From Goodreads: 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.
When I heard about Hushed, a dark, Dexter-like contemporary YA (new adult, really), I jumped at the chance to read it. If you’ve perused my blog for any period of time, you probably know of my intense love for Showtime’s Dexter, and all the complexities of the title character. I was hoping for the same from Hushed‘s main character, Archer, and I was not disappointed.
Hushed starts out heavy and intensifies with every turn of the page. There’s no time wasted as Archer toys with the overwhelming need to avenge his damaged best friend, Vivian. In his mind, he’s righting a wrong, and we’re dropped right into the action as Archer offs one of his “victims.” Chillingly, Archer has no remorse about killing; he goes about his murders with forethought and careful attention to detail. His motivation is clear (though, warped) and, weirdly, I found myself rooting for him to complete his task and get away with it.
I’m a big fan of the way Kelley York handled the romantic subplot in Hushed. Archer’s relationship with Evan was realistic and of the slow-burn variety (my favorite!), full of awkwardness and will-they-won’t-they moments. Evan’s loyal, laid back personality was a fantastic compliment to uptight, hermit-ish Archer. He truly brought out the best in Archer and helped him grow in ways he might not have otherwise.
The writing in Hushed so… readable. Clean and spare; it matched Archer’s personality perfectly–not flowery or overly descriptive. Never once was I removed from the moment or pulled from Archer’s story. The narrative is fast-paced, and the day/date chapter titles added a sense of impending doom to the overall mood of the book.
Hushed is a book I’d recommend to anyone who likes upper YA/new adult fiction, and especially those who like their books edgy and dark, with complex characters who grow and change throughout the course of the story. I look forward to reading more from Kelley York!