Misty's Reviews > Hush, Hush

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
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NOW WITH SPOILERY RANT @ BOTTOM!

Hush, Hush is the story of Nora Grey, an average high school student going about her business as usual -- until her Biology teacher rearranges the class seating and places her next to the dangerous-looking new kid, Patch Cipriano.  Nora gets a weird feeling from Patch, and things just keep going from bad to worse as Nora becomes convinced that she is being stalked, and may even be the target of murderous intentions.  Add to the list Nora's strange feelings about the Archangel ride at the amusement park and her constant near death experiences, and well, Nora's life is becoming anything but average.

When I finished reading Hush, Hush, I had to mull it over for awhile.  I really wasn't sure what to say.  I am absolutely enthralled by the cover (athletic looking, darkly mysterious fallen angel, contorted in mid-air in grayscale?  What's not to like?).  I had to have it because of that cover*.  But I had a sneaking suspicion that a cover that good had to be masking something.  Yep.  It's a bright light to dazzle the eyes and make you *ahem* overlook any faults.
It didn't work.

Inside was the most confused, schizophrenic piece of writing I've read in some time.  Becca Fitzpatrick didn't seem to know quite what she wanted, only that it had to be Ominous and Scary and Dangerous -- and Titillating, of course, and Mysterious and Sexy.  So with those buzz words in mind, she threw a bunch of things together and let her narrator, Nora, sort them out. Nora, understandably, had some trouble with this, and the result is a thoroughly frustrating heroine who jumps to insane conclusions based on inane evidence one moment, and the next goes blithely along into obvious danger.

Patch is intriguing, and perhaps the most consistent character**, and I was fully prepared for an 'anti-hero as the hero' story.  I wanted a little boundary-pushing and a not entirely likeable or trustworthy male lead who may or may not redeem himself, but who gives you the dangerous and alluring in spades.  For the most part, Patch wasn't a let-down in this regard, and as screwed up as it is to like him, he was the stand-out character for me. (Not to say I didn't have issues with him, too.)

But it wasn't enough.  Patch's bad boy antics couldn't save this book from itself.  It was self-indulgent, cheesy, melodramatic in the worst sense, and confusing. I wanted to like it; I loved the fallen angel premise, the idea of an anti-hero, and bits and pieces of the writing throughout.  But Hush, Hush suffered from too many villains and too much shock and awe, and not enough thought and follow-through.  Maybe Fitzpatrick can pull it together for round two, and with some strong convincing by trusted, like-minded people, I may be willing to give her another chance  (never gonna happen). But this was a monstrous let-down for me.  You've been warned.***


*We all know how that whole so-pretty-I-just-had-to thing works out.  See my guest post on Jo's blog about this.
**And by 'consistent' I mean he was consistently a douche. Vee was pretty consistent too, and was a lot of fun, but she started to get annoying and a little strange...
***You're still going to read it, aren't you?  Damn you, James Porto and your beautiful, beautiful cover!

***HERE THAR BE SPOILERS***

If you haven't read Hush, Hush and intend to, or if you don't want me dissing the melodrama that is Patch and Nora, look away....NOW!


Commence rant:


You already know I had issues with this book. I think a lot of people are going to take offense to the idea of Patch as the hero, as teen girls' fantasy, just as they did with Edward in Twilight. Patch goes beyond the simple term "bad boy" in that yes, he does actually mean Nora harm. Consistently.

I'm not going to go into that, because frankly, I don't care. He can be an anti-hero all he wants, whatever. If that's where the story's going, fine. Most of my issues -- but not all -- lie with Nora.

Here's the thing:

Nora is that girl you yell at in the horror movie, the idiot that goes up the stairs instead of out the door, or reaches to turn over the downed bad guy just to make sure. We all know that's frustrating, but we've come to expect it in movies, and that dumb big-breasted, scantily clad girl normally gets killed off.

Nora is so much more frustrating than that.

The many sides of Nora: She continually suspects Patch (and Elliot, and just about everyone else in this story), and with good reason. However, she then continually ignores her instincts and puts herself in danger. In fact, she can't seem to agree with herself. She will think to herself that Patch is stalking her and trying to kill her, and then within pages think 'Oh, but he could never hurt me.' This just cycles and cycles throughout the story.

