This was the first long commentary I did, and I was going to start putting the reviews up in the order I liked best until I realised a lot of them referred to earlier reviews, so I’m going to post them every week in the order I read them.
You can find my condensed review of Hush, Hush on Goodreads here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/517372686
So we’ll start with the main character, Bruce Wayne, who—following the intervention of Selina Kyle aka Catwoman during a kidnapping by Killer Croc—is seriously injured and subsequently reunited with his childhood friend, Dr. Thomas Elliot—
Oh wait, no… that was just ‘Hush’, as in ‘what someone should have told me before I made that lame joke’.
‘Hush, Hush’s main character is a girl named Nora, who we meet as she engages in nonsensical dialogue with her best friend Vee Sky.
But we really begin with a prologue, set in 16th century France, wherein a French Duke is told by a self-professed minion of Satan with mind-control powers that he is a Nephil, a half-angel, and he has to do a job for him. The encounter comes off strangely like one of a telemarketer and his victim—one expects the Satanist to ask Duke half-angel if he’s paying too much for his car insurance.
Back in the land of Stephen King’s favourite playground, Vee and Nora are being taught ‘Science’ by their basketball coach. I don’t know if that’s how things work across the pond, but here in Blighty we were taught science by… science teachers. Today’s assignment is to ask stupid banal questions of the person sitting next to you, which I guess is what happens when you get the basketball coach to teach Sex Ed.
During this, Nora kindly informs us in block-paragraph format what she and Vee look like, and how they have a shiny unbreakable friendship bond. But unfortunately, Nora is partnered up with the Mysterious Transfer Student tm., who has been given the children’s plush-toy name of ‘Patch’.
Patch immediately endears himself to the reader by making random assumptions about Nora that turn out to be true, telling her everything that’s wrong with her, asking her if she’s suicidal and refusing to tell her anything in return. We learn from this that Nora’s father was murdered last year, in an entirely non-clunky bit of exposition.
Sadly this first meeting between Romeo and Juliet is cut short by the class only being about ten minutes long, but at least Patch gives Nora his phone number, written in blood (well, the book just says ‘red’ but I think we all know what was meant).
Our heroine makes the brilliant observation that something about the guy who somehow knew all her character traits and is going for gold in the ‘dicking around’ championship ‘isn’t normal’. I’m betting he just downloaded her personality profile from a dating website, he certainly makes enough terrible innuendos.
Also, Nora is unduly creeped out by birthmarks.
I was considering building a trans-dimensional space-warping machine in order to enter the physical universe of the book and sign Vee’s petition to have the coach fired, and maybe get Vee interested in something else other than Nora’s love life.
Unfortunately upon attempting this, I accidentally crashed my ship into the massive barrage of foreshadowing via a movie and got diverted into a William Burroughs novel. Man, that was a weird experience.
Enter the cheerleader character! She’s blonde, wears an incredibly short skirt and insults Vee for being fat. What a refreshing portrayal!
And some guy in a ski mask attacks Nora as she’s driving home. Action! And we’re only… wait, fifteen percent through already? How long is this book, 100 pages?
More characters are introduced in the form of Eliot and his friend Jules, who is described as being incredibly bored and irritated. Is he me? Was a part of myself left behind when I encountered that foreshadowing, manifesting in the book itself as an actual character?
Oh, and Patch is still a douche.
Seems like that mystical friendship bond is dissolving. Then again, Nora feels it is her right as Patch’s Biology partner to illegally access his private information, and Vee is so obsessed she casually prank calls the school with A BOMB THREAT to provide a distraction for Nora to do so, so I kind of wonder why either of them would want to be friends with the other! I guess because they’re the best!
(Hopefully they’ll also frame the basketball coach for the bomb and finally get him fired)
Anyway, school’s out due to fictional bombs, so they go to a restaurant where Patch just happens to work for page after page of witty banter, ending with the epitome of all wit when Nora (who can’t stop herself saying random things and thus apparently has some form of Tourettes) tells him she illegally accessed his private information for no reason.
All this is interspersed with arbitrary snippets of how attractive Nora finds Patch’s total lack of attractive qualities. And he starts to call her ‘Angel’. I had to duck to avoid the foreshadowing.
Suddenly some guy called Elliot shows up—and I must be suffering from early onset dementia, because I’d already forgotten who he was. He picks Nora first for softball teams, and Nora approves of his not being impressed with Marcie, cheerleader o’ Doom. Apparently the other boys at the school really enjoy listening to Marcie go on about how awesome she is.
Disaster strikes when Nora is distracted from softball by suddenly gaining the ability to hear Patch’s thoughts, but at least that ho Marcie gets knocked on her ass! Woo!
Well, that was a pointless chapter.
Hang on, wasn’t there another book where there was a chapter where they played something like this?
In which Nora has bestowed upon her the divine wisdom of the German maid, wisdom such as…
Not having a boyfriend is bad. But having a bad boyfriend is even worse. Deep stuff.
But it gets better—because Nora goes out with Vee to meet up with Elliot and Jules, and you know what this means? That’s right—makeovers!
So they go to the fair and seem to be having a gay ole’ time, but uh-oh—guess who also turns up at the fair as well?
That’s right—Patch! There’s even a long description of exactly what he’s wearing so we know it’s him.
In order to make sure he doesn’t bother them… they go bother him first! Great idea! And hilarity ensues, when he psychically challenges Nora to a stupid game with even stupider stakes, then tells her to meet him at the new ride… Archangel!
