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Becca Fitzpatrick grew up reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden with a flashlight under the covers. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and loves all things mysterious and suspenseful. When not writing, she’s most likely prowling sale racks for reject shoes, running, or watching crime dramas on TV. She lives in Colorado.
PATCH WAS STANDING BEHIND ME, HIS HANDS on my hips, his body relaxed. He stood two inches over six feet tall and had a lean, athletic build that even loose-fit jeans and a T-shirt couldn’t conceal. The color of his hair gave midnight a run for its money, with eyes to match. His smile was sexy and warned of trouble, but I’d made up my mind that not all trouble was bad.
Overhead, fireworks lit up the night sky, raining streams of color into the Atlantic. The crowd oohed and aahed. It was late June, and Maine was jumping into summer with both feet, celebrating the beginning of two months of sun, sand, and tourists with deep pockets. I was celebrating two months of sun, sand, and plenty of exclusive time with Patch. I’d enrolled in one summer school course—chemistry—and had every intention of letting Patch monopolize the rest of my free time.
The fire department was setting off the fireworks on a dock that couldn’t have been more than two hundred yards down the beach from where we stood, and I felt the boom of each one vibrate in the sand under my feet. Waves crashed into the beach just down the hill, and carnival music tinkled at top volume. The smell of cotton candy, popcorn, and sizzling meat hung thick in the air, and my stomach reminded me I hadn’t eaten since lunch.
“I’m going to grab a cheeseburger,” I told Patch. “Want anything?”
“Nothing on the menu.”
I smiled. “Why, Patch, are you flirting with me?”
He kissed the crown of my head. “Not yet. I’ll grab your cheeseburger. Enjoy the last of the fireworks.”
I snagged one of his belt loops to stop him. “Thanks, but I’m ordering. I can’t take the guilt.”
He raised his eyebrows in inquiry.
“When was the last time the girl at the hamburger stand let you pay for food?”
“It’s been a while.”
“It’s been never. Stay here. If she sees you, I’ll spend the rest of the night with a guilty conscience.”
Patch opened his wallet and pulled out a twenty. “Leave her a nice tip.”
It was my turn to raise my eyebrows. “Trying to redeem yourself for all those times you took free food?”
“Last time I paid, she chased me down and shoved the money in my pocket. I’m trying to avoid another groping.”
It sounded made up, but knowing Patch, it was probably true.
I hunted down the end of a long line that wrapped around the hamburger stand, finding it near the entrance to the indoor carousel. Judging by the size of the line, I estimated a fifteen-minute wait just to place my order. One hamburger stand on the entire beach. It felt un-American.
After a few minutes of restless waiting, I was taking what must have been my tenth bored look around when I spotted Marcie Millar standing two spots back. Marcie and I had gone to school together since kindergarten, and in the eleven years since, I’d seen more of her than I cared to remember. Because of her, the whole school had seen more of my underwear than necessary. In junior high, Marcie’s usual MO was stealing my bra from my gym locker and pinning it to the bulletin board outside the main offices, but occasionally she got creative and used it as a centerpiece in the cafeteria—both my A cups filled with vanilla pudding and topped with maraschino cherries. Classy, I know. Marcie’s skirts were two sizes too small and five inches too short. Her hair was strawberry blond, and she had the shape of a Popsicle stick—turn her sideways and she practically disappeared. If there was a scoreboard keeping track of wins and losses between us, I was pretty sure Marcie had double my score.
“Hey,” I said, unintentionally catching her eye and not seeing any way around a bare-minimum greeting.
“Hey,” she returned in what scraped by as a civil tone.
Seeing Marcie at Delphic Beach tonight was like playing What’s Wrong with This Picture? Marcie’s dad owned the Toyota dealership in Coldwater, her family lived in an upscale hillside neighborhood, and the Millars took pride in being the only citizens of Coldwater welcomed into the prestigious Harraseeket Yacht Club. At this very minute, Marcie’s parents were probably in Freeport, racing sailboats and ordering salmon.
By contrast, Delphic was a slum beach. The thought of a yacht club was laughable. The sole restaurant came in the form of a whitewashed hamburger stand with your choice of ketchup or mustard. On a good day, fries were offered in the mix. The entertainment slanted toward loud arcades and bumper cars, and after dark, the parking lot was known to sell more drugs than a pharmacy.
