Hushed by Kelley York
A new adult novel from Entangled's Embrace imprint...
He's loved her. Killed for her. Yet he may not be able to save her.
Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn't protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids. Since then, he's never stopped trying to shelter her from everything else. It doesn't matter that Vivian only uses him when skipping from one toxic relationship to another. Archer is always there, reeled in and tossed out, waiting to be noticed.
Then Evan Bishop breezes into town with a warm smile and calming touch, and Archer can't deny his attraction to him. Evan is the only person who keeps him around without a single string attached. And the harder Archer falls for Evan, the more he sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is.
But Viv has her hooks in deep, and once she finds out Archer's dark secret, she threatens to expose the truth if she doesn't get what she wants. And what she wants is for him to end his relationship with Evan...permanently.
About the Author
Once upon a time, Kelley York was born in central California. And it's there she still resides with her lovely wife, step-daughter, and an abundance of cats, while fantasizing about moving to England or Ireland. She has a fascination with bells and animals, is a lover of video games, Doctor Who, manga and anime, and likes to pretend she's a decent photographer. Her life goal is to find a real unicorn. Or at least write about them.
Kelley is a sucker for dark fiction. She loves writing twisted characters, tragic happenings, and bittersweet endings that leave you wondering and crying. Character development takes center stage in her books because the bounds of a person's character and the workings of their mind are limitless.
Read an Excerpt
By Kelley York, Liz Pelletier
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2013 Kelley York
All rights reserved.
Sunday, August 31
"I feel that suicide notes lose their zing when they drag on too long." Archer emphasized the statement with a tap of his foot. "Don't you think so? Whatever happened to 'good-bye, cruel world'?"
By that point, Brody Hilton had filled four pages from top to bottom in shaky scrawl. He lingered on the last page, hand trembling. Next to him stood an open bottle of vodka and an armada of pill bottles lined up in a neat little row.
Not for the first time in the last hour, Brody swiveled around in his chair to stare up at Archer, pleading. His bloodshot eyes ruined the effect. "Archer ... Don't make me do this, man. You don't understand. I don't —"
"You don't want to die." Archer stepped around him, hiked a hip onto the edge of the table, and waved his gun. Brody's eyes followed the weapon. "That goes without saying. But honestly? I don't care. You've spent the last twenty-five years screwing over everyone who has ever cared about you. Karma is a cruel mistress."
"I'll change." A drop of sweat slid down his brow, over the line of his blocky jaw, and onto the paper. Archer wrinkled his nose.
"Tell that to your sister. 'Sorry your life sucks because of me, Vivian, but I promise I'll be a good boy now.'" Yelling would've made him feel better. No words were enough to beat into Brody's head the impact of his decisions. "Now, sign your letter."
Brody sobbed like no grown man should, but he did as he was told. It didn't matter that Brody outweighed him by a good forty pounds. While Archer was no pushover, Brody was built like a bull and could have plowed him over if he tried.
Brody was simply too high to realize it.
When he finished, Archer skimmed the letter, which could be summed up: I'm sorry, it's all my fault, everything was true. Yes, yes it was. Too bad it took the threat of impending death for Brody to realize it.
"Good enough. Now, let's see what we have here." He tossed the papers onto the table. Brody watched him blearily from behind the great wall of medication separating them. Archer plucked one of the bottles up with a gloved hand.
"We've got your standard-issue Klonopin, Valium, Norco, Stilnox ... You could open your own pharmacy with all this." Meds that weren't even prescribed to Brody. Stuff he'd stolen from friends, from family. What he didn't take for himself, he sold. Archer's jaw tensed. He slammed the bottle onto the table before Brody, pills rattling. "A word of advice: the more you take, the faster it will be over."
Beneath the weight of his stare, Brody, slow and mechanical, began removing lids.
The problem with pills? They took forever. Whoever said overdosing was a quick or painless way to go had never watched somebody try it. It was getting late, and Archer had classes in the morning, but he waited.
Brody chased most of the medicine cabinet down with liquor before staggering to his room, muttering the entire way, "Archie, Archie, please ..."
God, he hated that name.
Whether he wanted to or not, Archer forced himself to watch Brody crawl into bed. Watched him slip in and out of consciousness. Watched him toss and turn. What did Brody in before the actual effects of the drugs in his system was the way he vomited and proceeded to choke on it, and Archer forced himself to watch that, too.
He was taking a life. The least he could do was suffer through witnessing it.
Soon Brody was gone, and Archer tried not to feel nauseous.
The apartment was silent. Not the sort of silence when one was home alone, but the smothering silence that followed death. An all-encompassing, heavy feeling. Human instincts, maybe. The little warning bells in the back of his head quietly whispering run away because death meant danger.
But Archer didn't leave. Not until he checked for — and didn't find — a pulse. He could take his time sneaking out of the apartment building. It would be days or weeks before the neighbors complained about the smell and kicked in the door. No one would even mourn his passing. Maybe some would say they saw it coming. Just another suicide. How tragic.
