Young Adult Contemp Thriller
(upper YA, dark)
*Advance reader copy provided by the publisher. This in no way affected my review of the material.
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.
(blurb from goodreads)
Review by Lydia Sharp
The first reaction I had to this novel after finishing it was–
MIND = BLOWN
Easily one of the best novels I’ve read this year, but not for those with a weak constitution.
Hushed opens with a highly disturbing scene in which Archer forces Vivian’s brother (one of the people who hurt her all those years ago) to commit suicide by way of a drug overdose. Archer even gets him to leave a note. He’s very good at covering his tracks, which is both scary and brilliant.
So we start out thinking that Archer is doing Vivian a favor, in his own twisted way, and we’re not sure what to think of Archer, but we certainly believe that Vivian is worth it. Possibly. But as the story moves on and we see more of Vivian and Archer’s messed-up leecher/leechee relationship, and then Evan shows up–
Where do I even begin with Evan…
He is everything Archer needs in a guy yet never had, because Archer was always too centered on pleasing Vivian, even though she never appreciated it. She is always with another guy– an obviously wrong guy– and takes for granted that Archer would always be there to pick her up when she fell.
But Evan helps Archer see Vivian for what she really is– bad for him. And he repeatedly assures Archer that it’s okay to do what’s best for himself once in a while, instead of always what’s best for Vivian. You can’t help but love Evan, because you can’t help but see how good he is for Archer. You also get (more than) a little worried for Evan because he’s unknowingly involving himself with a serial killer.
It’s takes Archer some time to get used to this idea of (1) having someone in his life who selflessly cares about him, and (2) allowing himself to not be so concerned about Vivian. But as he spends more time with Evan and less time with Vivian, and less time plotting and carrying out murders, Archer begins to realize that he really isn’t the monster everyone pegged him for. Not the least of which was his own mother.
He wants to change. He wants to do better. And with Evan’s help, he believes he can.
That’s when Vivian fully reveals she is not the innocent little girl she used to be, the one that Archer holds dear in his memory. Vivian can’t stand not being in first place anymore, and suddenly Evan has become her personal “public enemy number one.” Drive Evan away and things between her and Archer will go back to normal, right?
What happens in the story from there is altogether heart-breaking, jaw-dropping, gut-wrenching, and just about every other cliche’ you can think of, all wrapped into one.
The romance between Archer and Evan is utterly delicious. It builds slowly through the first half as Archer comes to terms with the fact that, yes, he has feelings for this guy. And although it’s never outright stated in the story, I got the impression that Archer had never been romantically involved with a guy before, and Evan had.
But that’s really not the point. Because once Archer admits that he needs Evan in his life, the romantic thread of the story takes on an incredible new intensity, and it’s just as important to the outworking of the plot as the opening murder. Everything becomes so tangled up together– the romance with Evan, the murders, the screwed up relationship with Vivian– that you don’t know how it can possibly all work out in the end.
Well. You’ll just have to read it and see for yourself. Because the best part of this book? Is the ending.
Hushed by Kelley York releases on December 6, 2011.