Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Nora Grey gets more than she bargains for when her biology teacher rearranges the seating chart. Instead of goofing off with her best friend, Vee, Nora is stuck with Patch Cipriano, the mysterious transfer student. Patch is sardonic, intriguing, and seems to know an awful lot about Nora. But Patch has secrets of his own, secrets that Nora is determined to uncover. In doing so, she finds herself thrown in the middle of a conflict of supernatural proportions.
Author Becca Fitzpatrick falls into one of the major traps of the Girl-is-Mysteriously-Drawn-to-Mysterious-Boy subgenre: creating a supernatural stalker rather than a romantic hero (or even anti-hero). Patch frequently makes Nora uncomfortable and delights in frightening her, but Fitzpatrick chooses to label these traits as romantic rather than problematic, which came off as rather disturbing to this reader. Nora begins the book as an interesting character with a refreshing sarcastic bite, but slowly deteriorates to a unremarkable swooning dope. The book also suffers from some structural problems—the plot moseys between weird incidents for about 300 pages before leaping into a double climax that feels entirely unrelated to most of the plot.
Crescendo, the sequel to Hush, Hush, will be published on October 19, 2010. I might be willing to give Crescendo a chance in the hope that Fitzpatrick will better tackle some of the issues that arose in Hush, Hush. Hush, Hush will appeal to readers who can enjoy its premise while overlooking its flaws. Readers looking for other modern fantasy titles might enjoy Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (see my review here), Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, and Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
Pros: Interesting premise, stunning cover art.
Cons: Inconsistent pacing, unhealthy romantic relationships portrayed as acceptable.
Review by Martha