Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #47: Hush, Hush

Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #47: Hush, HushHush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Series: Hush, Hush #1
Published by Simon & Schuster BFYR on October 13, 2010
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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When Nora and Patch are forced together as lab partners, Nora would rather fall to her death than put up with his elusive answers to her questions, his teasing, and his infuriatingly handsome face and hypnotizing eyes. It seems Patch was put on earth just to drive her crazy.

But before long, Nora's defenses start to break down as her curiosity about Patch heats up. Why does he always seem to be wherever she is and know exactly what she's thinking? How does he know what to say to both attract and repulse her? And what is up with those V-shaped scars on his chiseled back?

As their connection grows stronger, Nora's own life becomes increasingly fragile. Nora needs to decide: Is Patch the one who wants to do her harm or the one who will keep her safe? Has she fallen for one of the fallen?

Recommended by: Sophia, Cris & Mara

People are terrible. Exhibit A: Three people independently suggested I read this book. Exhibit B: Patch. Exhibit C: Apparently Patch is considered sexy by some. THE HORROR.

Actually, though, what surprised me the most about Hush, Hush was how good it was. I’m not saying I want to build a summer home here, but I can manage to survive rather comfortably. Partly, I think this is due to the book’s massive negative hype. I’m not saying it’s not deserved, but I was expecting the book to be lacking in any good qualities. Thus, I was surprised to find that the writing was actually pretty good. I’ve read many books much technically worse than this one. Sure, there were a lot of missing commas in dependent clauses, some comma splices and a few really awkward word choices (the rain ‘peppers’ down on page 222 for instance), but this is Shakespeare compared to this book or this book. Frankly, these are issues the editor should have fixed, so I don’t even really think Fitzpatrick’s to blame for that.

In fact, I think Hush, Hush comes REALLY close to being a good novel. Shockingly close, in fact. Nora Grey, aside from her reaction to Patch, her occasional slut-shaming, and her repeated attempts to make long legs sound like an unflattering feature, isn’t a terrible YA heroine. Had this book been straight up horror, I really think I would have liked it quite a bit. A couple of the scenes are horrifying, both physically and psychologically. Pretty much everyone and everything in this story is fucked up, and Nora’s a normal girl trapped in this hellish landscape. That book would have been pretty damn awesome. Unfortunately, this book isn’t that book.

The problem is the same that I had with Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, and just like I had to give that book one star even though it had good bones, so I do with this one. It is NEVER okay for the love interest to be a mind-controlling asshole. Patch is even creepier than river, but, to me, these books have the same awesome horror start and end on the same disgusting romanticization of an abusive brainwasher.

From this point on, we’re going to dive into some quotes to show just how creepy Patch is. Now, the two of them meet in biology class when the coach who teaches the class decides to change up the lab partners for the sex ed unit. Now, I’m pretty sure the only discussion of reproduction in my biology class was asexual and that we never discussed human sex and attraction, but let’s move past that. During their first conversation, Patch reveals a stalker-level knowledge of Nora. He also smells like cigars and asks if she sleeps naked (14). Please note again that this is their first conversation.

Their biology assignment is to learn a certain number of facts about their partner. Seriously, has Becca Fitzpatrick ever been in a high school bio class? THIS IS NOT WHAT THE HOMEWORK IS LIKE. Since Patch wouldn’t cough up any details in class, he commands Nora to call him and she says she won’t. Inevitably, she does, setting the tone for their entire relationship. He makes her come to the seedy dive bar where he scams people at pool. Then he says perhaps his most charming line in the novel.

“As it turns out, I’m in the need of a healthy female sacrifice. I’d planned on luring her into trusting me first, but if you’re ready now…”

Ding, ding, ding! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a creepy as fuck psychopath! We also have a plot point. Fitzpatrick proceeds to get out the foreshadowing hammer, dropping reference after reference to sacrifice. This happens on pages 41 and 44, and at the end, while looking for her friend Vee at a movie theater, Nora goes to a movie called The Sacrifice. I’d figured out the plot by page 27 and was positive I was right about that on page 41. That’s not really good for a twisty book. The point is, though, that THE LOVE INTEREST SHOULD NOT BE MAKING A FEMALE SACRIFICE JOKE ON THEIR SECOND IN-PERSON MEETING.

