Author: Kelley York (Twitter, Facebook)
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Publish Date: December 6, 2011
Genre: YA, Contemporary
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.
Archer would do anything for Vivian. From her tragic youth to her tangled and messy life in the present, he's stood by her side. He loves her, and his love is unwavering, but Viv is blinded by the world she's been raised in. But as Archer sinks deeper into the role of Vivian's go-to guy, he finally finds someone that might be able to prove to him that he's worth more - that he is more. Viv isn't used to not having Archer there at her beck and call though, and she won't let him go easily. Can Archer find comfort and peace, or will their toxic and destructive relationship bring them both down together?
First of all, it has to be said that I love dark, messy and twisted stories. Second, I have to say that Hushed completely floored me by not only meeting the above criteria, but also blowing it out of the water. Gritty and raw, Hushed is so painfully real and tangible that it's nearly a horror story, scoring wounds deep into your soul as you encounter the poisonous relationship Archer and Viv have for one another. Author Kelley York has written a no-holds-barred account of co-dependent relationships that deftly balances everything from addiction, to murder, to drugs, lies and sexuality. Never crass and with a remarkably honest and human approach, Hushed is one of those reads that will stay with you long past the last page.
Archer was a mess. I'm just going to throw that out there. That said though, so was Viv, and their relationship was only fueled by their inability to cope with their own inner turmoil. Archer was so hell-bent on saving Viv, that he was losing himself to her narcissistic and manipulative ways. Both these main characters fueled the other, sending each one into a downward spiral from which it seemed there would be no return. Enter Evan though, and there became a glimmer of hope in Hushed. Now, allow me to say that I don't read too many novels with GLBT themes, simply because I've yet to read a truly real and honest one. The relationship between Evan and Archer epitomizes truth. There's a clarity between the two that becomes a beacon in a story so black and morose that you can almost taste the tension. The great skill of Hushed is that this human approach allows you to access the bad guy and understand his motives, all the while feeling for him. And, at the same time, you're given a victim that is nearly as guilty of treachery as the other is of murder. Hushed is a mess of chaos spun into a hypnotizing story that will leave you breathless. Balancing serious themes with ease and featuring a steady, lyrical prose, Hushed is the best of all worlds.
I have to say that Hushed exceeded my expectations, and it's definitely one of the darkest stories I've ever read. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to an upper YA audience due to some graphic violence and sexual situations. Those who enjoy contemporary fiction and GLBT storylines will enjoy this one.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.