Release Date ~ December 6, 2011
E-galley received from Entangled via Net Galley
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.
After hearing Hushed described as the "Dexter of YA", I decided I had to give this book a chance. I love the dark and twisted character Dexter, who really isn't quite as evil as one would initially presume for a serial killer. And that's what makes the idea behind it so brilliant.
Take something dark and taboo, and see if you can make it into something appealing. Make people question the set norms and beliefs. The problem is that I wasn't too sure that Hushed accomplished all of that.
- Open your mind:
But Hushed (and Kelley) definitely get kudos for tackling a difficult topic, and bringing this up into discussion. Because it isn't always as simple as we make things out to be, and Archer isn't as evil or "bad" as one might assume a killer would be. And Evan makes some fantastic comments about love and relationships, and control over one's life and circumstances. FANTASTIC.
But one of my main problems with Hushed was how Vivian was portrayed. Yes, she absolutely was toxic. But I was left with the impression that she was this terrible villain when she didn't strike me that way; she had allowed traumatic circumstances to consume her, and didn't want to take any responsibility for her poor choices. I suppose the problem was that I had a hard time seeing the drastic difference between Vivian and Archer, and why I should forgive one more so than the other.
My second problem was the love plot. I just didn't buy into it. Parts of it were very sweet, yes. There was a sense of unconditional love there that often isn't shown in other love stories. But it came across as far too unconditional and forgiving and deep all at once, something that seemed to happen very quickly and made it feel rather forced to me. I think with more development and time, and even some harder struggles to overcome, I would have been able to buy into it.
So it didn't quite live up to my Dexter expectations for it. I will say that fans of dark and edgy YA (or even people who tend not to be fans of YA) would be a pretty good audience for this one, and may have interest in reading it regardless of my remarks here.