Nina's Reviews > Hushed

Hushed by Kelley York
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it was amazing
bookshelves: ya-realistic, gay, crime-thriller-mystery-suspense, 5-star, reread, the-blog-of-sid-love, read-in-2013

Goddamn, this is good.
I don't know how Kelley York does it, but it's like everything that comes out of her brain and fingers is magic.

Don't get me wrong, it does have a few flaws... I think. I mean, there must have been something. It's just that I couldn't see it.

From the writing to the characters to the plot – everything was masterfully narrated and fully developed.
Beware of the gushing.

Let's start with the writing, shall we?
It's quite original, to be honest. It has something different, something very individual, that I couldn't pinpoint at the beginning.
Sometimes I felt like I was being told every feeling Archer was experiencing, like there were no secrets left for me to discover on my own, but then I realised that what this novel is is not unsophisticated in matters of layering and secrecy – it's candid.
The protagonist is fucked up, intense, hurt, emotional, good and bad and everything in between – and it's all out in the open, for me to take with both hands and savour. And it feels wonderful, refreshing and startlingly intimate.
This kind of narration allows the reader to be completely swept along by the flow of events, aware of everything that's happening and without having to worry that they're missing some piece of information or being left out of the protagonist's head.

Kelley York, I've noticed, has this two-boys-and-a-girl pattern in all of her GLBT books – this one, Suicide Watch and the upcoming Made of Stars, which has me dying in anticipation – but it's never repetitive or stereotypical, and I can tell you why. This author gets human relationships and dynamics and how different and original they can be, and she gets them because she knows how to build a complex, well-rounded, intense, humane character, who relates to different people in different ways and reacts to what happens around them in a way that is their own.

Archer, Evan and Vivian (I chose to list them in alphabetical order because I can't figure out which one to put first, which should tell you something) stole my heart and trampled it. End.
I can't even talk about Archer, because he's so broken, hopeless yet strong and full of light that you should discover him for yourself, and figure out if you can blame him for what he did. I know I do. But then, I can also understand and forgive him. This is one of the reasons why I like this book (and its author) so much. This is not a character that makes you say “well, at the end of the day you can't really blame him” or “he was right all along” or “he's actually perfect, other people made him do this”, like most others do; this is a person who has made terrible mistakes. And yet I (and most other readers, from what I saw) still love him.

Evan... Evan is wonderful. Simply wonderful. Good, caring, sweet, strong – yet not perfect. He can push too hard while trying to help, he can blame people and be mad at them, he can give up and be defeated, although never completely – but what really matters is the way his essential goodness and ability to love shine through, and how he chooses to give all that love to Archer and get him through it all, helping as much as he can.
And help is what he does, because he's exactly what Archer needed – someone who would get him and love him no matter what he'd done in the past, no matter his irrational feelings for someone who doesn't even exist anymore.

In their relationship, the idea of “no strings attached” that Archer mentions is turned upside down, because here it doesn't mean physical comfort without emotional ties – it means love and affection without any expectation or debt towards each other.

His relationship with Evan aside, the other two major events or changes that Archer faces are coming to terms with the new face of the girl he thought he knew, accepting that she's not the girl he used to love anymore; and coming to terms with himself and with what he did.
And each of these is a long, slow, painful process, for him and for Evan; no easy cop-outs or fairytale happy endings.

And here comes the third element in this trio.
Vivian is a difficult one, and I think I'll end up pondering her actions for a while.
What I can say with absolute certainty is that she's fucked up. She's damaged. She has issues, and needs help. Is she evil, though?

(I seriously need to shut up. Just bear with me a little longer. Here's about the plot. Or, wait, I'm not telling you anything about that; here's about how the plot made me feel.)
The story happens over the course of three months – from August 31st to December 6th, and it feels weird to see how quickly things can change so much. Three months is a flash, a moment, considering the amount of traumatic events packed in here, but at times I could feel time trickle by, agonisingly slow, just like Archer perceived it, and that's only proof of Kelley York's talent in keeping readers on the edge of their seat, slowly dying inside and being sparked back to life with every chapter.

The second time around reading this novel – which happened because I want to review all of Kelley York's books (weird obsessions, anyone?) and because I wanted to see how much my opinion has changed after reading hundreds of other books with GLBT characters – I realised that I liked it so much the first time I read not because of the thrill of new-to-me gay deliciousness, but because it's fucking great, and that has nothing to do with the genre it could fit in.
Suspense, love, craziness – you've got it all.

---

Originally reviewed for The Blog of Sid Love, which is now dead.
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Reading Progress

February 8, 2012 – Shelved
February 8, 2012 – Shelved as: ya-realistic
February 11, 2012 – Shelved as: gay
April 11, 2012 – Shelved as: crime-thriller-mystery-suspense
September 7, 2013 – Started Reading
September 8, 2013 –
page 114
49.78% "*sniff*"
September 8, 2013 –
page 157
68.56% "Oh, fuck. Oh, fuck."
September 8, 2013 –
page 178
77.73% "And I've gone straight from teary-eyed smiles to smoldering anger.\n That bitch."
September 8, 2013 –
page 202
88.21% "I think it's a good thing that I can't remember what happens now from the first time I read this book, because I can savour the anticipation again, but I'm so fucking scared - and that is not good."
September 8, 2013 – Shelved as: 5-star
September 8, 2013 – Shelved as: reread
September 8, 2013 – Finished Reading
September 18, 2013 – Shelved as: the-blog-of-sid-love
December 26, 2013 – Shelved as: read-in-2013

Comments Showing 1-28 of 28 (28 new)

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Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		Is this as dark as it seems? I'm strangely compelled to read it because there's someone with my name in it, haha.