Not the kind of atmosphere Mr. and Mrs. Millar would have their daughter polluting herself in.
“Could we move any slower, people?” Marcie called up the line. “Some of us are starving to death back here.”
“There’s only one person working the counter,” I told her.
“So? They should hire more people. Supply and demand.”
Given her GPA, Marcie was the last person who should be spouting economics.
Ten minutes later, I’d made progress, and stood close enough to the hamburger stand to read the word MUSTARD scribbled in black Magic Marker on the communal yellow squirt bottle. Behind me, Marcie did the whole shifting-weight-between-hips-and-sighing thing.
“Starving with a capital S,” she complained.
The guy in line ahead of me paid and carried off his food.
“A cheeseburger and a Coke,” I told the girl working the stand.
While she stood over the grill making my order, I turned back to Marcie. “So. Who are you here with?” I didn’t particularly care who she’d come with, especially since we didn’t share any of the same friends, but my sense of courtesy got the better of me. Besides, Marcie hadn’t done anything overtly rude to me in weeks. And we’d stood in relative peace the past fifteen minutes. Maybe it was the beginning of a truce. Bygones and all that.
She yawned, as if talking to me was more boring than waiting in line and staring at the backs of people’s heads. “No offense, but I’m not in a chatty mood. I’ve been in line for what feels like five hours, waiting on an incompetent girl who obviously can’t cook two hamburgers at once.”
The girl behind the counter had her head ducked low, concentrating on peeling premade hamburger patties from the wax paper, but I knew she’d heard. She probably hated her job. She probably secretly spat on the hamburger patties when she turned her back. I wouldn’t be surprised if at the end of her shift, she went out to her car and wept.
“Doesn’t your dad mind that you’re hanging out at Delphic Beach?” I asked Marcie, narrowing my eyes ever so slightly. “Might tarnish the estimable Millar family reputation. Especially now that your dad’s been accepted into the Harraseeket Yacht Club.”
Marcie’s expression cooled. “I’m surprised your dad doesn’t mind you’re here. Oh, wait. That’s right. He’s dead.”
My initial reaction was shock. My second was indignation at her cruelty. A knot of anger swelled in my throat.
“What?” she argued with a one-shoulder shrug. “He’s dead. It’s a fact. Do you want me to lie about the facts?”
“What did I ever do to you?”
“You were born.”
Her complete lack of sensitivity yanked me inside out—so much so that I didn’t even have a comeback. I snatched my cheeseburger and Coke off the counter, leaving the twenty in its place. I wanted badly to hurry back to Patch, but this was between me and Marcie. If I showed up now, one look at my face would tell Patch something was wrong. I didn’t need to drag him into the middle. Taking a moment alone to collect myself, I found a bench within sight of the hamburger stand and sat down as gracefully as I could, not wanting to give Marcie the power to ruin my night. The only thing that could make this moment worse was knowing she was watching, satisfied she’d stuffed me into a little black hole of self-pity. I took a bite of cheeseburger, but it left a bad taste in my mouth. All I could think of was dead meat. Dead cows. My own dead father.
I threw the cheeseburger into the trash and kept walking, feeling tears slip down the back of my throat.
Hugging my arms tightly at the elbows, I hurried toward the shack of bathrooms at the edge of the parking lot, hoping to make it behind a stall door before the tears started falling. There was a steady line trickling out of the women’s room, but I edged my way through the doorway and positioned myself in front of one of the grime-coated mirrors. Even under the low-watt bulb, I could tell my eyes were red and glassy. I wet a paper towel and pressed it to my eyes. What was Marcie’s problem? What had I ever done to her that was cruel enough to deserve this?
Drawing a few stabilizing breaths, I squared my shoulders and constructed a brick wall in my mind, placing Marcie on the far side of it. What did I care what she said? I didn’t even like her. Her opinion meant nothing. She was rude and self-centered and attacked below the belt. She didn’t know me, and she definitely didn’t know my dad. Crying over a single word that fell from her mouth ...
--This text refers to the
Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush saga, including Hush, Hush; Crescendo; Silence; and Finale, all debuted as New York Times best-sellers. She graduated college with a degree in health, which she promptly abandoned for storytelling. When not writing, she's most likely prowling sale racks for reject shoes, running, or traveling.
