Fallen angel love story fails to take flight
Newest “big thing” in supernatural romances recycles clichéd plots, replacing vampires with angels
Becca Fitzpatrick's debut novel Hush, Hush has several things going for it at first glance. First, the title - it rolls off the tongue and elicits mystery and darkness. Second, its intriguing cover art depicts a powerful moment of transmogrification from angel to fallen. Finally, supernatural romances are still "in," and publishers have announced that fallen angels are the next big thing for the Twilight teeny-bopper crowd that's starting to get bored with sparkly vampires.
In many ways, Hush, Hush is refreshing. The writing is mostly competent, which is surprising for a debut Young Adult author. Nora Grey, our protagonist, isn't instantly unlikable. The suspense on every page keeps the reader from having to deal with long sequences of unnecessary teenage drama. Additionally, Fitzpatrick's reinterpretation of the fallen angel is compelling, once we get past the first 300 pages.
Unfortunately, Hush, Hush never really quite reaches that level of intrigue like its cover art, proving sound the old adage "You can't judge a book by its cover."
Nora, who lives in the dull town of Portland, Maine, encounters the charming and sexy Patch during biology class in what could be the most clichéd scene in existence. Like Edward Cullen of the Twilight series, he can read thoughts. Like Edward, Patch is inordinately attractive. Nora, who's plain and nerdy, falls instantly for his bad-boy charm and looks.
Unfortunately for Nora, Patch turns out to be bad news. He constantly insults her and puts her down. At times, he's a little more than creepy, using his psychic powers to recite the contents of her underwear drawer. After a few scary incidents and dangerous situations that involve ski-masked stalkers and near-death experiences, Nora finds herself in the middle of a celestial battle between good and evil. And Patch is at its crux.
The novel hinges on the fact that Nora does not know that Patch is a fallen angel in disguise as your average high school teen. The reader, however, is wiser - hello, we have the alluring cover art and description on the back of the novel. Therefore, it becomes annoying for the reader as Nora walks obliviously into dangerous situations, and even more irritating as she stumbles around, collecting clues. In the end, the revelation is a bit of a letdown as Nora learns the truth about Patch in a very anti-climactic fashion.
Plot contrivances aside, the relationship between Patch and Nora can only be described as psychotic. Patch is plotting throughout the book to kill Nora, almost succeeding while they're on a carnival ride aptly called The Archangel. Sure, he likes her enough by the end of the book, but this reader cannot get over the fact that he continuously stalked and threatened her and attempted to kill her on various occasions. Forbidden and mysterious might be sexy, but murderous and nasty isn't such an ideal combination.
On a positive note, though, despite the plot holes and psychotic relationship, Hush, Hush is an easy book in which to get lost - the fast-paced, suspenseful novel can be enjoyable if you know how to turn off your brain.