Wednesday, April 10, 2013

YA book review: Hushed by Kelley York

Hushed by Kelley York
 Contemporary YA thriller*Paperback/eBook, 229 pages
Published December 6th 2011 by Entangled Publishing (first published November 30th 2011)

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.

Intense. Riveting. Disturbing. These are just some of the words to describe my reading of Kelley York's novel, Hushed. The opening scene is chilling as main character Archer brandishes a gun over an already high guy named Brody. Archer totes around a list of people who have physically hurt his friend, Vivian, the gorgeous girl he has been taking care of for years. After Brody swallows the pills, Archer calmly waits until he can no longer feel a pulse. Wait for this--Brody is Vivian's older brother. He may be a loser but he is responsible for Vivian being hurt and Archer is now exacting revenge. He has only just begun.

One may think this book is about a psychotic killer or serial murderer in training. It isn't. Hushed is a complex character study of a young guy too close to his friend and when she realizes the power she holds over him, decides to seek vengeance simply by manipulating him. Friendship, family, so much of what makes these two tick is dysfunctional. The loner becomes lonely, especially whenever Vivian decides to display her new boy toy in front of Archer (not to mention Mickey, her on again, off again squeeze). Got bitch? Her name is Vivian. Archer is no saint but as much as I wanted to hate him, I could not. He becomes a sympathetic figure and I was drawn in by his voice. I felt sorry for him and what he was dealt in life. I can't forgive him for his heinous crimes. I do understand him.

Things become interesting when Archer meets Evan at college. Evan is the quiet type but he soon becomes a strong, truthful force in Archer's life. He provides the voice of reason to Archer's violent tendencies. A relationship develops between them and the more time Archer spends with Evan, the calmer he becomes. Vivian, broken from a past traumatic event, begins to hate Evan. He questions her motives and Archer soon views his life differently, in particularly his supposed friendship with her. As Archer smartens up, Vivian becomes more unhinged until the story reaches a climatic scene and a satisfying ending.

Hushed is unlike anything I've read lately in YA. Thank you Kelley Hunt for such a well written, poignant and disturbing novel. When can I expect the next one?

Rating: 4

Cover comment:
Works for me. I like how Archer looks as though he's either eavesdropping or ready to pounce on someone.

Book source:
I received a promotional copy in return for my honest review.

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