Her fifth novel, Black Ice, releases October 7, 2014. Learn more at countdowntoblackice.com
As a rule I'm afraid sequels. Especially YA sequels. The spark of first attraction has usually burned out, the blush of first love has usually dimmed, and the mystery has usually been solved. I say usually because there are always exceptions to that rule and CRESCENDO is a big one. In fact, in many ways it's even better than Hush, Hush.
The writing is actually quite a bit better, with better pacing, better use of flashback memories, and better dialogue. The mythology of Nephilim is explored more fully, and Nora's own history and the mystery of her Dad's death are revealed in shocking, game changing detail. But the real pull in CRESCENDO is once again the alluring and poignant love story between good girl Nora and the ultimate bad boy Patch.
Patch, the fallen-turned guardian-angel, is every inch the bad boy we loved from Hush, Hush but with one important distinction. We know his motives now. He can be the same thoughtless, jealous, jerk he always was, but everything he does from spending time with Nora's arch-enemy Marcie Millar, to his increasingly cryptic and bizarre behavior, isn't as suspect as it once was. He chose Nora before, giving up his chance for humanity, his chance to experience touch, all of it, for Nora. I don't doubt him anymore. Nora, of course isn't as trusting. She sees Patch with Marcie and sees red.
And if you thought one bad boy wasn't enough, wait till you meet Scott. A childhood friend of Nora's (and by friend I mean he used to make her eat bugs) who moves back to town with his vintage mustang, brutal good looks, and a dangerous past. Scott, or as Vee calls him, Scotty the hottie, is trouble in a way Patch never was which means, in Nora's mind, he's the perfect guy to make Patch jealous.Read more ›
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After reading Hush, Hush I wasn't too excited to get started on this novel. A recent discussion in our house about sequels had me jumping in quicker than I expected. We were pondering if there has ever been a sequel in movie format that was better than the first one. While we didn't come up with any movies that we thought made the cut, I was reminded of a few books in which I liked some of the later books better than the first ones. (Southern Vampire Mystery Series, His Dark Materials, House of Night...to name a few.) Crescendo plays into that list as well.
I still feel the same way as I did before about Patch, there is just not enough there to like about him. He would never stand a chance as my boyfriend, no matter why he wants to say he's doing the things he's doing. His good qualities just aren't enough to justify his bad ones. And again, the first half of the book left me feeling like nothing was happening, it was just watching a crappy relationship get crappier.
However, I liked this book better than the first one because I actually didn't foresee what was happening until right before it was revealed and that was a nice treat. I liked the addition of a not-so-lovable, but entirely complex character who felt very well fleshed out and his reasons for being not so great were entirely justified. Nora seemed to get more of a grasp on herself and not be as helpless as she once was, though she is still too reliant on her friend Vee, but I love Vee, so I didn't mind that at all, that means she gets to be in more of the story.
The ending was once again left open so that there could be a follow-up and due to the final circumstances of this book, I do want to know how it is all going to tie together and how the characters are going to come out at the end. Those that loved Hush, Hush are sure to love this one as well as all the characters left standing at the end of book 1 are back and some have bigger parts to play in this one.
Currently, I'm trying to decide why fallen angels would build an amusement park. Is it...an evil amusement park? Although, asking such a question would then bring up what fallen angels do in their spare time, which appears to be nothing much. The answer is then why not build an amusement park? I mean, they ain't doing much else.
So here's the thing. I kind of didn't loathe Hush, Hush like I'd expected. Besides Nora's impossibly shallow personality (and no, shallowness isn't excused when the main character admits as much) and a shocking lack of sense, I found it amusing enough to take another plunge into this series. What I found was a ramshackle plot (expected, given I wasn't quite sure what was happening in Hush, Hush either) and an amazingly stupid mystery.
You know who's after Nora after you've read the prologue. If by some chance you missed the big flashing neon lights with fireworks illuminating that plane that is writing the secret antagonist's name in the freaking sky, you get another fairly obvious kick in the shins about halfway through. And then again three quarters of the way through, which happens to be when NORA should have put two and two together. However, because she's too wracked with relationship issues and busy being short-sighted and gullible, the reader is left beating the book over their own forehead while Nora is asking multitudes of questions that take huge info dumps to answer when we more or less already knew who is secretly who. For Nora this is like rocket science. Motives are a little more tricky. As far as I can tell, the supernatural elements in this series don't have a reason for anything they do at all. They just are and do and that's pretty much it.