Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hushed by Kelley York: Book Review

Title: Hushed
Author: Kelley York
Pages: 260
Published: December 6th, 2011 by Entangled Publishing
Genre: Thriller, Contemporary, YA, LGBT
Summary: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. (From Goodreads.com)
My Thoughts:

Twisted and daring, Hushed, Kelley York's debut novel is a tempestuous story that shakes up reality and shows how deranged the mind can become. Full of sweet moments as well as the unhinged, York builds for us a murky world where the best of intentions knife you in the back and all you can hope for is to make it through long enough to try and do the right thing.

Archer and Vivian have been best friends since childhood, Archer staying at Viv's house more than his own. Her mother more his mother than the one that raised him. But, one fateful night Vivian is the product of a group rape and Archer isn't strong enough to do anything to stop it. Broken and bruised, Viv has difficulty recovering and Archer--broken and bruised in his own way--is sure that he can fix what happened by murdering those who hurt her. But, unexpectedly, Archer meets Evan, someone who is nothing like Viv, but more like her mother, Marissa. Kind, caring and immensely calm, Evan slowly breaks down all the walls Archer has crafted, hoping to find the true Archer. But, just when it seems things are going in a better direction, Viv finds out about the murders Archer has committed and the closer Archer grows to Evan, the more Viv wants what's always been hers; Archer.

Hushed pitches us directly into the action with the very first chapter, beginning with Archer murdering one of his victims. I don't know why, maybe it's because I'm a little bit unbalanced myself, but the introduction of Archer's character in this scene was not only fascinating, it was kind of fun. Okay, maybe I'm sadistic, but the implications behind Archer's actions are downright mad and therefore massively brilliant. I find that the insane imperfections of a character make them all that much more captivating. Yes, Archer is a murder. Yes, it's totally wrong and jacked-up that he's killing these people, no matter what they did. But, it makes him, as a character, original and a little bit refreshing. Although, that being said, Archer was a difficult character for me to like for a while. The murdering, while slightly bothersome, wasn't what threw me off, it was his meanness toward those around him....other than Viv that is.

The mind is a fickle thing. Emotional and complicated, it directs us through every moment of every day, never once stopping, always there to guide us through the hardest of times and the best, as well. Archer, whose mind we get to live the story through, is different than most minds I've been fictionally plunged into. At first, there isn't much to him. He seems coarse and abrasive and everything he does is centrally located toward Viv, a heathen of a character who deserves a bitch slap. But, eventually, we get to see why he is mean and short with people, why he prefers to be alone rather than in groups. Most of these character traits slowly seep out of him due to Evan, the romantic other party and just as slowly, if not suddenly, we end up liking Archer.

Evan was my very favorite character from Hushed. I had a harder time relating to Archer and I couldn't relate to Vivian in the slightest (which was entirety the point of how she was written, I think), but Evan was like the beauty in the storm. He was kind and helpful and so sweet I really just wanted to hug him like it was no one's business. He wasn't perfect, which made him even better, but he was strong and sensitive and didn't let people walk all over him. He told it like it was whenever he could, but wasn't brutal about it, his shyness a perfect fit in such a cruel setting. He was the sunshine after the rain (lyrics anyone?) and I could feel his character pushing through my Kindle casing, grasping my heart and pulling me into the book, with him.
"Do I have to dress up?" he asked tentatively. [Archer]

"Nah." Evan grinned. "I mean, you can if you want, but we won't part or anything like that. Just the standard puppy sacrificial ceremony, and you can always sit that out."

This time, it was Archer who laughed, and the sound felt so blissfully foreign rolling off his tongue. Despite everything--laughing at something so ridiculous felt like a cold rain after a drought. "Who would want to miss that?"
Well paced and written, Hushed is a different kind of thriller. Ms. York has shown how as people, we decide our fate, we decide whether to let the hard times keep us down or to push back with all we have in us. And while I loved most things about Hushed, I did have issues with the lack of shock and awe related to Archer's murdering and parts of Archer and Evan's relationship. It just seemed like Archer murdering wasn't as big of a deal as it should have been which kind of weirded me out, slightly. As for the relationship, I couldn't quite figure out Evan's attraction to Archer. Archer seems like a not-so-nice person and it takes Evan a while to break down the metaphorical door let alone the walls. I also didn't get why Archer, in the beginning, did the opposite of what he was thinking when it came to Evan. Evan would ask him to do something and in his head, Archer didn't want to, but he'd say yes and then question himself about it later.

Overall though, I really enjoyed the story. It was fun, it was different, it was a little mind-bending and that in and of itself is something I appreciate from a book. I love when a book breaks free of its restraints and becomes what it should be, distinctive. So, I give Hushed a 3.5/5 and recommend it to those who enjoy YA, Contemporary, Thrillers and LGBT Fiction.
The Author

Pre-order HUSHED by Kelley York!
Release Date: December 6th, 2011


  1. You know, it does sound enticing, especially with so many twisted characters. I think I am willing to give it a chance LGBT or not!

  2. Wait, so does Archer kill the guys who were involved with Viv's rape? I was a little confused about that..

    Anywho, this one is definitely dark. A twisted tale of relationships that's kinda like Fatal Attraction but with friendship and romance. While not for me, I can totally recommend this one to friends who like the morbidly twisted stories.

  3. Well you had me at twisted... Being that I also happen to be a tad unhinged- I think it's pretty fascinating too! I honestly wasn't going to read this one dude.... And even though it was only a 3.5 read I think it's a must add to the ever growing TBR!! Epic review!

  4. Um. I feel like murdering someone, let alone multiple someones, is kind of a big deal so I'm surprised it doesn't seem to be a huge issue in the story! This one sounds really different though, and while I clearly feel for Viv and the horror she experienced, I can tell she is going to be someone I'm going to love to hate:) Awesome review Jen!

  5. Geez Louise girl, you write super reviews!!!

    I dont read LGBT novels but your review piques my interest...:)

  6. Where do I get in line to give Evan a hug?! But yeah, it's kind of strange that the murdering bit wasn't a big deal. Now, I'm wanting Evan to find someone better! Archer and whatsherface can have each other.

  7. Mind bending? I need my mind bended. I'm also glad that Vivian isn't supposed to be relatable. That way it wouldn't bother me. I would have thought that perhaps she should be... Hm... yes, you have me curious. I like twisty tales and I may have to pick this one up!

  8. Maybe I'm a little unhinged too, but I would be intrigued by a book starting out right in the middle of a murder! I'm all about diving right into the meat of a story :P


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XOXO Jen the Bibliophile

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