Monday, January 16, 2012

The New Adult Project: "Hushed" by Kelley York

This is my first review for the "New Adult" Project. I know I said I would post these reviews on Tuesdays, but since I'm driving back to New Jersey tomorrow, I decided to post this a day early.


Goodreads Summary:

"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."

Hushed was on my list of books to read for The Temple Well, and it wasn't until I started reading it that I realized I could also use it for the New Adult Project. (The characters are in college and live on their own.) This is Kelley York's debut novel, and it's only been out for a month and a half, so I'm especially thrilled to give it some press.

Murderer protagonists aren't exactly something that draws mass appeal, which means that protagonists like Archer are rare. This makes me sad, because I love reading about deeply flawed characters. And Kelley York isn't afraid to emphasize just how fucked up Archer is. The first chapter shows him taunting the man he is about to kill, and it kind of makes you sick to watch. But despite this, Archer is very, very sympathetic. You understand his actions, and his conflicting feelings over almost all of the people he cares about. No relationship is simple in this book.

Vivian was equally well-rendered. From the description, I expected her to be a stereotypical manipulative bitch, but she was actually very human. I have mixed feelings about Evan. I'm not a huge fan of the love-interest-with-a-heart-of-gold trope, but he played an indispensable role in the novel--helping Archer through his transformation.

If you're looking for darker novels with flawed characters and complex relationships, you should absolutely read Hushed.


Full list of "New Adult" Project reviews

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