In their next Totally-Not-Biology class, the coach makes everyone talk about what they find attractive in a potential mate. I can’t even. What does good old Patch say?

“Intelligent. Attractive. Vulnerable.”

I don’t know about you guys, but I am SWOONING. I love when men seek out vulnerable females. It’s so comforting. NOT. I think you know I’m being sarcastic here, but I want to make sure no one’s confused about this. THIS IS NOT OKAY. We’re going to sidebar for a moment here from the Patch discussion to talk about how horrible this class is. In the discussion of attraction, the coach says this:

“Since the dawn of time, women have been attracted to mates with strong survival skills—like intelligence and physical prowess—because men with these qualities are more likely to bring home dinner at the end of the day.” He stuck his thumbs in the air and grinned. “Dinner equals survival, team.”

No one laughed.

“Likewise,” he continued, “men are attracted to beauty because it indicates health and youth—no point mating with a sickly woman who won’t be around to raise the children.”

That’s a bit sexist but historically true, so I can move past it. Plus, Vee calls him out on how not-applicaple this is to the modern woman. The asshole coach just keeps talking.

“If you approach reproduction with an eye to science, Miss Sky, you’ll see that children are the key to the survival of our species. And the more children you have, the greater your contribution to the gene pool.”

In response to this, Vee does roll her eyes, but no one fights him on it. First, I’m still offended because no public school teacher would say this or be teaching this in a goddamn biology class. Second, I’m enraged with the fire of every star in every universe that Fitzpatrick is subtly programming girls to think their only value is in their wombs. FUCK THIS BOOK. Don’t put that down as science. Yes, technically, some babies need to be born in order for humanity to continue. However, there is over-population to consider. And economics. And the fact that maybe some people don’t need to be filling the world with their spawn, as Harvey Danger so nicely put it in Flagpole Sitta: “Been around the world and found / That only stupid people are breeding / The cretins cloning and feeding.” Just because we CAN have babies doesn’t mean that we should all be popping out as many as we can because science. NO. JUST NO.

Okay, so then in biology class of this school would be a reporter’s wet dream of an exposé, the coach asks Patch how he knows if a girl’s interested in him. Patch proceeds to call out Nora, detailing her every physical response in front of the whole class with the coach’s buy-in. He also refers to her figure and skin as “selling points,” because making a girl sound like a whore is sexy, apparently. After class, rightly, Nora approaches the coach to protest her situation.

I set a copy of the school code of conduct and student rights down on top of [the coach’s football play]. “By law, no student should feel threatened on school property.”

“You feel threatened?”

“I feel uncomfortable. And I’d like to propose a solution.” When Coach didn’t cut me off, I drew a confident breath. “I will tutor any student from any of your biology classes—if you will seat me beside Vee again.”

Having been approached by his student who feels uncomfortable with her lab partner, how does the Coach react?

“Patch could use a tutor.”

OH. HELL. NO. This dude should be fired. So hard. Nora’s responding the way she should be to everything that’s happened. She’s gone to an authority figure about how Patch makes her uncomfortable and is trying to distance herself AND THE AUTHORITY FIGURE SAID NO. In fact, he’s forcing her to spend time ALONE with the guy who makes her uncomfortable. This is where Nora should have gone to the school’s principal and gotten the coach fucking fired. But that doesn’t happen, because that would circumvent the romantic endgame.