Nina It's pretty dark, but not really gut-wrenching. More of a depressed, sedate kind of dark.


Trisha Harrington I agree, I think some will find it quite dark though. I loved it! :)


Nina Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "I agree, I think some will find it quite dark though. I loved it! :)"

*nods emphatically* I'll have to do a reread soon - I want to review it, at least shortly. I think I'm going to do a massive reread of all my 4-star-rated, not-reviewed books this summer, so I can share the awesomeness with the world :D


Trisha Harrington Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "I agree, I think some will find it quite dark though. I loved it! :)"

*nods emphatically* I'll have to do a reread soon - I want to review it, at least shortly. I think I'm going to..."


Haha, good idea. I'll Be Your Drill, Soldier is on that list, isn't it? :)


message 6: by Nina (last edited May 25, 2013 03:59AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "I agree, I think some will find it quite dark though. I loved it! :)"

*nods emphatically* I'll have to do a reread soon - I want to review it, at least shortly. I think..."


Yup :) I had a lot of fun reading that one, it's the perfect summer read.


message 7: by Trisha (last edited May 25, 2013 04:00AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Trisha Harrington Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "I agree, I think some will find it quite dark though. I loved it! :)"

*nods emphatically* I'll have to do a reread soon - I want to review it, at least s..."


Yep, if you want we could do a buddy read on one or two of them.

That is one I am determined to re-read during the summer. It's too fun not to! :)


message 8: by Nina (last edited May 25, 2013 04:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "I agree, I think some will find it quite dark though. I loved it! :)"

*nods emphatically* I'll have to do a reread soon - I want to review i..."


That would be great!
When I have time, I'll PM you a list of the books I'm planning to reread and we'll decide which one/ones to buddy read. 'Kay? *mwah*


message 9: by Trisha (last edited May 25, 2013 04:03AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Trisha Harrington Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "I agree, I think some will find it quite dark though. I loved it! :)"

*nods emphatically* I'll have to do a reread soon - I w..."


That's cool. When does your summer holidays start? :)


message 10: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "I agree, I think some will find it quite dark though. I loved it! :)"

*nods emphatically* I'll have to do a rere..."


9 June... I think? I have no idea about what's going on in my life.
Anway, around that date.


Trisha Harrington Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "I agree, I think some will find it quite dark though. I loved it! :)"

*nods emphatically* I'll ha..."


Haha, okay. Sounds similar to here. Except most of us are finished now. Until when... I have no clue! :)


message 12: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "I agree, I think some will find it quite dark though. I loved it! :)"

*nods emphatic..."


:D


Trisha Harrington Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "Nina wrote: "Tʀɪsʜᴀ wrote: "I agree, I think some will find it quite dark though. I loved it! :)"
..."


:)


message 14: by Tina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tina Great review for an awesome book, Nina. Loved it. :)


message 15: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Tina wrote: "Great review for an awesome book, Nina. Loved it. :)"

Thank you! ^_^


message 16: by Rebecka (new) - added it

Rebecka Oh good! This just got bumped up on my to-read list :)


message 17: by Nina (last edited Sep 16, 2013 01:25PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Awesome. It's a wonderful book. :)


Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		Brilliant review baby girl! Heh, heh. I'm excited! First review, oooooooh :D


message 19: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Aww, thank you! Let's share the excitement! :D
I actually wrote this about a week ago, but Sid only posted it yesterday.

So, the dude? He called me beautiful today *gasps dramatically and blushes* BUT he's also hitting on that friend of mine. *snort*
Oh, and he might have a girlfriend, possibly. (?)
SLUT. :D


message 20: by Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌ (last edited Sep 17, 2013 05:06AM) (new) - added it

Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, cute boy is really planting his seeds all over the place! Does this friend happen to be the one who wants to fuck him through the wall? If so, cheers to her.

*snort* tsk tsk, a girlfriend? Nasty boy!


message 21: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina LOL yes, she is! She's all embarrassed and giggly and adorable. :D

He's kind of pathetic, though, because I've been ignoring him, tbh, in hopes that he'd grow a pair and speak up, but he just keeps flailing around. *rolls eyes*


Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		Flailing around HAHA, sounds hilarious. Cute boy doesn't understand how to chase, them girls keep flocking *snort*.


message 23: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Pretty much, yeah. :D

Skype? I have an hour and a half or so before that friend I mentioned comes by, and I'm bored. :P


Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		Social life *scoff*.

Well I'm not on the comp and I did work today. Good lord, the injustice of that! No vid cam, but chatting maybe? It's 10!


message 25: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Yup, chatting is what I meant. I'd never want to stop looking at your gorgeous face if I were to see it again today.

My social life is evolving so quickly I can't even keep up, jeez. :P

Work? Poor baby! *hugs*


message 26: by Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌ (last edited Sep 17, 2013 05:31AM) (new) - added it

Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		Hug me again, I'm feeling terribly down :(

Fuck you and your social life, HMPH. It takes you away from me.


Anna (Bananas) Need.to.read.already.


message 28: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina That you do. :D


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