Brody made three down ... and three to go.CHAPTER 2
Sunday, September 7th
Vivian called in the dead of night to say, "Archer, Brody's dead."
Yeah, he knew. He also knew she would call him the second she found out.
She hiccupped and whimpered. It took a few tries before she managed, "Can you come over?"
Stupid question. Of course he would.
Thirty minutes later he arrived at Vivian's place with two coffees in hand, half asleep. Viv answered the door with her hair a mess, eyes red and puffy. Some girls could look gorgeous when they cried. Vivian was one of them.
Archer slipped inside and set the coffee on a small end table in the living room. "Where's Mickey?"
Vivian bit at her lip, sinking onto the leather couch. Her silence was enough. Mickey, such a loving and concerned boyfriend, was nowhere to be found. That was why she called Archer. He wasn't the prick who always let her down.
"He's working late." She sniffed, staring down at her toes as she wiggled them against the carpet.
Right. Like Mickey could hold a job.
Mickey was a jackass. An unattractive one, at that, unless you liked the pothead look. When people saw him and Vivian walking down the street, they stared only because they were wondering what the hell a gorgeous girl like her was doing with a waste of space like Mick.
She could have done better. Much better. Why not him? The one guy who would never ditch her, never hurt her. God knew he'd waited around long enough for her to notice him. He'd been tempted to add Mickey to his list months ago, but there was a line Mick hadn't crossed to push Archer that far. He was an ass, but he hadn't physically hurt her. Yet.
Archer opened his mouth, thought better of saying anything that might result in an argument, and sat beside her instead. Now wasn't the time. "Going to tell me what happened?" Not that she had to. It was hard to forget holding a gun to a guy's head while forcing him to off himself.
Vivian tore at a tissue between her fingers, eyes welling with a fresh onslaught of tears. "I went over to his place this morning. His car was there, but he didn't answer. I got his landlord to unlock the door ... "
His stomach somersaulted into knots. No, no, no, no! That wasn't how it was supposed to go. The cops were supposed to find Brody. Hell, even a neighbor. Not Vivian. Not after everything she'd been through.
He scooted up to her side, slipping his arms around her. She twisted and wound her thin arms around his neck and buried her face against his chest. A familiar position. How many times since grade school had Vivian cried all over him?
Like he always did, he pet her hair and let her cry until the sobs died down to sniffles and whimpers. All the while keeping his eyes locked on the opposite wall at an old family portrait: Vivian, Brody, their parents. Before her dad bailed and her mom, Marissa, got sick. Before Brody started popping pills like candy while letting his buddies feel up his little sister.
The thought made his jaw clench.
"You haven't seen him in months. What made you go over there?"
Viv sniffed. "He snuck a couple hundred bucks out of Mom's account again. She's too sick to deal with him, and I've just ... had it, you know?" Her body shuddered. "He killed himself. Left this long letter about how sorry he was that he lied to everyone, about stealing from Mom ... Everything was in there. I didn't think he cared about any of that."
"I'm sorry, Viv."
Just like that, she was gone. Gliding away from him like a ghost, she stopped across the room near the bay windows. After a million years of silence ... "Can I tell you a secret?"
She took a deep breath, wiped at her eyes. "The entire way to Brody's place ... I kept wishing he were dead. Hoping he, like, got drunk and drove off a bridge."
Archer wished she would turn around so he could see her face. Her eyes told a lot that her body language didn't. Her guilt, her shame, her happiness.
"It's not your fault, if that's what you're thinking."
"I know it isn't."
She sounded sure of that. Good. Part of the reason he'd put off killing her brother for so long was because he worried how Vivian and her mother would take it. The purpose was to help Viv, not screw her up further. "Then why is it a secret?"
Vivian turned. "Because that's not the bad part. The bad part," she said, and her voice dropped as she leaned against the window and stared at her feet, "is that I don't regret it. I'm glad. He'll never make Mom cry again. He won't use or hurt anyone else. He's dead, and I'm happy. Isn't there something wrong with that? Doesn't that make me the worst person on the planet?"
She was beautiful. Oh, she'd always been beautiful, from the first time he laid eyes on her on the playground. But never more so than that exact moment. With those words. With the moonlight wrapped around her body in gentle blue-white caresses that made her hair shine. She should have exuded self-confidence, but Brody and his friends had ruined that for her. The depth of the scars they left behind had never been more obvious. Her brother was dead, and all she could express was relief. That was what he'd hoped for as he watched Brody die.
Archer was a step closer to freeing her.
He allowed a crooked smile and got up. "No, Vivian. There's nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with that at all."CHAPTER 3
Wednesday, September 10
Archer could've had his pick of other colleges in other cities. But he liked it here, where he felt a little distanced from the outside world. Here, in Candle Bay, California, he knew people. Here, even if he couldn't be comfortable, he could manage.
