Wow, that’s a controversial opinion! Well, as far as this blog tends to go, anyway. Ariel gave us a pretty good summary of the first chapter of Hush, Hush yesterday, so I’m going to mostly focus on why I absolutely despise this book so far.
Okay, having said that, the prologue isn’t that bad. I mean, yes, it’s terrible, but it’s not haha terrible.
The prologue opens up in 1565 in France with a guy named Chauncey (How awesome is this? SUPER AWESOME) who encounters a boy/devil/dude who uses magic to make him bend to his knee and feel kinda nauseous and this is enough for Chauncey to realize that he has been bested forever for all time and reluctantly swears his allegiance to devil boy. Whatever.
Following up a totally-not-rushed-sequence-at-all, boy says that Chauncey is a Nephil, which is half mortal half fallen angel, and Chauncey’s first question isn’t “What the balls?” but asks who the boy is, so Chauncey loses awesome points he got from being named Chauncey pretty fast. Chauncey sees two scars arranged like an upside down V on the boy’s back and immediately thinks “hey, you’re a fallen angel and your wings have been stripped!”. This means one of two things:
- Chauncey’s pretty clever! He learned that fallen angels exist ten seconds ago and just figured out that the scars on this boy’s back are where his wings used to be! Obviously!
- The writing has no sense of pacing at all.
And then the boy laughs and the prologue ends! Man, I can’t wait to find out what happens to Chauncey in forced servitude to a devil in France in the 1500s next!
I walked into biology and my jaw fell open. Mysteriously adhered to the chalkboard was a Barbie doll, with Ken at her side. They’d been forced to link arms and were naked except for artificial leaves placed in a few choice locations. Scribbled above their heads in thick pink chalk was the invitation:
WELCOME TO HUMAN REPRODUCTION (SEX)
I’m pretty sure already that I’ve never read a worse beginning of a book. We go from rushed stilted 1500s France supernatural horror-lite to a high school biology class during a sex unit. Literally everything about this is horrible. We have cliched Barbie and Ken doll set pieces that probably took a negative amount of time to come up with covered up with cliched leaves in choice locations (PRO TIP: this means their genitals). We have terrible and redundant “let me tell you what’s going on (it is this)” exposition… do we have something mindbogglingly stupid too? Yep! The dolls are “mysteriously adhered”. Evidently this novel takes place in a world where tape or glue or maybe even magnets are mysterious concepts to people.
Then we meet snarky best friend and dialogue starts in earnest and oh my God. The dialogue.
“Pictures of this in the eZine would be all the evidence I’d need to get the board of education to ax biology. And then we’d have this hour to do something productive – like receive one-on-one tutoring from cute upperclass guys.”
I was going to break this down into why it’s horrible but literally every single part of it is and I don’t know if I can take it. Ah, fuck it. Yeah, I can.
- eZine – Look how hip and modern we are! These teenagers work for an INTERNET MAGAZINE, not a dumb ol’ school newspaper made with paper and shit!
- axing the biology department – Nope. This is how teachers get fired. Not how entire disciplines of academia are dismissed from compulsory education.
- “something productive” – No again. If the school board cut a class, it would be filled with another class before you filled it with a penis
- “one-on-one tutoring”, “cute upperclass guys” – I hate everything about how this character speaks. Everything.
Jesus, I’ve already written 600 words about this book and I’m not even on page ten. We haven’t even been told the main character’s name yet. Let’s skip ahead to where we meet the teacher. Maybe it’ll get better when we get away from these too-cool-for-school teenagers.
Coach McConaughy grabbed the whistle swinging from a chain around his neck and blew it. “Seats, team!” Coach considered teaching tenth-grade biology a side assignment to his job as varsity basketball coach
“It may not have occurred to you kids that sex is more than a fifteen-minute trip to the backseat of a car. It’s science.”
This is actually what is written in the book. “It’s science.” This is hilarious.
“Science is an investigation,” Coach said, sanding his hands together. “Science requires us to transform into spies.”
HAHA WHAT this doesn’t make any fucking sense at all. STICK AROUND, COACH!
Coach tells Nora (the main character!) that she probably knows quite a bit about Vee (sassy BFF!) and I don’t know what this has to do with sex or biology. Nora then narrates how close she and Vee are, and I can summarize how weird the whole passage is with one quote.
Vee is my un-twin.
The book then continues to make no fucking sense.
Vee scowled at him. She is famous for that scowl. It’s a look that does everything but audibly hiss. Apparently immune to it, Coach [continued]
I love this. Becca Fitzpatrick is all “no, seriously, this is, like, the best scowl EVER” and then immediately has it not work, and it’s all “WHOA. How did THAT happen???”
So Coach wants everybody to sit by someone else so they can get to know them. For a high school biology class’s unit on human reproduction. I have no idea why anything happening in this book is happening.
I knew the names of all my classmates … except one.
How much do you want to bet this is the love interest?
My heart fumbled a beat and in that pause, a feeling of gloomy darkness seemed to slide like a shadow over me. It vanished in an instant, but I was still staring at him. His smile wasn’t friendly. It was a smile that spelled trouble. With a promise.
How long is this book?
Coach said, “Human reproduction can be a sticky subject-”
And we already have a cum joke.
Coach explains that the first assignment of the sex unit is for them to learn as much as they can about the new person they’re sitting next to. I have no idea what the hell is going on. What is he teaching? This isn’t biology. This isn’t even sex. Is he teaching how to pick people up? We, as a reader, are actually supposed to believe that a high school biology teacher is grading his students on learning as much they can about a complete stranger in as little time as possible under the pretext of teaching the biological aspects of human reproduction. What. The. Fuck.
And then it gets worse when we meet male love interest.
“Call me Patch. I mean it. Call me.”
He winked when he said it
Nora sits there in silence for ten minutes waiting for him to say something first because SHE WASN’T GONNA DO THAT SHIT NUH UH. Then Patch starts being a dick and Nora stops being a bitch long enough to let the reader start to hate him too. There’s really nothing to say about Patch. He’s a Twilight-era dark, brooding Byronic figure, meaning he’s a complete jackass and creepy as all flavours of fuck and Nora can’t get enough of him. Let’s explore “creepy as all flavours of fuck”:
“I take pictures […] I’ve got quite a collection going of an eZine columnist”
Patch and Nora have been talking for two pages and Patch has already explicitly told Nora that he’s been stalking her. And Nora is completely unconcerned about this. Instead she lets Patch mock her and reveal how much he knows about her and still not really catch on that he’s stalking her.
If he knew I played the cello, what else did he know?
This goes on for way too long and the bell rings and the class ends with Patch giving Nora his number so she can call him to get some information about him for the assignment and she rather hilariously shouts “I won’t call! Not – ever!”.