Do you think something’s being foreshadowed there? I still have concussion from being bashed over the head by something, so I’m not entirely sure.
After Patch pesters Nora into riding the Archangel with him, we see that the fairground workers have kindly been applying more foreshadowing to their rides with paintings inside the cars of angels and demons and all that cheerful stuff.
Too bad they apparently spent more time on that than on the ride’s safety, because Nora falls out of the ride! Oh noes!
Fortunately it was either a hallucination or Nora or Patch warped reality, because she ends up back in the ride perfectly fine and it never really happened. There was no monster/ Monster A-go-go.
Unfortunately the reality-warping seems to have had the side-effect of warping the syntax, giving us sentences like ‘The higher up, the harder the fall’. Perhaps the subject from that sentence died in Nora’s place?
On finding her super-special best friend Vee has abandoned her, Nora gets a ride home with Patch, who then forces her at knife-point to have a taco-making lesson.
Although he also says cooking isn’t taught. Which it is. Because he’s teaching her.
But it results in true love’s first kiss, over the washing up as all true romances are founded. Clichéd purple prose ensues, accompanied with clichéd purple dialogue, and all too soon they’re interrupted by the clichéd phone call from Nora’s mother.
Sigh, it was just so beautiful! *bursts into tears*
Well, I’m now a third of the way through the book—two or so hours of my life I’ll never get back, and then there’s that concussion to deal with… but Vee had it worse, what with trying to find Nora for hours, though she gets over it soon enough when she’s able to tell, from Nora’s voice, that she kissed some fruit.
Or Patch, I got confused at that point. Fruit is a running gag in this book, the kind that runs you down, conks you over the head and screams ‘LAUGH, DAMN YOU!’ Anyway, maybe Vee is psychic too?
So Nora compares kissing Patch with licking a shard of glass—just what I like to imagine all twu wuv kisses end up like, and then she joins Vee for an important discussion about their boobs. Slightly more important, but not much, is the fact that Nora feels there’s another stalker in her life. Also Vee doesn’t know how shopping works—and neither, apparently, does Nora, as she considers telling Vee that the sales clerk will scan the bar codes of the bras to be ‘a lie’.
But Vee gets her comeuppance for trying to steal when the stalker attacks and robs her! Oh noes!
Well, Vee’s arm is broken and Nora has a new psychologist, but if I learned anything from ‘Batman Beyond’ it’s that all therapists are evil, so I’m betting she’s the new stalker (who we know is female, and probably not Marcie)
She gets her own long, descriptive paragraph so we know she’s a main character, and at no more than five years older than Nora, is either the youngest working psychologist ever, an angel-y type person in disguise, or a crazy person who wandered in off the street. Well, this is the school that thinks the basketball coach should teach biology!
This teacher wants her to stay away from Patch though, so my bet’s on the… uh…middler.
Nora goes to visit Vee in the hospital, trying to stimulate her ‘muse’ to write an essay on Othello while she waits. I should go look up which one of the nine muses specialised in essay-writing…
But instead of doing that, Nora decides to Google Patch, and finds he’s not on Facebook! That means he doesn’t exist! She does discover a newspaper article related to Eliot though, who was apparently questioned regarding the death of a girl from his old school. From his school paper. You’d think the horrible death of a teenage girl would get some recognition outside of the school paper.
Apparently Eliot operates under the laws of taboo mythology, because saying his name summons him up and he appears right next to Nora and asks her out.
Vee’s doctor is a ‘lard-arse’ which I guess means Vee is from my side of the pond, or something. Also, Nora’s mother looks like she might actually make an appearance in the novel.
Nora and Vee discuss Vee’s attacker, who was wearing a ski mask! Dun dun dun! And has charcoal eyes, but Patch’s eyes are black, not charcoal, so it couldn’t have been him… or could it? (Yes. Yes it could. Because charcoal is black.)
Nora leaves her dear friend to drug induced hysteria (maybe the basketball coach moonlights as a doctor too?) finally meeting up with her mother, who smells like Love, by Ralph Lauren. I’m sure it’s important that we know that. For some reason.
It takes a while for anything to start happening in this chapter (as much as anything can be said to happen at all in this book so far) but it was well worth the wait, because Nora, Vee and Eliot have teamed up to stalk Patch.
But Nora distrusts Eliot now—in fact, she seems to hate him more than Patch, all because he was questioned regarding the death of a girl which was later ruled as suicide as he’d been seen walking home with her the night before. He must be evil! Just walking with him makes you want to commit suicide!
But Nora cleverly pokes holes in his story regarding Jules’ parents working with diamonds in Africa and Australia—in fact, she’s ‘pretty sure Australia had no diamonds. Period’. Yes, it’s well known that Australia has banned all import and export in diamonds as part of their campaign to cut girls off from their best friends. These days you can be executed on the spot for a hint of sparkle. Or maybe they just really hate Twilight down under?
Anyway, hijinks ensue. Painful, painful hijinks. Cringeworthy.
Nora and her mum have a boring conversation about her dead dad, and Nora doesn’t tell her about any of the crap that hasn’t been happening, because she’s worried her Mum will sell the house if she does. *Coughcontrivancecough*
And Nora has another hallucination of the guy in the ski mask and the cops don’t believe her. Oh, Nora—you so crazy!
Continued in Part Two