Published Date: August 3rd, 2010
Finished Date: August 19th, 2011
Series: Talent Chronicles book 1
Blurb from Goodreads: Be normal, invisible. Don’t get close to anyone. Kids with psychic abilities tend to mysteriously disappear when they get noticed. Joss has spent years trying to hide. Now she has an unasked-for best friend, who is the victim of an extortion plot by the school bully, who used to like Joss, who is best friends with her long-time crush, who is actually talking to her. Life just got more complicated.
They call their abilities Talents, and that’s what they call themselves as well. Talents are people born with supernatural powers, feared by the population at large. Possession of an “unregistered ability” has become illegal, and those who are discovered are forcibly removed to government-run research facilities. For Talents, keeping their secret is the most important thing in their lives. For some, that need for secrecy begins to define who they are.
That’s how it is for Joss, a high school girl who does everything in her power to go unnoticed. She's incredibly bright, but strives to maintain grades that are good yet not too good. She doesn't participate in school activities, keeps quiet in class, eats by herself. Despite her longtime crush on Dylan, she wouldn't even think about trying to talk to him. Joss doesn't make friends of any kind, because friends can draw attention, friends can make you slip up, friends can make things complicated.
When new girl, Kat, steps in to rescue Joss from an uncomfortable situation with Marco, the class jerk, she doesn’t realize what she’s getting into, and it blows up in her face. Joss finds herself torn between a desire to do the right thing, to find some way to help a girl who was kind to her; and her need to mind her own business and fade into. For the first time, Joss begins to question the way she operates, and starts to long for connections with other people--especially a connection with Dylan, who's finally starting to talk to her.
But what's up with Dylan's sudden interest? As Marco’s best friend, can he be trusted at all?
It's bad enough when a girl's got to worry about friends, boys, over-protective dads, and shoes that pinch, but when you throw in blackmail, government agents with guns, and really annoying little sisters...that's just about too much to handle, even for a girl with an ass-kicking superpower.
My Review: When i first laid eyes on this book, i was intrigued by the uncommon title and the pretty cover. Then as i read the synopsis, i was very much reminded of GRACELING(a crazy good book), and so it naturally piqued my interest.
So what's Hush Money about, you ask? Well, after reading the book, i get the 'Hush' part, but not the 'Money' part. I shall give you a brief overview and you tell me what the money is about. Cause seriously, i've been thinking about it for the past 24 hours now, and i keep coming up blank.
Jocelynn "Joss" Marshall has a talent. A very cool talent. But she has to constantly hide it and keep a low profile lest she be whisked away and kept in this school-prison sort of place by the National Institute for Ability Control(NIAC). So this is the 'Hush part.
The town that Joss lives in has a big population of Talents, so they all have to be more cautious than most other Talents in other states. And so, it all spirals out of control when a new Talent girl finds her way into Fairview and into Joss' life and another Talent boy being stupid enough to reveal his Talent in front of some officers.
That's not all that's going wrong in Joss' up-till-now quiet, low-profile life - her crush's best friend, Marco(also main antagonist) knows about her sister's Talent and is using it as a bargaining chip to blackmail her! Actually her and that new Talent girl who became Joss' best friend. He wants them to give him 500 bucks each for his silence. Hey..maybe that's how the 'Money' part came about? Weird..cause that's not a big part of the plot. But oh well, who cares how ridiculous the title is nowadays so long as it has patrons right?
Anyway, so after this entire fiasco whereby many of the students revealed their Talents in front of officers/officials, and after Marco threatens not only Joss, Joss' sister, Joss' best friend, Joss' boyfriend, and yeah everyone, Joss thinks it's time to take some much-needed action.
Yep, that's the gist of it.
First things first, Bischoff's writing style resembles that of Lilith Saintcrow's. Which to me, is a bad thing. Because the inner-commentating was bordering on over-excessive. It annoys me a lot, and it slows down the plot by a gazillion times. I know that books which can clearly illustrate what's going on in the protagonist's head is a good one, but over-excessive is just a pain in the ass. It's like:
That's one of the reason why i gave it a mediocre 3 stars.
The first thing that came to my head when i started reading this book was: If the government and people found the kids with Talents so repulsive and such freaks, why name it 'Talent' at all? Why not..I dont know..Mutation? Abomination? um..You get the idea. I mean, talent is something which you have which is good and unique, something that everyone else dont have. So yeah.. Why 'Talent'?
The plot was set at an ok-pace..Not too fast, not too slow, nothing amazing, but not boring. Y'know? More average. But there were parts that were funny..Not that i can think of any now, but i remembered myself smiling sometimes.
This book is written in the selecive third person view, tho i think double first person would be more suitable. Both Joss and Dylan(her crush) were written in the "I" POV. It alternates between them quite frequently, and sometimes i thought it rather confusing. Sometime, i even had to refer back a few pages to see if im in the head of who's head i thought i was in. Also, being able to see into both of our protagonists' head kind of takes the excitement and suspense down a notch. I mean, since you know what's happening at both ends of the spectrum, then the surprise at the end will also be gone. If you dont know what the other is or was doing, and you dont know about his past and his thoughts, then when all is revealed at the end, the shock factor is still there. AAAND, Dylan would be more of the mysterious, quiet love interest, which would of course earn him more brownie points. At least from me.:D
Joss was a quiet, talented(or should it be Talented?lol) heroine who thinks a lot, and observes a lot. Add to that, she knows how to kick butts, which totally pushes her up to my Favourite-Heriones-Of-All-Time list. She's cool, and wears combat boots all the time! Not that it's ver practical in these times, but still. It's all up to the imagination to wander, oui?
Dylan wasnt the best male hero I've ever come across in YA novels. He is protective of Joss, but their relationship wasnt developed much in the first place. Both of them already had a crush initially so i didnt get to see the development in their feelings, so it was kind of weird when Dylan suddenly keeps watching for her and standing in front of her to protect her from stuff. To boot, his Talent is inferior to Joss(to me, it's inferior. Hey, but it's subjective so dont go shooting me down with "oh no it's not"s). Sooo...It didnt really endear him to me.
When i thought back about this book(which i only put down yesterday), the word that automatically came to my head was, ordinary. I dont know why, but maybe it's because my expectations of it were to high to start off with, what with having GRACElING as its benchmark and all. But still, i have to say i was rather disappointed. It had so much plot potential..
This book was ok i guess. Not amazing, altogether not that bad either. Arh, it's so hard to describe this book. I wouldnt recommend this book to anyone, but i would continue reading its sequel HEROES 'TIL CURFEW. See! Such conflicting emotions. But i do think the second book would be better so, cross my fingers!