Also throughout the story, Nora makes insane jumps in logic -- whether they turn out to be true or not, it's not believable when she immediately jumps to the most bizarre conclusions and then acts on them. At the same time, she will be directly confronted with some piece of real evidence, something that would make a normal, non-fictional person take notice and say something's not right here -- and she will completely ignore it. It's like she's being willfully obtuse.

Examples:

* Early(ish) in the story, Nora hears a voice in her head and thinks Patch has "breached normal communication methods and could, at will, speak to me without ever opening his mouth." Naturally, she thinks she's delusional. Hearing your name and a few inane comments would make one think they are imagining things, and this I could buy. Even Nora not being exactly sure what happened and being creeped out I could buy. But she proceeds to ask Patch how he's able to speak directly to her mind, making her look like a loon.
I wouldn't be even all that bothered by this, if it was consistent throughout the story; if Nora either consistently thought that she was going crazy because of all the implausible things that are happening, I could buy it; if she wanted to prove she wasn't crazy and kept confronting Patch and sleuthing, I could buy it. It would be 1 solid choice on Becca Fitzpatrick's part. She could be the ultra-paranoid girl who thinks she's going crazy and jumps to conclusions about everything. Annoying, but doable. But to present this as if it's normal...and I'm out.

* Conversely, near the near the end of the story when the shit's really beginning to go down and nearly everyone has become a villain, Nora and Patch walk out of a movie theater to find that "...both the tires on the driver's side were flat: '"I can't believe it!" I said. "I drove over two nails?"'

O_O
???

She thinks she's being stalked, she thinks her best friend has been kidnapped by a teenaged murderer named Elliot, and by this point she thinks she's the target of not one but two murderous angels, and yet all she can come up with is that she ran over two nails? Come on! If Nora will jump to conclusions on the barest of evidence, how in hell does she not comprehend the obvious?

* Throughout the story, Nora thinks everyone's out to get her (she's right, but I'll get to that), especially Patch. Patch is Ominous, capital 'O', and yet...And yet, no matter how much Nora thinks he's badbadbad, she trusts him. Why?
Weirdest of all, when Nora confronts Patch about his intentions, he admits he wanted to kill her ; her reaction? 'I know Patch could never hurt me' -- and she trusts him implicitly from that point on. Really? The whole story, you've suspected him and been insistent that you should stay away on the barest of evidence, but once he's confessed his (albeit previous) intentions of murder, you trust him. Really . Her sudden bizarre trust of Patch comes too late for any real belief in their romance. Or her sanity.

There is no consistency in Nora's thinking. I just can't understand why Becca Fitzpatrick couldn't pick one Nora to write and stick with her.
She could have just always thought she was losing her mind; self-doubt would have been interesting, and made her root-forable.
If she had just been reckless and always convinced that yes, maybe something is a little off about Patch, but she still found herself attracted to him, it would have been interesting, and could have been used to slowly reveal the truth and up Nora's anxiety.
If Nora had just been naive and always convinced that everything was fine despite any indicators, it would have built tension.
But combining it all made Nora seem confused and a little off herself, and made the writing seem schizophrenic.


Too many villains: Fitzpatrick makes the rookie mistake of lack of restraint. Nora suspects everyone, and everyone does in fact seem to be a villain. This makes the book seem unfocused and sort of cheesy. When everyone is under suspicion, and everyone seems to be a bad guy, it makes it seem like no one really is. It's like if you use a really great word once or twice it's going to stand out. But if every word you use is some great, unusual word, none are going to stand out. There's no negative space, no background to make the focal point pop. Everywhere Nora turns, someone's trying to kill her. It just gets silly after awhile. Also, it has the added negative effect of making it hard for Fitzpatrick to "top" as it were. Where does she go from here? If there are 4 different people trying to kill Nora in book 1, how many people will there be out for blood in book 2? She didn't leave any room to grow the suspense.

Another bad thing about the amount of villains and Nora's instant suspicion (and the overall over-the-top nature of the book) was that there was precious little suspense. By giving everything away rather freely, Fitzpatrick deprived the reader of the slow build-up and the privilege of the mystery; we never got to have any suspicions of our own, or choose sides. There was too much in the way of ominous overtones, and not enough restraint.

