HUSHED by Kelley York
Published 12/6/2011 by Entangled Publishing
I’ve been on the hunt for some good LGBT books lately (particularly YA, as I stand on the precipice of a new project), so with a five hour bus trip looming, decided this one would be a great way to wile away the time. It proved to be an excellent distraction from the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Jersey Turnpike, as well as the Chatty Kathy I wound up sitting next to.
Also, when I flipped to the last page, I wish it had never ended.
Readers beware, this book isn’t for the faint of heart. It opens with a chilling suicide scene, and there’s more violence scattered throughout. The premise is this: Archer’s been in love with Vivian since they were kids, but something horrible happened to her early on, and Archer’s spent the rest of their lives trying to protect her. He’s even killed for her. He’s closed off and distant to everyone else, but when he meets Evan, things change. Somehow, Evan gets under his skin, and eventually Archer realizes that maybe he hasn’t been doing Vivian, or himself, any favors by obsessing over her.
But when Vivian realizes she’s losing Archer to somebody else, she decides to take matters into her own hands.
The thing that impressed me most was that Kelley York took a character like Archer and made him sympathetic. He’s a very Dexter-like character in that he’s been going around killing people who’ve wronged someone he cares about which is, obviously, a bad thing. Yet you still want to hug him and tell him everything will be alright in the end. His tough exterior is understandable, probably even necessary, to guard himself against a mother who hates him and Vivian’s constant rejection. Best friends, sure, but that’s all they’ll ever be. So when Evan shows up, you just want to cheer them on. Because Evan is exactly the opposite of Archer, and he’s adorable, and kind, and everything Archer needs to straighten out his life. Even when he finds out the truth of who Archer really is, Evan is determined to stand by his side and show him that things could be better. For such a dark and sinister book, there was so much heart and hope put into it.
Vivian was a great character in that I hated her the entire way through. She treated Archer like crap, proving time and again why Evan was the better choice. The more unstable she became, the more unsettled I felt reading. In a good way, if that makes sense. Books that elicit that strong of a response are clearly ones worth keeping around.
Also, some great twists in there I did not see coming. You’ll have to pick up a copy yourself because I’d rather not give anything away. But let’s just say the last few chapters did not go how I would’ve expected.
Absolutely chilling and mind-numbingly beautiful, I’d definitely give HUSHED two thumbs up.