Blah blah blah, you basically get the picture. The book now goes into some awesome horror stuff with occasional breaks for verbal battles with the evil cheerleader, which consist of the cheerleader fat-shaming Vee and Nora slut-shaming the cheerleader in return and accusing her of bulimia. Of course, there’s also more of her and Patch, who continues to be charming. And, oh yeah, Patch can talk to her IN  HER MIND and ironically nicknames her “Angel.” *groans*

Nora repeatedly tells Patch to stay away from her, and he does not halt his advances. While there’s no sex in this book, he still goes in my book as one step away from a rapist. If a girl tells you to leave, the response is NOT to brush her lip with your finger (76). When she’s out on a date with someone else, Patch convinces her to go with him and then ends up having to drive her home when the others leave without her, in a really confusing timeline of events where a carnival ride apparently lasts an hour. Then this happens:

I watched, divided between confusion and escalating concern, as he drew a set of familiar keys from his pocket and inserted my house key into the bolt.

He took HER MOTHERFUCKING HOUSE KEYS. THIS IS NOT OKAY. Then he proceeds to get himself invited in on a conversational technicality like he’s some kind of vampire. Then he starts making food with a sharp, sharp knife. Once again, she tells him to go and he makes physical advances. In their next encounter, he follows her into the women’s restroom at the restaurant where he works. This is followed by a creepy interchange with an old lady who sees him.

“Honey,” she told me, “he looks as slippery as soap.”

“Good description,” I mumbled.

She fluffed her short, corkscrew gray hair. “A girl could lather up in soap like that.”

EWWWWW. WHY IS THIS INTERCHANGE NECESSARY? I’m supposed to believe Patch is gorgeous because some pedophilic old lady thinks he would make good bodywash? NO.

Oh, and then, she gets abandoned without a ride again and Patch corners her; this is literally the way she describes it (215). His eyes at this time “looked like they didn’t play by the rules,” which I’m going to assume means they both went lazy and are staring in all sorts of directions. Patch proceeds to physically chase her around the car, and remember that this happens after Nora thought this:

If rape, murder, or any other miscreant activities were on Patch’s mind, he’d cornered me in the perfect place.

We’re halfway into the book AND NORA STILL THINKS HE IS GOING TO RAPE HER. Ladies, this is not okay. This is not romantic. This is a sign you need to call the cops and get a fucking restraining order against his stalking, rapist ass. Of course, Patch catches her and backs her up against a beam. Then he says:

“A guy like me could take advantage of a girl like you.”

He has now physically and verbally threatened you. GET. A. RESTRAINING. ORDER. At this point, however, the book begins to shift. The previously fairly nice guy from whom Nora got a bad vibe proceeds to turn into an asshole just as creepy as Patch. Meanwhile, Patch stops saying such overtly horrid things and becomes her savior over and over again. Suddenly, she trusts him and stops being creeped out by him. And he even lives up to that trust.

Now, one of the big issues with Hush, Hush is the continually inconsistent treatment of Patch’s character. When she’s assigned to be his bio partner, she’s hardly noticed him before, and yet I’m supposed to believe he’s incredibly sexy? If a hot transfer student (of course) came into your class, you would damn well notice and learn his name. Then, for half the book, he acts like a creep and she’s creeped out, only Nora feels an inexplicable attraction to him which is continually told and not shown. During the second half, Fitzpatrick basically cuts Patch’s hyper-creepiness to make him a more legitimate love interest. But it’s TOO. DAMN. LATE.

Throughout the book, it’s been revealed that SPOILER Patch can speak to her in her mind and that he can create illusions that she believes to be real and even take over her body temporarily. MAYBE the reason that this otherwise relatively intelligent girl is attracted to Patch EVEN THOUGH SHE IS TERRIFIED OF HIM AND THINKS HE WILL RAPE HER AT ANY MOMENT is because he is manipulating her mind. It’s mentioned several times how easily her mind is manipulated, so this makes sense. In fact, that’s the only thing that makes any damn sense to me, though I’m sure that’s not where the series is going. If it were, it could turn out to be a true psychological horror of awesome proportions, but, no, this is really all meant to be romantic. Herein lies the problem. I have no issue with authors writing about unhealthy relationships, but THEY NEED TO BE SHOWN AS UNHEALTHY AND NOT HELD UP AS TRUE LOVE.