On a side note, not that I'm calling Vee a villain, but even she became a little weird* as the story went on. It's one thing to be the wild and crazy girl in the best friends dynamic, but constantly trying to get your best friend alone with a guy who she says makes her uncomfortable, who she believes broke into her house and may be stalking her, and who she knows was a murder suspect is reckless beyond the pale, and shitty, shitty friendship.

*By which I mean she goes from being quirky and funny to a godawful, shitty friend. You know, for no other reason than apparently to help lure Nora into bad/ridiculous situations. Plot device: ☑

The writing overall: I saw glimpses in Fitzpatrick's writing that demonstrated how this could have been a good book. She does sexual tension and confrontation scenes fairly well, and there is some good humor. Vee -- in the beginning, at least, before she becomes a really reckless, really bad friend -- was pretty amusing as the traditional sidekick. Patch had great one-liners, both funny and smoldering.
But for all the occasional good, there was quite a bit in the way of bad. The dialogue was often stilted and weird. The analogies were completely out of left field. They were those turns of phrase that you can tell were used because they sounded cool, or because one was needed, but they don't mean anything, or they leave you thinking wtf? "His eyes looked like they didn't play by the rules." What does that even mean? What rules do eyes usually play by? Does he not blink? This is a mild example, but I got sick of making note of them. I got this really hit-and-miss feel about the writing and the language in the book. Pieces of literary crap mixed in with the really good bits blended to form a "throw it all in and something's bound to work" style. A total lack of finesse made it hard to want to keep reading -- and made me feel like if I kept rolling my eyeballs, they were going to roll right out of my head.


Rant complete.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 263) (263 new)


message 1: by Jenn (new)

Jenn I thought about reading this, but then I saw it has a character named Patch. Patch?


Misty Patch Cipriano, if that does anything for ya. Haven't got a clue why 'Patch ' yet - been told I'll love him. So far I find him creepyish.


JG (The Introverted Reader) ***You're still going to read it, aren't you? Damn you, James Porto and you're beautiful, beautiful cover!
Well, yes, but now I'll make sure I check it out from the library rather than buying it. See--you might not save me from the disappointment, but you'll help keep the money in my wallet!


Misty Good. I like saving people money. I'm like the Geiko gecko that way.


message 5: by Heather (new) - added it

Heather I've heard too many reviews like this so even though I bought it some time ago...it's still sitting on my shelf collecting dust in its all too beautiful cover. Great review.


Misty Thanks Heather! I just felt like someone should have been there discussing things with Becca Fitzpatrick, not just proofreading. She needed some guidance in creating plausibility and truth. But maybe she just didn't want to hear it.


message 7: by Robyn (new)

Robyn Hawk Excellent review Misty - I liked Hush Hush over all - my problems were (like you) the lack of character development or consistency of Nora.

For me the bigger turn off was that about half way through the book I'd had enough of Vee!!! Her blind attraction to Julian was just as ridiculous as Nora's for Patch...I so didn't get that! She just became irritating!


Misty yep.


message 9: by Heather (new) - added it

Heather I think I'm going to not like this book...


message 10: by Misty (new) - rated it 1 star

Misty It has good points. It's just a let down. But if you like it, you like it. I know people who love it and are able to overlook the flaws. You never know.


message 11: by Bill (new) - rated it 1 star

Bill Brilliant review Misty.


Meredith This is a great review. My number one issue (and, believe me, I had many) with this book was the shallow characterization. Not one character had more than one dimension, even though there was ample potential for some depth. It's funny, because I didn't like this book, yet I gave it a longer review than I've given anything in a long time. My laundry list of issues was long, apparently!


message 13: by Misty (new) - rated it 1 star

Misty I think when you don't like something, it can be easier to review (if you're not scared of offending the author) because the things you don't like stand out so much and you can go back to them. When you like it, it sometimes melds into an overall feeling, and you're more hard pressed to say why.


