Genre: YA Thriller
Publication date: December 6, 2011
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
He’s saved her. He’s loved her. He’s killed for her.
Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn’t protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids, so he’s never stopped trying to protect her from everything else. It doesn’t matter that Vivian only uses him when hopping from one toxic relationship to another—Archer is always there, waiting to be noticed.
Then along comes Evan, the only person who’s ever cared about Archer without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is.
But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders Archer’s committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn him in if she doesn’t get what she wants… And what she wants is Evan’s death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption. (Goodreads.com)
I was sucked in fom the very first sentence. Literally, the very first sentence. It was creepy and mysterious, and slightly comical (that could be because I am a twisted person). And things only got better. The tension is thick from the very beginning. There is murder, obsession, drugs. All in the very first paragraph. Would you believe me if I said that the tension just keeps building and building until it explodes in one huge atomic tension bomb? Because it totally did. And it was epic. The plot is great. I like how the focus isn't only on the murders. In fact, most of the story is built around Archer's emotions and his struggle to be his own person. The book progresses naturally and kept my interest the entire time. It's not extraordinarily fast-paced to the point where you can hardly keep up, but it's not slow-paced to the point where you just want something to happen already. And like I said before, TENSION TENSION TENSION is in the air throughout it all.
I am awed by the fabulous character development (and the characterization in general). Some of the characters undergo extreme changes - be they good or bad - in only a couple hundred pages. That sort of thing can often be challenging to write and therefore come across artificial, unrealistic, or just bad. But it didn't. It was portrayed expertly and was very believable.
Archer is screwed up in so many ways. He's the guy you should hate. You should root for his death. You should definitely NOT fall in love with him. And yet I did, as did everyone else I've talked to about this book. He's so...pathetic. Not in a bad way, but sort of in a lost puppy kind of way. His life revolves around Vivian, even though she uses him and then tosses him aside like a deflated soccer ball. He feels like no one besides Vivian could ever care about him. His mother is afraid of him. And he feels like murdering all those people is the right thing to do. It's kind of hard to explain, so you need to read the book to getthe full affect of what I mean. But yes, Archer was a great character. I loved him.
I loved Evan, too. At first, I wasn't completely sold. But then I was. He was sweet and innocent and adorable. And he had absolutely no clue what he was getting himself into with Archer. And despite it all, he stuck by Archer. He was always always always there for him. I can't say much about Vivian without revealing spoilers, but I will say that she's horrible from the get-go. She's the type of girl that nobody wants to be. She uses Archer and everyone knows it - even Archer himself.
The romance was gorgeous. It was slow and natural. There was no defining moment where Archer was like, "I'm in love." It just happened. You could see it and feel it throughout the entire novel. I also liked how it wasn't focused on the gender. There was no, "HOLY CRAP I LIKE A DUDE I SHOULD GO KILL MYSELF" moment. Because he didn't fall in love with a gender - he fell in love with a person. Some people may think there is a little bit of insta-love going on from Evan, because Evan really had no reaon to fall in love with Archer. Especially once he discovered that Archer is a murderer. But I think that Evan is so good, and Archer is so messed up, and Evan just needs to fix him - even if he doesn't know it. Evan loves Archer's little quirks and it is completely obvious that Evan brings out the best in Archer - makes him stronger and better.
The writing was fabulous. I'm not particularly a huge fan of third person stories. It's easy for me to feel detached from the narrator. However, Hushed was written in such a way that made me forget that I was reading in third person. It was so emotional. A lot of people may be hesitant to read it because it has dark themes, but it's a seriously wonderful read. I couldn't put it down. I'd recommend it to a higher YA audience. There are sexual references and cussing. And, ya know, the whole murder thing. It may make some people a little queasy, but it is SO WORTH IT.
Kelley York has supplied the world with a knock-your-socks-off debut. I am anxiously awaiting her next book, whatever and whenever that may be.