August 14, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Hush, Hush by Lucia Franco

Hush, Hush by Lucia Franco 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."

Reese Witherspoon Cringe Gif

Naturally, this type of lifestyle lends itself to risky behavior -- and lots 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.

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.


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. I love Gossip Girl!

Gossip Girl Blair Waldorf Gif

I realized this story would be NOTHING like Gossip Girl fairly quickly, but I still really wanted to like this book. I hate writing negative reviews for ARCs (especially when I reach out to the publisher and personally request it), which is why I never gave up on Hush, Hush (even though I wanted to about a million times).

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

We're Waiting Gif

Every chapter prior to Chapter 21 is filled with 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 these chapters, but the story gets somewhat better after she meets James.

Another small gripe I have is more of a personal pet peeve than anything else. The story is set in present day. Aubrey turns 21 at the beginning of the book (meaning, she would have been born in 1998), yet she constantly makes references to late 80's/early 90's pop culture.

Macguyver -- final episode aired in 1992
Fatal Attraction -- released in theaters in 1987
Problem Child -- released in theaters in 1991
"Damn, Geena!" -- from the TV show Martin, which aired its final episode in 1997 

And, so on and so forth.

These are simply not references someone her age would make, as they were released anywhere from six to eleven years before she entered the world. I might believe that she's familiar with Fatal Attraction because of the boiling bunny scene, but that's about it. The rest are simply too obscure.

It's not a big deal because it doesn't take anything away from the book; it's just a personal pet peeve.


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


PRO: well-written, hot and steamy scenes
CONS: shallow and immature characters, a slow moving plot, repetitive, and casual drug use

I understand this book was written for a younger audience. With that said, there are many authors who have managed to write stories about party girls without glamorizing drug use. And, I'm not talking about a little pot or minor drug use. I'm talking about heavier drugs like MDMA (also known as molly or ecstasy) and prescription pain pills. The opioid problem in this country is bad enough already. Characters that pop prescription pain pills as if it's the answer to our every problem (and without consequence) is the very last thing we need.

Why? GIf

I was tempted to give this book one star for this reason alone.


This book will not be for everyone (and certainly not for me). The story is centered around a taboo that will likely turn off some readers. Worst of all, the blurb doesn't mention the taboo subject matter or offer a trigger warning to potential readers. Other authors have tackled the same subject a bit more delicately than Franco. It's all about how the subject matter is initially presented, and it was poorly executed in this story.

I enjoyed a few of the chapters about Aubrey and James. A younger audience might really love this book, but it didn't do anything 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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