message 14: by CJ (new) - added it

CJ Thanks so much for the review. I believe you have saved me some money as well, and the bitter disappointment of falling for another pretty cover attempting to hide the fact that the story inside is not so great. You'd think I'd have learned by now, do not judge a book by it's cover......but I still can't help being entranced by great art on a novel. I'm glad you included evidence to back up your rant too, it kept me from skimming over this and making the same mistake I made with P.C. Casts House of Night series, or Melissa Marr and her faeries.


message 15: by Misty (new) - rated it 1 star

Misty HON series really disappointed me too -- and I bought the first 3 in one fell swoop...Oops.


message 16: by CJ (new) - added it

CJ Haha, same here, I bought the first 4 - At first I thought it was an interesting premise, but that quickly became irrelevant when I realized exactly how superficial the characters were, or how I really did NOT like being written down to. Someone should tell that author that teenagers are capable of understanding big words.


Nicole Saying that Fitzpatrick's writing of Nora's thoughts were all over the place isn't exactly true and didn't make sense, and if you really think about it, she wrote it exactly how it would be in a teenager's brain. I'm a few years older than Nora and I have to say the emotions described fit the bill for me at certain points in my life. Teenager's emotions are totally eratic; like you said one minute she was afraid of Patch and the next she knew he wouldn't hurt her. That's how the emotios of a teenager are, especially her leaps to strange but possibly understandable conclusions. This is personal opinion, but I thought the writing was better than most YA novels I've been reading... Then again I could have just been on the rebound haha but seriously this is a good review, I just don't particularly agree with everything you said. Oh, and it's Elliot not Ethan... just thought I'd point that out :)


message 18: by Misty (last edited Mar 15, 2010 05:31PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Misty Ooh, good call on the Elliot/Ethan thing. Don't know where I pulled Ethan from. Must have been because of something else I was reading.
As for the emotions, I stand by what I said. Teens emotions are erratic and changeable, but there is still a limit, a range that draws the line between normal and what may mean you have a mental disorder -- not saying Nora was mental, but very definitely erratic. As for the writing -- I speak from the pov of a writing tutor who deals with writing and analysis on a daily basis -- and it wasn't consistent. Even when your characters aren't consistent (in an intentional way), the writing still has to be. There needs to be a clear purpose and intent to the writing, and a good overall flow. I know many people love this and thinks it fits the bill, but pulling it apart, I disagree.
But glad you liked it (and the review -- most people can't be so impartial when they like something); I have friends that love it and even count it among their favorites.
:)


Nicole Haha don't worry I always get people's names wrong. I totally understand your point of view on the emotions, I guess I'm just speaking from personal experience, though I might be a little mental myself! And I agree the writing was all over the place but only sometimes for me, and obviously you have more experience than I do in this area, but I'm also writing a novel and so I have to partially agree and disagree because I've felt what my characters have felt in a way so sometimes you let the writing get a little out of control and even when you read what you've written again it sounds perfectly fine.


message 20: by Misty (new) - rated it 1 star

Misty Writing a novel, eh? Good for you! My biggest piece of advice (well, two):
Murder your darlings. Actually, I can't take credit for that, because it's a phrase by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, meaning that once you've written something, give yourself some space from it, let it sit awhile, and then go back and unobjectively decide whether something fits. If it doesn't, no matter how much you like that turn of phrase, cut it. Make the best story you can.
The other piece is a helpful editing tip (well, 2): Read aloud!!! In the writing center I worked in, we made everyone read aloud what they brought in. Better yet, have someone who has never read it read it aloud to you. You get an idea of how your reader is going to read it, the inflection they'll use, how they'll interpret it, etc. It's insanely helpful, especially if there's just something *off* but you can't tell what. Part 2 of the revision/editing tip is to read backwards. Not literally, but go through the work backwards, line by line (not word by word) to help you really hone in on whether each sentence sounds right, says what you mean, etc. Best proofreading advice I've ever come across. It keeps your brain from skipping ahead and going on to the next bit before you're done with the one you're working on.

