Patch Cipriano is freaking out Nora Grey, and not just because his behaviour borders on sexual harassment. Nora’s pretty sure that Patch is trying to get her to trust him, and then he’ll kill her. Whilst driving, she hits a man in a ski mask who tears off the door – only later there’s no evidence of the crash. Nora’s best friend is attacked. And Nora falls off the Archangel ride, but again there’s nothing to show for it.
Patch isn’t the only stranger in Nora’s life, and soon she can’t trust anyone or anything, not even what she thinks she sees. There’s some serious mind-bending going on, and too many people seem to want her dead. But how will she die, and who’ll be to blame?
This psychological thriller is a corker. More horror than romance, Hush, Hush has some genuinely scary moments, and it’s impossible not to feel frustrated about the characters and their actions. The setting of Coldwater, Maine, is easily imaginable, and the Delphic Seaport memorable. The characters…there are some really messed up people here, but some motives don’t seem completely explained. Indeed, there are a lot of unanswered questions, particularly relating to Nora’s murdered father’s family history. And I’m not sure if there’s some meaning behind Nora’s anaemia (other than an excuse to go snooping in the school office), or if it’s just to make her relatable to readers.
Stalker-as-romantic-lead isn’t a trope that works well for me, so Patch pisses me off – and Nora does, too, for fancying him even though she’s bloody suspicious of him. Vee Sky’s fun, but annoying at times. Marcie Millar is too much of a stereotypical mean girl, so she doesn’t seem quite realistic. But Rixon sounds like fun, and hopefully he’ll play a larger role in the sequel, Crescendo. And of course having all these new people in Nora’s life at once clearly means connections between them, which spoils some of the mystery.
As for the mind-bending…a four-letter R-word comes to mind. That’s not hot. That’s more than harassment – it’s assault.
Hush, Hush is totally a book to glom, no matter how much you want to yell at the characters. Becca Fitzpatrick has certainly mastered the art of creating a page-turner, solving enough mysteries but leaving the door open for many more questions to be answered. Expect this to be extremely popular with teenage girls, and whilst comparisons are likely to be made with The Series That Shalt Not Be Named, Hush, Hush stands above with its better writing and superior plotting. Clear your schedule, and get reading!
FTC Advisory: The Australian publisher provided me with an early copy of Hush, Hush in exchange for an unbiased review. No sponsorships or bribes were involved. If you click and order via the Buy links, I receive a tiny affiliate fee, and rarely generate enough to actually use the fee to spend on Amazon products. And not just because of the frightful cost of international postage.