Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hush, Hush

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Angel Feathers

Pretty sweet book cover, eh? That is what drew me to this book. When you peruse the books in the teen fiction section these days it seems they're all the same. Here's the general synopsis I've noticed. See if it sounds familiar:

Unattached, uncoordinated girl meets dark, handsome, mysterious guy. Several events push them together. Girl falls for Mystery Man against her better judgment. Girl discovers that the mysterious one is some sort of supernatural creature. Girl still loves the guy despite the danger. All live happily ever after.

Now here's the brief synopsis for Hush, Hush.

Meet Nora Grey, also known as Unattached, Uncoordinated Girl. Nora is forced to partner up with Patch, a.k.a. Dark, Handsome, Mysterious Guy, in her biology class. Things start happening. Nora hits some guy in a ski mask with her car, blows a huge dent in the car, but then she looks and the dent is no longer there. All sorts of different illusions like this take place. Throughout several other events which orbit around Patch who mysteriously pops up wherever Nora is, she discovers that he is, in actuality, an angel. Not just any angel, but a fallen angel. For some reason, she's still attracted to him even after she finds out that her fallen angel boyfriend was really trying to kill her so he could become human. (Oh hey, that contained spoilers. Sorry.)

So. Becca Fitzpatrick's novel isn't exactly original. Yeah she plays off a lot of the mythology about angels which is interesting. Most of it surrounds Cheshvah (sp?) which is a month in which fallen angels are allowed to possess a body of a Nephilim and basically be human for that month. The mythology is interesting but it seems like she just scratches the surface of it.

Vee, Nora's bff, is the most entertaining one to read. Her character comes to life for me and I actually wish Nora was more like her. Why can't the main character in these novels be a little more funny and eccentric? Why does it always have to be the girl who takes herself too seriously that ends up involved with some supernatural creature? While Nora is a reliable narrator and is a really independent thinker (unlike Bella from Twilight who becomes so obsessed with her vampire that she becomes a really weak character) she pales in comparison to her friend who has more life to her. What attracts these immortal creatures to the mundane ones? Wouldn't you think they'd want to go for the girl with more spunk? Maybe Becca Fitzpatrick will write a love story for Vee. If she does, I am so there.

I like how things all came together. There were seemingly two or three storylines going on. 1) Nora and Patch, 2) Elliot, Jules, Nora, and Vee, and 3) Nora's visits to the shrink. All of these stories combine nicely by the end, but some of it seems forced. I don't know how to explain it but sometimes Nora takes leaps in her logic and it just doesn't feel natural. As a writer, I know what Fitzpatrick was doing. She didn't know how to get the characters to a certain point so she had to force them to make silly conclusions in order to get there.

The whole Elliot thing was weird, but it made sense by the end. I won't spoil it but I knew there was more to Jules and I kind of figured he was using Elliot in some way. Fitzpatrick made that a little obvious by making Jules so quiet and disappearing all the time.

The characters are well-written enough. Patch just seems to be sort of flat. I don't really understand his motives yet because the chemistry between him and Nora isn't all that wonderful. I didn't feel it as intensely as in other books. Even Bella and Edward's lusty romance has more chemistry than Nora and Patch. Patch seems to be forced into a box though. Almost too stereotypical, nothing too surprising with him. And he never really shows emotion. Just has these dumb little smiles.

Fitzpatrick fails with creating a sense of place. There's no atmosphere. She tries. But it flops. The fog around Nora's house is too convenient. She could have done so much with that. And I never get my senses brought into the story. (This has been a complaint about my own writing so I know how difficult it is...I just figure with a published book it wouldn't be as prevalent. Maybe they just don't think teens will care. Which they probably don't...) Most of the writing relies on Nora's sight. Once in awhile she smells Patch who always smells like mint soap. She could have described Delphic more and given us a more environmental standing. During my reading of this I usually just felt like I was floating and not in a good way.

All in all, this was a decent read. The mystery aspects of the story kept me going and I actually didn't want to stop reading. While it's not literary, if you keep in mind the audience Fitzpatrick is trying to reach (watch out Twi-hards, everyone's targeting you!) then it's actually a really well-done piece of work. I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 angel feathers.

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