Besides, who would've taken care of Vivian if he left? She did a poor job of it herself. Which was why Archer was stuck in the cold. Wednesdays were his and Vivian's lunch-date days. If she came out and he wasn't waiting, he'd hear about it later.
The last of the students filed from the classroom, but no Vivian.
So she'd missed class. Again.
When they started college and Vivian told him she wanted to major in some kind of nursing program, Archer made bets with himself on how long she would stick with it. Not because she would get bored but because, undoubtedly, Mickey would screw it up. If not him, then some other guy. Viv was infamous for letting her boyfriends ruin every good thing she had going for her.
Mick didn't like sharing her attention with anything, even school. Archer was willing to bet he even bitched about her going to Brody's memorial service. Not that he bothered going with her for support or anything. He likely wouldn't attend the actual burial, either, once the coroner had finished with Brody's body.
Archer waited a few more minutes, just to be sure Viv wouldn't show, before hiking his backpack up to his shoulder and slinking across campus. As much as he would seethe the entire way home about being ditched — again — he'd be over it before he talked to Viv next. Staying angry at Vivian? Never one of his strong points.
Walking past brick buildings and barren trees, Archer was almost free from the crowds of people moving from one class to the next, coming and going like the tide, when someone dashed by and, in his hurry, slammed his shoulder into Archer with enough force that Archer stumbled, backpack hitting the ground. And someone — not the jerk who hit him and quickly vanished into the crowd — caught his arm to keep him from toppling over.
He hated being grabbed. But he hated falling on his ass in front of a group of people even more. Fair trade.
"Whoa, are you okay?"
Rescuer-boy was taller than Archer by a few inches, so he had to look up to see his face, his dark eyes, and mousy brown hair. Every inch trim and lean where Archer was slim and willowy. The guy took one look at Archer's tight-lipped expression and let him go, pocketing his hands.
Archer scooped his bag off the ground. "I'm fine. People never watch where they're going."
The guy quirked a smile. There was something about the soft shape of his mouth Archer liked, something that made him stare a moment longer than necessary. "You say that like you're used to being bowled over."
"I guess." He shrugged. Not much different from high school. Anyone who said people became kinder and more tolerant when you stepped into college was full of it. People didn't mature; they found sneakier, more manipulative ways to be assholes. "Anyway, thanks. See you around."
"Hey, uh — What's your name?"
What? No. That should have been it. Archer didn't do small talk, especially with strangers. But he was raised with manners so he stopped, turned, looked at him. Patience. Another thing he wasn't great at.
"Archer. I'm guessing you're new." Not because everyone knew him, but because it was a small campus occupied mostly by people he remembered from high school, and this guy's face wasn't familiar. He was also dressed in a T-shirt and khaki shorts, obviously not prepared for the cold weather.
"I'm Evan." He offered a hand. After staring at it for a second, Archer reluctantly took it. Evan's fingers were warm, making up for Archer's freezing ones. "I came in a bit late, yeah. Everything was pretty full up so my class selection sucked."
"I'll bet." If Evan were better at reading people, maybe he would've picked up on the don't-talk-to-me vibe Vivian insisted he gave off. But no. He kept talking.
"In fact, I'm trying to find the administration office." Evan's grin turned sheepish. "I have some scheduling stuff to figure out. Think you could show me where it's at?"
Archer could've pointed him in the right direction, but it was on the opposite side of campus and in a nondescript little building that took him forty-five minutes to find his first trip there. Again with the manners. Archer exhaled and gestured for Evan to follow.
Evan kept at his side. Funny, with Evan as a shadow, people actually got out of Archer's way. Probably because this guy was bigger. Or maybe it was the way Evan held his head up when he walked, shoulders squared, while Archer tended to shrink in on himself, willing himself invisible. Untouchable.
Archer stole a glance at him. "How are you not freezing?"
"Oh. Used to the cold, I guess. Grew up with it."
"So have I, and I'm freezing."
Evan came to a halt, catching Archer's elbow in a large, warm hand. "Are you? Here —"
Before Archer could protest, they'd made a detour to one of the two coffee stands on campus. That time of day, there was never a line.
"Order something," Evan said. "My treat."
I can pay for my own drinks, thanks. Except his wallet was in the car. Not much help. "No, I don't —"
"Come on. As a thanks for showing me around."
The girl behind the counter stared at him expectantly, and he really didn't want to argue and draw more attention. He let Evan order him a coffee, and Evan got a hot chocolate for himself. Admittedly, the warm cup did feel good when he wrapped his fingers around it, and he muttered a quiet "Thanks" when they were on their way again.
"Like I said, it's a thank you." Evan sounded pleased with himself. How annoying.
They rounded the back of the campus, and the admin building came into view. Evan lingered by the door, offering him a smile as warm as his coffee.
"Thanks again. I get all turned around in new places."
A woman in office-casual and a tight braid moved past them. "Good to see you again, Mr. Bishop. I have those papers for you," she said to Evan and slipped inside.