Truly, it’s almost as though Patch’s stalking and disgusting comments from the beginning are meant to highlight the fact that he truly loves her. Given that his intended original goal was to befriend her and convince her to sacrifice herself so that he can become human, acting like a rapist makes no fucking sense. If he’d just been nice, he would have had better odds of a willing sacrifice, were this not wonky paranormal wonderland where creepiness is oddly alluring. Cruel to be kind, indeed. Even if it was an act and he has reformed himself somewhat by the end, which isn’t something I believe, the fact that he’s capable and willing to manipulate her mentally and physically makes this a complete no-go as a romantic relationship.

So yeah, this book is every bit as upsetting as people have said. Moreover, Hush, Hush is incredibly frustrating because it could have been good with the one change of not making Patch the love interest. Most of those frustrating quotes wouldn’t be an issue if Patch was in fact shown to be a creepy asshole and was not the love interest.

PS: Fun fact: In college, I actually briefly dated a guy who went by Patch, but he was a goofy ginger and incredibly nice guy. So.

Favorite Quote:

“And anyway, the first three letters in the word diet should tell you what I want it to do.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

wrecking ball

Up Next:

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

The next Sadie Hawkins Sunday book will be Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, recommended by Scott Pilgrim, who in a rare fit of thoughtfulness suggested a book I might actually enjoy. Don’t worry. He just put Halo in the other day, so I assure you he’s the same as ever. *side-eyes Scott* Anyway, I hope I love this one, since I clearly deserve the good karma after this book.

Want to tell me what to read? Fill out the following form with a suggestion! For more details, check this post.

19 responses to “Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #47: Hush, Hush”

  1. Stormy says:

    As much as I dislike this book, I guess I have to be semi-appreciative of it since it’s the book that got me into book blogging in the first place. I read it and was so ragey about it that I started my blog because I felt the need to be able to talk about it to the internet at large(though it wasn’t the first review I posted since I didn’t want to start off on a negative foot).

    I agree with your entire review. The writing was really not bad, and for most of the book I was sort of enjoying it because I thought Patch WOULD be the villain, but then he became love interest and NO. I always thought if he had been the actual villain of the story, it would have been decent to good and I would have continued the series. And I felt sorry for the person who ended up being the “villain”–after all, his freedom was taken away, doesn’t that sort of make him the victim trying to get back at Patch? I have read some pretty awful love interest but Patch is always the first that comes to mind when I think of them.

  2. What a shame, because it sounds like the foundation of this book wasn’t that bad.

    Intelligent & attractive, he started all right. But yes, vulnerable? I HATE IT when they say that. There is nothing sexy about that and I seriously hate abusive douchebags – and girls who fall for it.

    The fact that she actually says that we woman only have the role to create babies is something I absolutely hate. Such a nonsense, like we aren’t good enough for anything else.. You would think that we are past that old fashioned way of thinking.

    He has her freaking key?? This reminds me of that creepy scene where Bella finds out that Edward has been looking at her in the night.. And she found it swoony. This is some scary shit. I always hate how the MC’s react to these type of situations. I mean, why get in the car with someone that creeps you out? And let him in your house just because he has the keys? I would thrown my door in his face and lock it..

    This is no romance, yuck. I love the GIF, haha.
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Life of a blogger: Career.My Profile

  3. Meg says:

    So this is public school biology, eh Becca Fitzpatrick? How…interesting. I do not remember covering these types of topics in any class, science or otherwise. I somehow managed to get through all 4 years without being programmed to find my life’s worth through my womb. Obviously my school was deficient.

    Ugh, corny nicknames? JUST WHEN I THOUGHT HE COULDN’T GET WORSE.

