August 14, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Hush, Hush by Lucia Franco

Hush, Hush is a story about two best friends living it up in NYC.


Aubrey and Natalie are college roommates, addicted to money and designer clothing, and are having the time of their lives. A pretty clear picture of this life is painted when they go out on the town for Aubrey's 21st birthday.

"It's time to pregame," she says dropping a pill into my hand. "We're celebrating this birthday in true New York City fashion--with a few shots and some Molly."


"I'm gonna need to find a hot rando tonight if this is what we're doing."



Naturally, this type of lifestyle lends itself to risky behavior -- and plenty of it. It also leads Aubrey to cross paths with James Riviera. Thirty years her senior, James is an attractive, incredibly wealthy, and well-known attorney. He also happens to be married.

But... married, shhhmaried. Right?


As it turns out, James and his wife have an understanding of sorts. This is good news for Aubrey, as it momentarily soothes her weak conscience when she can't stay away from him. Unfortunately, the good news stops there, and a surprising revelation soon flips their world upside down. With more than just her heart at stake, Aubrey must decide how far she's willing to go to live a double life and keep the first man she's ever truly wanted.

MY TAKE


Despite having no knowledge of the book's subject matter and never having read another book by this author, I requested an ARC from the publisher. Why did I do this? Because the synopsis and teaser photos intrigued me. I thought they were fabulous, and they immediately reminded me of Gossip Girl. And, I loveeeee me some Gossip Girl.



I realized pretty quickly that Hush, Hush would be NOTHING like Gossip Girl. Nevertheless, I really wanted to like this book. I hate writing negative reviews for books I'm given early access to read -- especially if I personally requested the ARC from a publisher -- which is why I never gave up on Hush, Hush (even though I wanted to about a million times).

The first quarter of the book was pretty brutal for me to get through. Nothing happens. Seriously. N-o-t-h-i-n-g. Aubrey doesn't meet James Riviera (aka "the hero") until CHAPTER 21.
Chapter TWENTY-ONE, guys!


Every chapter before that is filled with nothing more than page after page of inane or whiny dialogue between Aubrey and Natalie.

"I could be every man's wet dream."


"Real recognizes real," she says with such a heavy Bronx accent in the back of her throat. "Say no more. I got you, girl."


"I really don't want to fold clothes tomorrow.""I really don't want to go to class tomorrow.""I really don't want to babysit these bratty kids all weekend."


It was extremely hard to power through the first twenty chapters, but the book does get better once she finally meets James. One small other gripe is more of a personal pet peeve of mine than anything else and has to do with a lack of congruence. The setting is present day and Aubrey has just turned 21. Yet, there are many pop culture references from the late 80's / early 90's (Macgyver, Fatal Attraction, Problem Child, "Damnn, Geeeena!", and so on and so forth) that someone her age just wouldn't make. Like I said, it's not really a big deal because it doesn't take away from the book... but it's a HUGE pet peeve of mine.

REVIEW BREAKDOWN


GENRE:   New Adult / Forbidden Love / Taboo Subject Matter
POV:         First Person

OVERALL STARS: 💜💜
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: 💜💜💜
STORY LINE: 💜💜💜
HUMOR: 💜
STEAM FACTOR: 💜💜💜💜💜
ANGST: 💜💜



PROS: well-written hot and steamy scenes
CONS: characters are incredibly shallow and immature; slow moving plot; repetitive; casual drug use

I understand that this book was written to appeal to a younger audience. However, many NA authors have managed to write stories about party girls without glamorizing drug use. I'm not talking about a little pot or mild drug use. I'm talking about the use of heavier drugs like MDMA (aka molly or ecstasy) and popping prescription pain pills everyday. The opioid problem in this country is bad enough already. The last thing we need are more books that make it seem like prescription pain pills are the answer to every problem. I was tempted to give this book a one-star rating for this reason alone.

TO SUMMARIZE:

This book will not be for everyone. It deals with a taboo subject matter that will likely turn off some readers completely. Other authors have tackled the subject a bit more delicately than Franco. It's all about how the subject matter is initially presented, and I think it was poorly executed here. I really enjoyed reading a few of the chapters with Aubrey and James, and I definitely think a younger audience might really love this book, but it just didn't do it for me.


*A big thank you goes out to the author for granting me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book. The thoughts expressed in this review are my own personal opinions and have been written in my own words.

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