Archer stared at him. Evan stared back.
"Never been here before, huh?" Archer asked.
Evan's face reddened all the way to the tips of his ears. "I saw her at — you know ... orientation. She must remember me."
He didn't know whether to be annoyed that he'd been lied to, confused as to why, or amused by the look on Evan's face. But whatever. Archer had delivered him to his destination, and his drink would only keep him warm for so long.
Evan stared down into his cup. "So I guess I'll see you around."
Smiling thinly, Archer shook his head and turned to leave without a word. But there was something about the humiliated look in Evan's eyes that made him toss a wave over his shoulder and, as he rounded the corner, "It was nice meeting you, Evan."CHAPTER 4
Sunday, September 21
Richter Samuels would die more peacefully than Brody. Just carbon monoxide poisoning — too bad, so sad. Whenever someone found the source of the leak, they might wonder at it — except Richter's house was one big hazard. Wires exposed, mail and newspapers piled high on the counters, mouse crap on the floor ... and a convenient little gas stove. Archer was in and out as quickly as he could be; the smell alone made him dizzy.
Afterward, he hid in the yard behind the mobile home, wearing a turtleneck with the collar pulled up over his nose and mouth, the hood of his jacket fitted around his head. Keeping his face hidden, he crept to the window now and again to peek inside.
It took several hours, but his patience paid off and eventually Richter lay on his kitchen floor, unconscious. Another useless existence removed from society.
Excerpted from Hushed by Kelley York, Liz Pelletier. Copyright © 2013 Kelley York. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsSunday, August 31st,
Sunday, September 7th,
Wednesday, September 10th,
Sunday, September 21st,
Monday, September 22nd,
Wednesday, September 24th,
Thursday, September 25th,
Friday, September 26th,
Tuesday, September 30th,
Wednesday, October 1st,
Thursday, October 2nd,
Friday, October 3rd,
Monday, October 6th,
Wednesday, October 8th,
Friday, October 10th,
Saturday, October 11th,
Sunday, October 12th,
Monday, October 13th,
Tuesday, October 14th,
Saturday, October 18th,
Sunday, October 19th,
Tuesday, October 21st,
Wednesday, October 22nd,
Friday, October 24th,
Sunday, October 26th,
Tuesday, October 28th,
Thursday, October 30th,
Thursday, October 30th,
Friday, October 31st,
Saturday, November 1st,
Sunday, November 2nd,
Monday, November 3rd,
Friday, November 14th,
Saturday, November 15th,
Tuesday, November 18th,
Wednesday, November 19th,
Saturday, November 22nd,
Monday, November 24th,
Tuesday, November 25th,
Saturday, December 6th,
Friday, April 22nd,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I lived this book. The characters are all well-developed and the story compelling. A great thriller with a killer ending.
First of all, thank you to Netgalley and to Entangled Publishing for the chance to read this book for review! Ok, wow. Just, wow. I JUST finished reading this, and I am speechless! I was absolutely captivated by this book. Archer is a college student who really doesn't have any friends, except for Vivian, who has been in his life since they were children. At the age of 12, with Archer held down and forced to watch, Vivian is raped by a group of her brother's friends, while her brother watches and laughs. This has left her emotionally broken. Archer has made a vow to himself to always be there for Vivian, to protect her. Vivian uses him. But Archer is still there for her, and willing to do whatever it takes to make her happy. Even murder. Archer's mission is to make everyone involved in the rape pays for what they did. It starts by accident, when he pushes one guy down the stairs and kills him. Then the idea is born to make a list of everyone involved in the event that left his best friend traumatized and kill them, one by one. Archer is not the kind to get close to anyone. But then he meets Evan, and for the first time, he experiences a healthy relationship. Evan is there for Archer in the way that Archer was there for Vivian. Even when he finds out what Archer has done. Archer's love for Evan makes him realize that what he has done is wrong, and he know longer wants to continue with his "mission." However, Vivian starts to lose it...she has just lost her mother, been beaten up yet again by her abusive boyfriend, and is now losing Archer to Evan. She decides she needs to pick up where Archer has left off...and then some. She now realizes what a good thing she had with Archer, and now she wants him all to herself. This book opens with Archer's murder of Brody, Vivian's brother. So, I started off hating Archer. How the heck can you empathize with a murderer? How can the writer expect this from their reader? Well, I don't know how, but York pulled it off. This, in my opinion, is a sign of a very talented author. She made me really think about whether murder can be justified. While I cannot say that I think Archer did the right thing (at ALL, let's make that clear), I really think he felt like he was doing the right thing. Also, I was not expecting a homosexual romance in the book. I'll be honest, it caught me off guard. But, Evan was the only healthy relationship Archer had in his life. Their relationship was so sweet. I just really was rooting for things to work out for them. Overall, this was an amazing read. So very different from anything I've read. Yes, it was a little dark and disturbing, and it deals with a LOT of "difficult" material - rape, domestic violence, murder, homosexuality (not that I consider this difficult material, but some readers may). But, don't let that stop you. It was written so amazingly, that it didn't seem all that disturbing or scary. I look forward to reading more from Kelley York. Now, go forth and read :) Posted by Kary at 3:09 PM