    “His eyes at this time “looked like they didn’t play by the rules,” which I’m going to assume means they both went lazy and are staring in all sorts of directions.” <–BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    "it’s almost as though Patch’s stalking and disgusting comments from the beginning are meant to highlight the fact that he truly loves her." <—This backwards logic, though sensical when you further break it down, is not the kind of mind fuckery I want from my literature.

  4. Angie F. says:

    Uuhh….okay….so I’ve pretty much only heard horrible things about this one, and I think it might be worse than I imagined. It’s still on my TBR though, and your review has piqued my morbid curiosity and makes me want to read it even more. I probably won’t any time soon, but still.

    This sounds delightfully terrible, but I cannot believe there are girls out there who find Patch sexy! He’s a friggin’ whackjob!
    Angie F. recently posted…Review: Indelible (The Twixt, #1) by Dawn MetcalfMy Profile

  5. Alessandra says:

    I’ve never read an angel book i really liked, but this one was the worst of them all. I was very confused by the (supposed) love interest being so threatening and *scary*.

    Also, the coach teaching biology needs to be wacked on the head.
    Alessandra recently posted…Nerd Blast: Lovers at Heart by Melissa FosterMy Profile

  6. Molli says:

    I read this one a few years ago before the “douche love interest is romanticized as SWOONY” trend became suffocatingly present in EVERY book out there. So. Hmmm. I’m curious what I’d think now if I re-read it. I remember liking the writing, and Nora.

    But Patch definitely had some creepy, NOT EVER OKAY tendencies. Yet I remember I kind of liked him and Nora, so I maybe just got caught up in the book (I remember reading it pretty quickly.) Reading your review makes me wonder if I read it so fast I just didn’t look for the creepiness and him manipulating her mind. Or maybe I just didn’t really take the time to delve into all that and think about how horrifying it could be. I do remember the kitchen scene and being all WTFPATCH. My memory of the book is pretty foggy, but now I’m actually afraid to re-read it, seeing as douchey/abusive/evil guys who are portrayed as romantic by the author is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves.

    I DO remember trying to read the second book and getting increasingly frustrated with it. I think I DNF’ed it but it was back in my early blogging days.
    Molli recently posted…Tunes for Pages – #2: Far From You by Tess SharpeMy Profile

  7. Nicole says:

    Haha I forgot how bad Patch was. I haven’t read this book in a while and I gave up on it after book two. I don’t know if he bothered me nearly as much as he bothered you but he definitely is a prick. Why do author’s write characters like that and make the females attracted to them (with or without mind manipulation). It is not a crowd pleasure. What a shame. Hopefully you don’t have to endure any more books in the series? Great review!

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert
    Nicole recently posted…Stacking the Shelves (50)- December 14thMy Profile

  8. If Patch had stayed a villain, this book would have been three stars. But NO. Not even close. I am so sick and fucking tired of borderline rapist love interests. The girl is saying “NO” firmly, repeatedly, but the LI just does what he wants to do to her. Which is okay to have in a book as long as the behavior is presented as absolutely WRONG, but 99% of the time in this genre, the heroine ends up liking it, even after saying “No” over and over again. I hate this shit.

    The only thing I think that was missing from this review is a look at Nora’s shitty stalkerish behavior. She and Vee call in a bomb threat to her school (or something like that, it’s been a while) so that Nora can look through Patch’s files. She also tries to dress up and disguise herself and shows up at Patch’s workplace. Patch was a piece of shit, but that doesn’t mean that Nora wasn’t.
    Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews recently posted…Stacking the ShelvesMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      That’s true. Nora does some stalking of her own, largely at the behest of Vee. She’s another inconsistent character. Vee urges her to date Patch, then decides against him. Nora actually didn’t know Vee was going to call in a bomb threat to the school; Vee did that alone. It was still messed up for sure, though. The interrogation thing at Patch’s workplace was just ridiculous. It was the worst detective work ever attempted.

  9. Jessie says:

    First. I love that people are mean/awesome enough to put this in MULTIPLE TIMES. Mwhahahaa. You were never going to be able to not read it.