Okay, no more unsolicited advice from me. Promise. :)


Nicole Wow thank you so much that really helps! I have stepped away from it believe me. I started writing down the basic ideas when I was like 12 or 13 (it's based on a dream and the sequel to that dream) and then I left it alone since I really had no idea what I was doing at that age. I came back to it a little over a year ago and almost laughed at myself. It was truly amazing how horrible it was haha so yeah I have certainly stepped away from it, but I will definitely be doing it more. But I never thought of reading it backwards or having someone read it outloud to me. Of course I've read it to myself multiple times but I never thought of that... Again thanks I appreciate the advice especially from a writing tutor :)


message 22: by Misty (new) - rated it 1 star

Misty Anytime. I spent 5 years+ doing it, and intend to go into editing, so I am full of tidbits. If you're ever stuck, feel free to pick my brain. Good luck! ^_^


Nicole Haha ok thanks! :)


message 24: by Matthew (last edited Mar 17, 2010 09:45PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew buy the book because the author is hot


Shellie (Layers of Thought) Bloody hell - you were very disappointed with this one Misty...


JG (The Introverted Reader) I swear I hadn't read the rant, but I hit on Nora as the horror movie girl too. Is it really that hard to wait in the car?

You were right. I admit it. I should have skipped it.

Damn cover.


message 27: by Georgina (last edited Apr 08, 2010 09:26PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Georgina Misty, thanks for taking the time to write such a comprehensive review. I wish I had read a similar review before I purchased Hush, Hush.

Yes, I was sucked in by the breathtaking cover as well. Although I'm not really into Angels/Demons, I thought I'd give the book a chance because it sounded promising, based on the synopsis.

The writing didn't sit well with me at all - I was stunned to the point where I wondered how on earth it got published.

I was really disappointed by the story (and characters) as well. I lost count at how many times I rolled my eyes and thought "what the hell?"

Vee was an appalling friend, to the point where (on more than one occasion) she put her libido ahead of Nora's safety. I found it unbelievable that Nora didn't give Vee the flick.

I think you said it all beautifully in your review, so I won't add any more. Thanks again.


message 28: by Jace (new) - added it

Jace Yong Thanks so much for the very detailed review. :) I was interested to read it but now I know I'll hate Nora so I'll pass. I've enjoyed reading all the problems you had with the story - very helpful info. ;)


message 29: by Misty (new) - rated it 1 star

Misty Glad to be of service. =D


Ria Lize "Nora is that girl you yell at in the horror movie, the idiot that goes up the stairs instead of out the door, or reaches to turn over the downed bad guy just to make sure."

Well said. I seriously wanted to go slap her when she went out that car. Seriously? Just leaving without thought? And what could she possibly do? Incapacitate Jules?

Anyway, great review. =) voiced out my issues w/ the book.


message 31: by Misty (new) - rated it 1 star

Misty Thanks!


message 32: by Yanet (new) - rated it 1 star

Yanet I need to learn to stop judging books by their cover!
This book got me so annoyed that I didn't even finished it.


Kamae Acejo Yeah. That reaction to the tires was funny. But you know the funnier part? She's afraid her bestfriend is on the verge of dying but she still doesn't wanna steal a car. So she goes inside the theater again and asks for the janitor/her classmate for the keys of his car so she could borrow it. Hahahahaha!!!

Nice review, btw. =)


message 34: by Rose (new) - rated it 2 stars

Rose Your review's very well written and I thank you for the insight. I think I'll steer clear from the story since it has a lot of things that I don't really care for in its elements. I can understand a teenager's thoughts and actions, and I've read a little bit of Becca's writing and actually find the prose fine, but I know Nora's not the character I want to be following right now, especially since I've read quite a few books with frustrating female leads (the House of Night series being one of them) in recent considerations.

I'm like you in that I found the cover absolutely breathtaking. That was one of the things that grabbed me right off the bat when I saw it firsthand.


message 35: by Misty (new) - rated it 1 star

Misty Oh, don't get me started on the HoN series. I mean, it's not as bad as this, but the writing is fairly awful, and the characters are irritating.


message 36: by ★ Jess (new)

★ Jess Great review. I was having second thoughts about reading this even before i read it, and your review sums up my thoughts.
Im not reading that book.


message 37: by Matthew (last edited Apr 29, 2010 09:40PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Booklover23 wrote: "Great review. I was having second thoughts about reading this even before i read it, and your review sums up my thoughts.
Im not reading that book."