A well-deserved 5+ stars!Hushed is definitely not a light fun-time story (you should have known - the cover itself seem creepy to me). Its one of those book where - you will keep thinking about it, while waking up next morning and next and next.- while reading the book, you were afraid the whole time that there could never be a good ending to the protagonist and you feel helpless and sad for him.But when you feel all those things, you remember that its supposed to be a YA book. Archer, a eighteen-years old boy, saw his best friend, Vivian, raped by the friends of Vivian's brother, when they were twelve-years old. Being so much younger than the other boys then, Archer can't save her..can't protect her. And from that moment on, Archer couldn't stop protecting Vivian. He has been killing to protect her, working through his own guilt ever since. Archer cuts himself down from the society, his friends and his mom and builds his world centered only around Vivian. Vivian, the girl for whom Archer is killing his own soul, involves herself into toxic relationships and when broken down, come running to Archer, whom she ignores in other times. Vivian's character is portrayed as extremely selfish, where she never cares about anyone else's feelings, not even Archer. She blames others for everything and I was actually frozen, when she, at last, blamed Archer, for the reason her life is what it is..and I have to accept on one thing though - her life is surely a terrible mess. Vivian is disturbed, more disturbed than Archer and when she lost her mom, she completely lost it.When things are so bad for Archer and Viv, Evan comes to their school. Evan crosses the iron gates that Archer formed around himself, becomes his friend and make him see that Vivian is been using him. Archer's change is unbearable to look at, and I don't mean in the negative way. But when things seem like Archer will get over it, another storm hits. Vivian, realizing that there will not be Archer/Viv thing, shows her true dark nature and that's when all hell breaks loose. I was scared and frozen to my place (of course, with the book in hand), that I just want to read that there will be something, some hope for Archer to hold on to his life.Its the complexity of the characters and their past, that the main leads buried in them, that makes the book more dark and disturbing. I loved the author's writing that characters are so realistic and the emotions so real. This is definitely one of my favorite books this year. Its so dark, intense, chilling, emotional and finally although hearbreaking, a flickering hope. You did it, Kelley York..definitely did it! A must read!
Everyone lets you down, it's a fact of life, Marissa told him once. The key is to know when they're doing it because they don't care enough to try not to. I love this line from Kelley York's debut novel, Hushed. The truth within it is undeniable. Add to it this passage--He remembered back to several weeks ago, when Vivian stood silhouetted by the light against the windows of her apartment...This was different. Evan was different. The light didn't wrap around him like it did with Vivian. He dominated the place it wanted to occupy, and it crowded against the outline of him, envious of his brightness.Archer's skin prickled. His body ached to move closer. He was no better than the moonlight, wanting so desperately to share space in any way that he could.And it's easy to see why this is one of my favorite books of the year. Can you say SWOON? Kelley York is a brilliant writer. In Hushed she's brought to life characters so flawed, so conflicted, so human, I have trouble believing they're fictional. It's these kinds of characters, these kinds of stories that leave me giddy when I've turned the final page.Archer and Vivian were the best of friends, but time and circumstance have turned their once innocent friendship into a toxic relationship. Vivian is selfish and manipulative and I found myself screaming at her throughout the book. Yet, everything that Vivian did to Archer that I despised, Archer did to Evan. Still, I found him to be the more likeable of the two. It's incredible to believe a story can make you root for a murderer--as Evan tells Archer at one point, there's nothing noble about taking a life--but this one did. I found myself praying the entire time that he wouldn't be caught. I didn't want to imagine a world where Evan's love wouldn't be enough to make Archer change. I needed them to end up together. I needed love to be enough. Hushed is dark and disturbing and definitely for an older, more mature YA audience, but it's also amazing and honest and brutal. At it's heart it's a story about friendship, loyalty, love, and redemption. It explores how far we're willing to go to save another and just how hard it is to save ourselves.