    Second. Your point that this is almost a good book really threw me. I have heard from the haters and the fangirls and had decided that there was no middle ground. Interesting, interesting. I am absolutely never ever reading this but maybe I won’t judge people who do. Maybe. I can’t make those kind of promises with 100% accuracy.

    Those quotes you pulled from Patch? THAT IS WHY I CAN’T GUARANTEE I WON’T JUDGE FANS OF THIS BOOK. How does this guy have fans? How does he get so far in the YA Crush Tourney? I feel like a 60 year old women but… seriously.. kids today…
    Jessie recently posted…Review: The Promise of Amazing by Robin ConstantineMy Profile

  10. I just bought this one and its sequel but they will immediately be leaving the house. I don’t usually not read a book because of a bad review (even from one of my favorite bloggers) but great day…this sounds like a total waste of my reading time.

  11. Kayla Beck says:

    I wouldn’t touch this book with a ten foot pole, and I’m honestly quite surprised that you even read it. I’ve had my own creepy stalker, so I don’t want to read about them. And having their SCARY behavior glorified, even to the smallest degree, makes me feel very stabby. Yes, it’s fiction, but… I won’t rant anymore today, but I would probably have read this book if it had been horror.

    As for next week’s book, I cannot WAIT to read your thoughts! I really think Miss Peregrine is a book you will love, too.

  12. Nori says:

    I just can’t really believe you finished it….
    Nori recently posted…Hover by Melissa WestMy Profile

  13. Dani says:

    I really liked this book. Though I thought as the series went on and on.
    Dani recently posted…Celebrate The Small ThingsMy Profile

  14. Stephanie Parent says:

    I’ve had this since it came out and still haven’t read it. I’m curious to see how I’ll react to Patch…in the past I’ve really, really hated creepy guys like this in YA books–I even hate Warner in Shatter Me, and lots of reviewers I know like him. But more and more in adult romance I’ve become accepting of this type of character, I guess b/c I don’t take it as seriously and sometimes it can be fun to read. Since I’ve been reading more adult/NA than YA lately, I’m wondering how I’ll feel when I finally get to this one.

  15. One star! I am… not surprised. I have toyed with the thought of doing a Reader’s Choice type thing like you and so many others now but considering the possibility that a book like this could end up on there has prevented me from doing so. 3 people? EVIL.
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Something To Look Forward To – Week of December 16th, 2013My Profile

  16. Elena says:

    I totally agree with you. Healthy relationships should be portrayed as healthy, and unhealthy ones should be portrayed as exactly what they are; scary as shit.

    Personally being through a relationship like that I get it. And it’s been a personal soap box of mine that a lot of romance novels posture creepy shit as romantic. It isn’t. It just gets you abused or killed.

    No wonder guys are confused about what women want. The women who write this crap give them the WRONG message.

    Now I don’t mind a good romance now and then. It just needs to be congruent.

    And I agree that writing about messed up relationships is fine as well, with that stipulation of making sure it is portrayed correctly.

    Thanks for your review. I won’t be reading this book, though it sounds like the writer has talent. Maybe I’ll keep my eyes open just in case they improve.

    Thanks again!

  17. Hahahaha! OMG, you have to read Halo? SCOTTTTT! You are cruel! Not sure if you will like Miss Peregrine’s, but you might. And I know you will like it better than this one. Oh god. This review made me laugh out loud several times. I should put book two in for you to read. Muahahahaha. I will be kind right now.
    Kara @ Great Imaginations recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2013My Profile

  18. I like the smell of cigars and smoking them. Ahem.

    I hate the name Patch — it reminds me of this dog that this roommate I once had owned, that stupid dog pissed everywhere, it bit, it was never trained. It was improperly cared for and ugh, ugh ugh, I am ALREADY IN A BAD MOOD.

    Also, my blood pressure cannot handle this club (review) right now.
    April Books & Wine recently posted…Sleigh Bells In The Snow | Sarah Morgan | Book ReviewMy Profile

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