Review: Hushed

Hushed by Kelley York will be released in the U.S. on December 6, 2011 in paperback and eBook formats.

It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and in paperback format at Barnes & Noble.

Published by Entangled Publishing, the print edition is 242 pages.

Goodreads description:

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.


Archer Pond is a killer.

He is seeking vengeance for the brutal crime that took his best friend Vivian from him years ago and turned her into someone he doesn’t even know. Someone he isn’t even sure he likes.

He’s made a list. He’s studied his victims. And one by one he plans on making each of them pay for what they’ve done.

Archer Pond is a monster… but he doesn’t want to be.

He wants to be free. Free from the guilt he feels over what happened to Vivian. Free from Vivian, who keeps pulling him back into the drama her life has become and whose very existence is suffocating him.

But the only way he truly believes he can be free is if no one on his list remains alive.

That is until he meets Evan.

Evan makes him want to be better. Evan makes him feel like he’s not alone. Evan makes him believe that there is more. And Evan makes him feel human.

With Evan he doesn’t need revenge to make him feel free. And when he’s with Evan he doesn’t need Vivian.

And Vivian is not happy….


Hushed is a raw, powerful, deliciously dark, edgy and gritty story. It is a story that combines lightness and beauty with ugliness and violence. And it is one that is filled with sadness, desperation and hope for redemption.

From the opening pages it holds absolutely nothing back. Bringing the reader into this chilling and violent story with a main character who at first glance seems nothing more than a cold-blooded and calculating killer. Someone seeking vengeance, but with little remorse for his actions.

Archer Pond is way more than a flawed character. He’s dark, he’s disturbed, but he is not without hope. He may not fully grasp the wrongness of his actions, but when he meets Evan Bishop he begins to see things differently and is able to recognize that there is more to life than just the cold, empty world he’s created for himself, and an existence that revolves entirely around Vivian Hilton.

Author Kelley York takes readers on a journey to the darkest of places with her character, Archer, as he works his way through his list of those he feels are deserving of his vengeance, tries to find salvation for his friend Vivian and hopes to find freedom for himself.

Hushed is not a light story or one that ends happily. Archer’s actions are shocking and chilling and not easily forgivable. He is not instantly likable, nor could he be called lovable, but he is a sympathetic character whose actions, while not excusable, are understandable and are not done out of evil but out of a misguided sense of righting a few wrongs.

As the story progresses, the author begins to fill in the missing pieces from Archer and Vivian’s past, allowing readers to see the complete picture only after they’ve already formed their opinions. And forcing them to adjust their perceptions with each new revelation.

This is a story that is as haunting and sorrowful as it is horrifying and brutal. And it is one that will stick with readers well beyond the final page.

Hushed is a story for an older young adult audience and one for readers who aren’t sensitive to, or uncomfortable with, a fair amount of violence. While the violence is prevalent, it isn’t excessive to the story and it is incredibly important for the characters’ development.

Reviewer gives this book…

On a personal note:

Wow, what an expected an amazing surprise this book was for me. I knew this would be a dark book. I glanced at the description and took one look at the cover and it was pretty obvious that this would be dark.

What I didn’t realize is just how powerful it would be for me or how connected I would become to the story. And I never imagined just how long it would affect me after I was finished. How completely hollowed out and empty I’ve been feeling for the past few days.

I was completely knocked over by the opening pages. The author did not ease me into her story, she shoved me in. Hard. Talk about not pulling any punches at the start. What a way to open a book. It was incredibly bold. It’s one of those openings that will either draw people in or instantly repel them. And it doesn’t let up.

Of course I’m the perfect audience for this book. I like things dark. I like a no-holds-barred approach. I like shocking and disturbing openings that tell you exactly what to expect from the get-go.

I did not like Archer at the beginning. There wasn’t much that was likable about him initially. He was cold. He was calculating. He seemed very OCD. And he was so intensely focused on what he set his mind on doing – killing those who had hurt his friend.

But he was so incredibly sympathetic. And so completely messed up. He had no real sense of right and wrong. I felt for him, even if somewhere I felt that it wasn’t just the hardships in his life that made him the way he was.

And I did find myself rooting for Archer. Hoping there would be some redemption for him. Hoping things would end up okay, even when I also hoped they wouldn’t.

But I loved Evan. And I feared for him. Every moment I spent terrified that just being part of these two characters lives would dull his brightness, extinguish his light. He was goodness where they were darkness. He was the only bright spot in this dark story. Without him I’m a little afraid at what the outcome might have been.

He was warm and beautiful and affectionate and his presence added a bit of a love story to this tragic tale.

And then there was Vivian. Who was awesome and awful. And totally manipulative and immensely cruel and incredibly selfish. I hated her, but I loved to hate her. And I was afraid of what she’d do. But even with everything she did, I still pitied her.

I loved that Archer and Vivian were total opposites in many ways and so much the same in others. He was quiet and calm and detailed and organized and she was fiery and frantic and chaotic. But they were both starved for affection. And they were both incredibly broken.

I was captivated by this story from the moment I started reading it. It was the harshness and the cold realities of their situations that kept me reading page after page. But it was Evan who brought the sunshine and the hope that made this a read that wasn’t so emotionally tough.

I absolutely loved this book. I’m glad that it was brought to my attention and I will definitely be buying the finished eBook when it is released. Hushed was a story that hit me hard when I read it and even harder after I was done. It was such a perfect read for me and I can’t wait to see what other dark stories the author writes as I will definitely be checking them out.


I had so many favorite passages, some incredibly dark. But just to show that this story is more than darkness, here’s the shorter of two passages I loved that were so hard to choose between:

He shook his head, smiling, “I think I need to do less of needing people, honestly.” As he turned to unlock the door, Evan grabbed his arm and pulled him back around. Barely a breath separated their mouths.

“Want me, then,” Evan murmured against his lips. “If you don’t need me, at least want me.”

To read an excerpt of Hushed on the publisher’s website, CLICK HERE.

This review is based on an eARC I received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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