I'd give it a shot lots of things she said were true but I found the writing to be quirky and fun.


message 38: by Misty (new) - rated it 1 star

Misty qwirky? Is that a quirky way of spelling it?
(sorry, I couldn't resist... ;p)


message 39: by Matthew (last edited Apr 29, 2010 09:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Misty wrote: "qwirky? Is that a quirky way of spelling it?
(sorry, I couldn't resist... ;p)"


I saw that mistake and was going to fix it then I thought I will check the spelling first and when I knew it was wrong...I found something more interesting and forgot about it lol


Irisjade I COMPLETELY agreed with your whole rant. The book idea was good and like you, I felt it could be done well. I liked the fact that Patch was a lot more dangerous than most "bad boys" girls are strangely compelled to. They do that a lot in books and I was glad Patch was actually dangerous and not just dark and foreboding or whatever. But yeah I was annoyed at that "His eyes looked like they didn't play by the rules," thing too. And she did it a lot. Like every other line was "He seemed to be hiding a smile that said he may have had tacos last night and was thinking about his late algebra homework..." Like how do you get that much out of a smile you can't even see??!! Sorry that bugged me to no end. And about the too many villians, I really hated that. Because when you're writing a story where you don't know who the bad guy is, you're like, "Ohmigosh what if it's 'soandso' no way it couldn't be it has to be 'soandso'" but with this book it was all over the place. Like "I guess it could be Patch but why would he go from drooling over her to trying to kill her, and then there's Elliot but then what does Patch have to do with anything if Elliot's her main concern?" It just didn't make sense whenever she would give us a "what if" in the story. I liked the idea, I liked Patch, and I liked the end. Meaning, when the book stop. The blank page. Knowing it was finally OVER.


message 41: by Misty (new) - rated it 1 star

Misty HA!


Laura Thanks for giving me lots to think about with this book. I have been reading lots of paranormal romances recently, because I like them and they are entertaining and relaxing, but perhaps, yes, it is a good idea to analyse how well or how badly they are written too. It is not just a bit of fun, I suppose.
I am currently reading the first book in the House of Night series and I agree with your various comments... What books would you recommend, Misty, in this style?


Irisjade I know you're asking Misty, but whatever. I personally don't really like the House of Night series. The first one was alright but after that it was just a high school drama with some magic thrown in. Maybe you've already read it, maybe it's not particularly what you're looking for, but if you ever get the chance, pick up Maximum Ride; Angel Experiment. It's about these kids who are genetic mutants, basically, and can fly. It's got a little romance (not much), a lot of action, quite a bit of sarcastic humor, and some really fun characters. However, I would stop at book 3 even though there's a few more after that. Book 4 and beyond are just horrible. I don't know what happened, but the fourth book isn't good and neither is anything past it. It's a really entertaining series without all the flaws of most young adult fictions. Just sayin'.


Allison Great review, awesome points! And because of you, Misty, I am now making a shelf for books I select just because of their cover. It's a great idea, but I already know I'll be ashamed by just how long that list is going to be.


message 45: by Misty (new) - rated it 1 star

Misty Yep, pretty much.


Synesthesia (SPIDERS!) Durn... i might end up reading more of this, knowing it's going to annoy me ><


message 47: by Misty (new) - rated it 1 star

Misty We all get suckered.
;p


Synesthesia (SPIDERS!) I'm about ready to give up. It's already driving me crazy. I'm literally in public scolding the characters. It's definetly time to stop. I was like, WHY ARE YOU LETTING THIS GUY INTO YOUR HOUSE IF YOU DON'T TRUST HIM!?!? AUGH!


message 49: by Misty (new) - rated it 1 star

Misty For REAL. It does turn you into one of those people that talks aloud to the idiot characters when you're at the movies. Not a good sign.


Cassie Haha this book put me in a bad mood. I was shouting the same things, and then getting really annoyed when Nora stumbled ahead despite my warnings. I swear when she asked for directions from the homeless lady (yet another villain?), I almost got a migraine.

Great review, Misty. Pretty much covered all bases on that one.


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