Eighteen-year-old Archer has spent a majority of his life protecting his best friend Vivian, and hoping beyond hope that one day she might notice him as more than just a friend. But Vivian only wants Archer around when it¿s convenient for her. As she jumps from one toxic relationship to another, Archer has no choice but to watch her get her heart broken over and over, hoping that maybe, someday, she¿ll notice him.Archer is certain that Vivian¿s addiction to toxic boys has something to do with something that happened to her when they were twelve-years-old. So, Archer takes it upon himself to pick off the guys who wronged her, hoping that once they are all dead, Vivian will change. Then Archer meets Evan, a guy who sees Archer for who he really is ¿ a shy, slightly broken, socially awkward guy that would do anything for his friends. As Archer and Evan grow closer, Archer realizes that Vivian is bad for him, and maybe he could have a chance at a real life, and real love with Evan.When Vivian figures out that Archer is responsible for the deaths of some of the guys who attacked her, she decides she wants in on the game. The only problem is, Vivian changes the rules and if Archer doesn¿t comply, she¿ll go to the police. According to Vivian, the game doesn¿t end when they¿ve all been picked off ¿ Evan has to go as well, threatening Archer¿s one shot at true happiness.I was completely blown away by this book. Not only is the writing fluid, but the story is compelling, the characters extremely realistic and the ending will have you gasping for breath. Ms. York certainly does not follow the cookie-cutter YA mold. There¿s nothing conventional here (which is one of the main reasons I loved it so much). Sure, there is a love triangle, but this love triangle is real, gritty, unexpected and totally toxic. My favorite thing about this book is the fact that Archer is so beautifully broken. He¿s done a lot of bad things in his life (hello ¿ murder), but you can¿t help but love him and you want so badly for him to find happiness. Vivian is completely crazy, and the sad thing is, I¿ve known plenty of girls like her. Evan is an absolute dream, and the perfect match for Archer ¿ if only Vivian would leave them alone.This is by far one of my favorite books of the year and I can¿t recommend it enough. I will warn you, though. This is not a light read. It¿s gritty, it¿s dark and it¿s edgy ¿ and I loved every second of it.(Review based on an Advanced Reader's Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley)
When I started this book, I knew that I would hate Vivian, pity Archer, and love Evan. I was right on the last part. As for the first two... there's some truth in what I said; however, I wasn¿t expecting to find myself sharing some of Archer¿s feelings about Vivian. Oh, I hated Vivian for using Archer like she did, but there are so many complications surrounding them that I couldn't help feeling a little sorry for her by the time the story ended.Murder. This book starts with a murder, and murder will lead to the end. Usually, I don't like to read these kinds of books because of the violence aspect. It wasn't the case with Hushed. Archer isn't a serial killer who takes pleasure in what he does, nor does he go around killing people every night. He bides his time, and during these "down times" I got to appreciate him for who he was and appreciate how Evan changes Archer's life.More than a murder story, Hushed is about the potential for a monster to change.Kelly York blew me away with her writing talent. From start to finish, Kelley York had me agonizing over the characters in her brilliantly dark and satisfying debut. The characters are so real--so human, so brokenly human--that she had me feeling for even characters that I thought I could only hate.Hushed is a moving, emotional story centered on broken characters brought to life by a very talented woman. All that is left for me to say is that I will definitely be on the lookout for more books from Kelley York!
Archer, in the beginning of the story is a cold calculating guy who's one thought is revenge and trying to win Vivian's love. He seems like he'll do anything for her, yes including murder.But Archer's been protecting and defending Vivian for years and she's never treated him as more than a best friend. Maybe run to him for a night, but he's always known it wouldn't mean anything so he's never settled for that. He's a man that's alone in a crowd.But then, a very persistent Evan eases his way into Archer's life and a slow friendship begins. To me, it's the sweetest love story I've ever read. No insta love here. Both are shy and their friendship is slow to start. Archer has never had a friend he could really tell everything to and there's a lot to tell.The slow build up of the relationship mirrors the buildup of the tension between Vivian and Archer. Vivian is a class A user. She uses Archer whenever she needs to get out of a messy situation that she's put herself in. She seems to date guys that are always abusive and obsessive. And Archer is always rescuing her from these guys, until he doesn't. And let's just say she doesn't like to share Archer.This is a tense thriller with a great romance thrown in to make it even better. You already know that Archer has killed for Vivian, so I'm not giving anything away, but you know it can't be wrapped up in a happily ever after ending. But the ending is satisfying and realistic.I think Kelley York's writing style is easy to read and her character development is perfect in this book. I felt impatient and then totally disgusted and terrified by Vivian throughout the novel. As she devolved into the lowest life, Archer grew into a man of conscience and self confident. And Evan, well he was perfect from the beginning really, he made me smile every time I read about him. Everything I'd want in a contemporary YA novel was there.The romance is between two guys, but it's so beautifully written I totally forgot that. And I really didn't care. Romance done right is romance. But if you have a problem with homosexuality, then don't read it. But you'll miss out on a great new voice in YA contemporary lit and a great thriller!Heather
WOW, starting out with this book I was a little turned I thought that Archer was going to be the bad guy, how could this guy be the hero,victim? was my constant question running through my mind.Then you started to see there was more to Archer than he let on. The story of Archer began to unfold and the more you listened to him and learned what he was doing and why. The more you saw that he was the victim when all he wanted was love and acceptance to protect those that he loved. Only to be repeatedly rebuked and ridiculed by them only useful when it was good for them or in their benefit. Only out of all did Marrisa *Vivien's mother* and Evan truly care for Archer as he should and needed to be cared for.Before, Archer gets the help he so very much needs though their lives are all turned upside down and on a whirlwind ride as the person he thought loved him *Vivien* shows her true colors and let's the world see just what Archers affections have done to her, She's become spoiled Selfish and down right cruel she's possesive and criminally insane over time. I loved this book I couldn't put it down or stop reading it. I loved the real life situations and the fact that one can find love in the most uncommon of places or reasons.All in all for a YA read it blew me away this is definately out there for a reread in my books and going on my shelf. I love it well done to Kelley York very well done. She's created a masterpiece and a clip into the human psyche.
