. /sexual assault
Nora: You’re right, I do love it /facenoms
I have to credit Fitzpatrick for her red herrings. I wasn’t sure who to trust or who the antagonist really was until it was revealed. So kudos to her for that. And the other thing I have to say is that Fitzpatrick actually seems to have a grasp of the English language. It’s not her writing technique that I hate, it’s the characters and their attitudes and the messages hidden in this book that disgust me. Fitzpatrick’s clearly written her own teenage fantasy here: to be sexually assaulted by a hot guy who’s so hot the sexual assault is forgiven because the girl really wants it but just pretends she doesn’t to preserve her feminine modesty. Although – I must remind everyone – this book would have had at least five different editors to help her get the basics of grammar and punctuation correct. Also – she’s not afraid of writing fight scenes, unlike several other YA PNR authors who build up and build up and threaten with a war and then fizzle out with nothing.
I was beyond prepared for this book. I still believe that it should not have been published because it glorifies rape culture, the women are complete bitches and the blokes are complete twats. I read this book with my trusty Post It notes beside me and marked the page every time I found something, offensive, stupid, or downright shitty:Um… if I write something about all of these tags, this review will probably take forever… SIGH. Okay, I’ll do it.(view spoiler)[
Coach continued, “Since the dawn of time, women have been attracted to mates with strong survival skills—like intelligence and physical prowess—because men with these qualities are more likely to bring home dinner at the end of the day.”
What about lesbians? Seriously. Do lesbians even exist in this world? This is so fucking sexist it makes me want to vomit. This is around the time Nora’s being openly sexually harassed in the classroom, which pisses me off. I won’t go into how stupid it is that a sports coach is teaching biology, because there are plenty of other reviews that delve into that (yes, some sports teachers do have degrees in biology blah blah blah but it’s not very common and this Coach doesn’t know anything about reproduction: he thinks it means the students have to find a mate RIGHT NOW). This entire class revolves around how women want strong men to protect them and bring home the bacon and men want attractive women because ugly women don’t get laid. Which is pretty funny, because the two biggest slags in my city are both ugly as fuck yet between them have slept with nearly every male I know. I also have to mention that if Patch wasn’t a hottie patottie, there is no way anyone would support all that sexual harassment to Nora. Coach laughs it off because Nora’s being a hysterical woman: a man showing unwanted sexual attraction is a compliment, and nothing to get all worked up about – besides, the point of the class was to teach those strapping young lads when a girl is aroused. Stop having a woman’s period and suck up the fact that a guy wants to bone you. In fact, maybe you should spend more time with him and his unwelcome sexual advances. In fact, Nora should tutor Patch! (Which, actually, is only mentioned once more in the entire novel.) I was pretty offended by this whole thing.
As little as I knew about [Patch], I sensed his aversion to Vee as if it were concrete enough to touch.”
Patch has never met Vee. How can Nora know how he would feel about her best friend? Fitzpatrick is very desperately trying to show us here that Nora is the only thing Patch is interested in, even more than her ‘sexy’ non-virginal best friend.
I took a moment to think over his offer. I was pretty sure that if I turned Elliot down, Vee would kill me. Besides, going out with Elliot seemed like a good way to escape my uncomfortable attraction to Patch.
So you want to go out with Elliot not because you like him or he’s nice or you want to get to know him better, but because your best friend will kill you if you say no and you think it’ll help you get over Patch? What a bitch!
“Every woman needs to reinvent her sexy side—I like that. My daughter got implants. She said she did it for herself, but what woman gets boobs for herself? They are a burden. She got the boobs for a man.”
Please excuse me while I let my inner feminist rant and rage about how sexist and demeaning that is.
“Boys like girls who look like … girls.”
Fuck you, Vee, and your anti-feminist agenda! Girls do not need to dress up to impress boys! Some boys like other boys! Some boys like girls with a bit of meat on them! Some boys like petite dark girls while others like Scandinavian Amazons! What right have YOU to say what girls should look like? My whole young adult life I was taught that the right boys will like you for you, not what you look like! What were you taught? That spreading your legs is the only way to get a guy’s attention?
I dug in my heels. “You want to help? Stay away from me.”
He brushed a curl off my face. “Love the hair. Love when it’s out of control. It’s like seeing a side of you that needs to come out more often.”
Every time Nora tells him to fuck off, he comes back with a compliment on her physical appearance that’s loaded with innuendo. This reinforces the rape culture of the book. Nora’s saying no, but she’s being reasonably polite and Patch is ignoring her rejections.