This is one of the most haunting books I've come across in recent years. I will say this: HUSHED is not a book for the feint of heart. Kelley York has not written a beach read or a light romance. So, if you're looking for edgy, this is probably a good book to pick up.It's not long before you figure out that the protagnist is a muderer. Archer is in the act of "taking care of" someone he sees as the reason his best friend, Vivian, was never able to thrive. The reason she now chooses abusive boyfriends over his affection, and why she parties instead of going to class. And this murder won't be his last.Here's the thing, though. Archer is such a compelling hero that his villainous endeavors don't matter in the way they should. You want him to get the girl -- or, as it turns out, after Evan walks into his life, the guy. Evan offers Archer love and friendship in a way Vivian never has. And he asks for nothing in return. But as much as Archer wants to be the guy that Evan deserves, he knows he won't be able to stop killing until he knows that Vivian is safe, that the people responsible for that horrible day in their past will never be able to touch her again.Part thriller, part love story, HUSHED is a novel that you can't put down, even when you think you should. Partly because of the voyeuristic nature of crime -- you know that Archer is about to do something horrible, but you can't turn away -- and partly because you're rooting for Archer. And this really goes to show the strength of Kelley York's writing -- that a book that is this dark, and this viscerally human is also, in its own way, a beautiful story.
This is a dark great gay tale like Dexter. The main character is very likable even though he's a serial killer. I really enjoyed this, finding it fun and thrilling.
My thoughts Cover: A simply dark cover in my opinion. Because of it simplicity it catches your attention. Not girl ¿ified. No bare chest model. Like those but their overdone. It catches your attention becuase of the the blood smears on his cheek. I ask myself what happened when I see that. Book: When I saw it on Goodreads in August and read the synopsis I immediately added it to my wishlist and it is still there. I received a e- ARC. When I got a chance to review it after being declined a multiple number of times on Net Galley, I did not let this opportunity pass me by. The book begins where Archer, our leading male, forces a victim to commit suicide. I started this and I thought it was like a teenage Dexter. I love that show but can¿t feel compassion for Dex. In archer¿s case I could. He is a soul but throughout the book I felt compassion and began to care for this character. Ok he is a serial killer, which is not good. In his mind killing the teenagers that hurt Vivian, his best friend, will undo the hurt that they put her through. I felt compassion for Viv. I felt sorry for the crappy relationships and the poor picking of boyfriends. She is always choosing jerks and lowlifes that hurt her in the end emotionally and as a result she cries and finds support in Archer, her best friend. But everything changes when Evan comes in to their lives. Archer first meets Evan on the college campus when he asks for directions to the administration building. He does not know what¿s so alluring about him, but he makes him feel calm. They spend more and more time together and Archer starts to feel for Evan and Evan for Archer. Archer does not want to kill anymore. But little Miss Vivian (she is not little lol, a college kid)starts to notice things and sees her Viv/Archer time dwindling. The person both Archer and myself [to me characters are real in alternative universe] thought she was, turns out to be an illusion. My compassion plummeted to ground zero. In my opinion the baddest, most manipulative protagonist of the year belongs to her. She is the driving force of the novel. This is one of darkest, emotional YA releases of the year. This book is a huge thriller especially near the end. Any one not comfortable with older dark YA or new adult, male-male love and some graphic scenes it may not be for you. Can¿t wait what Kelly thinks up next.
¿Hushed¿ by Kelley York is by far one of the best books I¿ve read this year. Hands down. The story is about Archer and Vivian who have been best friends since they were kids. Archer has always been the best friend, the go to guy when Vivian needed someone¿s shoulder to lean on. But he¿s dreamt of more. He¿s wanted nothing more than to make her happy, than to save her. So he sets out to kill those who have harmed her, in hopes of freeing her. But he doesn¿t save her. He can¿t save her from herself. Even though Archer is a murderer, it¿s nearly impossible not to feel sorry for him once we get to know him. He loves with everything he has ¿ all or nothing. And for so long his world has been nothing but Vivian. He¿s given her everything ¿ his life is Vivian ¿ until he meets Evan. Evan. Evan. Evan. I absolutely adored Evan. While Archer is beginning to realize there is life outside of Vivian, that he deserves to be happy, Vivian begins to unravel. She¿s losing Archer and she¿s desperate to hang on, threatening those that he loves in order to keep him by her side. She needs him. He¿s all he has now, but she¿s losing him to Evan. And it terrifies her. What I loved about ¿Hushed¿ is that Archer started off as this weak character, in my opinion, desperate to make Vivian happy (desperate enough to kill for her to set her free). But by the end, he¿s a different person. His actions, his past, they don¿t define who he is ¿ because he isn¿t a monster. York has crafted a wonderful thriller with just the right about of romance and suspense thrown in. I would highly recommend this one. Note: There is violence and a male/male relationship. ¿Hushed¿ is probably best suited for an older YA audience.