“You sound worked up. Really worked up. No, that’s not it. You sound agitated … flustered … aroused.” I could feel her eyes widen. “He kissed you, didn’t he?”
What the fuck, Vee? First of all, it’s none of your business. Second of all, kisses do not always lead to arousal. Third, it’s none of your fucking business. Fourth, how the fuck do you tell if someone is aroused over the phone? Fifth, it is none of your fucking business. And sixth: how do you know when your best friend is aroused when she’s never been around anyone she’s found attractive before? Did you two watch porn together one time? Do you discuss what makes you horny and how your voices sound when that happens? Or are you secretly in love with Nora?
Every other time I’d felt that way, it was because Patch was near.
The voice of reason quickly extinguished Patch’s involvement.
If every other time you’d felt that way, Patch was involved, how can you logically rule out his involvement? How does this literally work? How does your brain work, Nora? “When I’d punched myself in the face it hurt. But the voice of reason told me my face didn’t hurt because I’d punched it.” MALARKY! Cause and effect. Causation and correlation. Fucking dumbass. How the hell are you fit for an Ivy-league school?
“You’re an attractive girl. I imagine there must be some interest from the opposite sex.”
This counts as sexual harassment from yet another adult. How is this appropriate? Yes, I do know who Miss Greene turns out to be but still, if my councillor asked me this question I’d put in a formal fucking complaint.
Not one part of me felt comfortable with the idea of Vee spending time alone with Jules… [because he] was close friends with Elliot.
Oh Nora, you are so fucking lucky people don’t judge you because of who you hang around with you shallow fucking bitch.
In fact, I was pretty sure Australia had no diamonds. Period.
And you think you deserve an Ivy-league scholarship?
Deep inside, I didn’t believe Patch was the guy behind the ski mask. Maybe he had dark, disturbing secrets, but running around in a ski mask wasn’t one of them.
How the fuck do you know? You don’t know him at all! Or maybe it’s just because he’s so hot that he couldn’t possibly attack you – except the he does! Over and over and over again! Nora, you really are fucking stupid.
“We need to ask you both a few questions,” he continued. He pointed for me to take a seat on my bed, but I shook my head numbly. “Have you recently broken up with a boyfriend?”
Fuck! Why are all the adults so interested in Nora’s romantic/sex life? This is not normal. She’s sixteen. Adults prefer to pretend sixteen year olds don’t have sex at all.
“I’m sorry, but Elliot? A murderer? He’s, like, the nicest guy I’ve ever met.”
And you, Vee Sky, are the most selfish, ignorant, stupid bitchiest dumbass characters I’ve ever read in the history of YA.
I was feeling a lot more relaxed. Patch was warm and solid, and he smelled fantastic. Like mint and rich, dark earth. Nobody had jumped out at us on the ride home... For the first time all day I felt safe.
Except that Patch had cornered me in a dark tunnel and was possibly stalking me. Maybe not so safe.
This is an actual quote. It’s like Nora’ schizophrenic or something. “Patch is SO hot, except he might be stalking me and I’m not safe and he’s SO dangerous, but that just makes him even hotter!” I have never in my whole life ever known a girl to find a guy she’s afraid of attractive.
“When I was in high school, I only offered rides to girls I was interested in. Let’s carry that a step further. What’s your relationship with your bio partner … outside the classroom?”
Yet another example of all the adults’ inappropriate interest in Nora’s sexuality, sexual history, romantic life and sex life.
I could not accept that Patch would hurt Marcie. Marcie wasn’t the nicest person, and she’d acquired more than a handful of enemies. A few of those enemies might be capable of brutality, but Patch wasn’t one of them. Senseless beating wasn’t his style.
WHAT?! It’s EXACTLY his style. He’s a creepy stalker who sexually harasses and assaults you (and you LIKE it, you crazy bitch) and then you get all up on your high horse because you think he’s too good to beat someone up? YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HIM.
“Sorry, I already have plans.”
“Let me change your mind.”
Yet another one of the very numerous examples where a male assumes Nora’s very definite ‘no’ means ‘take me, I’m yours’.
“He dragged me out the front door and shoved me against the house.”
“But he was drunk, right?”
Ladies and gentlefolk: Vee Sky! Official worst best friend ever. Defending a guy she doesn’t even know against assaulting her best friend because he’s drunk. Oh, well that’s okay then! Maybe if Elliot happened to be driving drunk and killed a toddler and its mother because he ran onto the pavement Vee would forgive him as well, because he has issues and was drunk!
He leaned close and spoke in confidential tones. “We get a lot of folks who don’t want their extracurricular activities traced, if you know what I mean.”
Yet ANOTHER example of an inappropriate comment made by an adult to a minor! What planet is Fitzpatrick from?
My head spun faster, and I could feel my pulse beating in my temples. I’d felt this heart pounding panic before. I needed my iron pills.
All this malarky with the iron pills. Nora has anaemia. She has to take iron pills or she’s in danger of, like, fainting… or something. Prescription iron pills. This is complete bullshit. I have anaemia. I buy my iron tablets off the shelf. If I forget to take them, I get a bit lethargic, tired, lose energy and concentration, and as a personal side effect my lips get very dry, broken and unkissable (which is why I always use lip balm). There is only danger of fainting from low iron if it’s chronically low, and Nora doesn’t show any other symptoms like shortness of breath, lethargy, chest pain, palpitations, fatigue, or cold skin. It’s not even essential that I take my iron tablets, and I certainly don’t feel the lowness of iron in my blood the way experienced diabetics can feel low blood sugar. Anaemia is not going to kill me if I forget to take a couple of tablets: it’s simply inconvenient. Fitzpatrick has given Nora an inconvenient ‘illness’ in the hopes that it makes her weak in her time of greatest need. And it fails. (And now, just because I’m being especially picky: iron tablets are best taken with vitamin C which helps to absorb it, not ‘whenever I feel like the iron count in my blood is low’. Which, by the way, we totally can’t tell.)
In the kitchen I saw my bottle of iron pills on the counter, and I immediately went for them, popping the cap and swallowing two with a glass of chocolate milk. I stood in place a moment, letting the iron work into my system, feeling my breathing deepen and slow.
What the fuck? Just what the actual fuck? You can’t feel the iron working its way into your blood. Just NO. That’s NOT how it works. You don’t feel any different at all. This is complete bullshit.
Jules was dead. Elliot was almost dead. Who had killed them? Who was left? I tried to make sense of what was happening, but all reason had left me.
Nora, you never had any reason. Let’s think about this. Jules is dead. Elliot is almost dead. Only Patch and Vee are still wandering the school. Logically it’s gotta be one of them. Unless it was secretly you. Why can’t you just admit that you think Patch is capable of this violence? Look, I know Jules is screwing with you, but really. You can’t even consider for one moment that maybe Patch, the psycho stalking sexual harasser and assaulter is responsible for such violence? Cos the moment you outright accuse him and then find out he’s not would be AWESOME.
All the knots in my body seemed to come undone. My eyes moved out of focus. Jules’s face was like an Impressionist painting—blurred around the edges, lacking detail. Blood drained from my head, and I felt myself start to slip off the chair. I’d felt this way enough times before to know I needed iron. Soon.
That has never happened to me, and I have gone weeks without taking any iron supplements. You know what? This book makes me want to punch myself in the face. Nora should be diabetic, not anaemic. One of my best mates is diabetic and when she was learning to read her own body she’d do stuff like that on the way to a coma from low blood sugar. (We made her drink this special glucose syrupy thing and she was fine, BTW. We’re not horrible friends who just let our best mate go into a coma before our eyes.) Iron does not magically fix the body when you think you’re going to faint.
“I’m still in there, a prisoner inside my own body, living every moment of it,” he said in a grinding tone. “Do you know what that feels like? Do you?” he shouted.
What the heck is up with this dialogue tag? Tacked on to the end like a bad apology. Although Fitzpatrick had generally a fine technique, I’m inclined to believe that came about solely because of the multitude of edits this book would have gone through. And they missed this clumsy piece of writing. I absolutely hate it when authors write, “Blah blah blah,” he said. “Blah blah?” he shouted. It just doesn’t work. For the love of god, I’d prefer a bloody interrobang to an extra dialogue tag. This may be one of the only times I have an issue with Fitzpatrick’s technique, but it still bothers me.
I don’t really
want to try Crescendo but I’m going to… the only problem I have before reading is that the books go from Hush, Hush to Crescendo to Silence. Now, first of all I have no idea why this book is called Hush, Hush. Unless it’s telling women who complain about unwanted sexual attention to shut up. But to get from hushing to silence you need a diminuendo
, not a crescendo. I suppose once I read it I’ll be able to comment on how appropriate the title is.
You know what’s kept 'hush hush'? Sexual assault.
I just had an epiphany. Maybe Ms Fitzpatrick is really trolling us all because she knows she’s written a book about sexual harassment and ironically named it Hush, Hush.
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