This book is dark, and horribale, and completely wonderful. The characters are messed up and amazing. My entire focus is on the characters. Archer has weird rules for himself. He wants to help, but his idea of helping is twisted and wrong. Yet, you cannot help but love him and root for him. You want him to do the right thing and to end up with the right person. It's hard to see archer as a killer when you are so attached to him. I wanted him to be happy. Vivian makes me cringe. From the start of the book I couldn't stand her. I wanted her to see everything she could do differently. I wanted her to see that she could be a better person. I wanted her to appreciate Archer fully, or let him go. This book brings out strong feelings. You know that feeling of utter love for a character? You know when a character makes you so happy that it makes you giggle? Archer and Evan gave me that feeling. Evan, oh, sweet Evan... The adorable swimmer who is so kind and cute. Kelley did a fantastic job with this book. There were tricky and horrific subjects with lovable characters. I don't really want to tell you many details about this book because I want you to read it. I'm not going to spoil it for you, so just read the book!
I really really enjoyed this. 4.5/5 stars. First and foremost! HUSHED by Kelley York is a New Adult Thriller/MM Romance! I’ve seen a lot of people call it YA, but Archer and Evan are in college (as are all the major characters) and it’s published by Entangled’s Embrace line (which is a New Adult line). So just clearing that up. (Also, full disclosure: I'm an Assistant Editor for Entangled, but they did not ask me to review this book. I'm reviewing it because I enjoyed it and that's it). Related to the NA note: for those of you nervous about reading NA because of the potentially graphic content, this book is pretty tame. There’s one (literally) steamy scene, but there isn’t graphic content, and more than anything there’s just a lot of adorable cuddles and kisses. (Though, trigger warning, there’s some sexual assault mentioned throughout the book). Okay! So as for the actual book, this was such an interesting read. First of all, I can only think of one other book I’ve read from the primary POV of a serial killer (or, I suppose, vigilante, depending on how you look at it) and it made for a totally fascinating read. Mix in the super unhealthy relationship between Archer and Vicki and the ridiculously adorable Evan (who I just want to huggle forever) and I was totally hooked. The plot is interesting, the pacing works well and the relationships are complicated. I was totally emotionally invested and I really really enjoyed it. Minor gripes: I may have missed it, but I don't think Archer specifically identifies as bisexual, which isn't a deal-breaker, but as he's pretty obviously bisexual, I would have liked to see him identify and help fight against bi erasure. (Though, if I missed it, which is totally possible, then never mind.) Also, toward the end, I started getting kind of aggravated with Vivian and Archer's relationship, but I didn't think it was necessarily unrealistic...just frustrating. So. All in all, I loved reading HUSHED and I was so extremely happy to not only see some diversity on the NA shelf, but to see some diversity in a NA book that isn't strictly Contemporary Romance (*double high five!*). If you’re looking for some diversity to add your NA shelf, I absolutely recommend HUSHED.
I'm writing this review after finishing Hushed in the early hours of the morning, eager to record my thoughts and feelings on paper, but also left emotionally drained from Kelley York's astounding narrative. This is a story ripped wide open for the reader to see its true and often bloody heart. Kelley York asks her reader to be empathizers, sympathizers, romantics and judges; the question posed is whether it should be the guilty who deserve our condemnation or not. Despite Archer's transgressions Kelley York ensures he is the characters the reader cares deeply for; Vivian's manipulation of him is obvious to us and I had an overwhelming (but useless!) urge to scream "Wake Up!" at Archer. Thankfully Kelley York provides a voice of reason and support in the shape of Evan. Evan and Archer's relationship begins as nothing more than a friendship, but the way in which Kelley York develops the romance is both subtle and appropriate to the story. Evan is Archer's strength; the honesty and beauty of Kelley York's prose, particularly towards the end of the novel brought me to tears. Within Hushed the author has been able to combine perfect elements of a thriller and new-adult contemporary fiction with her anti-hero, unanticipated twists in plot and homosexual love to write an incredible, tenacious and enduring book. A must read!
Considering all the rave reviews I expected a mix of intense romance and nail biting suspense. ...or at least a book full of angst and overwhelming emotion. It fell flat for me. Evan didn't come across as the person that could pull Archer from Viv. Archer never gave off the gay vibe and I was pretty confused on why he chose Evan to be the one to open his eyes about all the jacked up thi he was doing. And Evan - seriously there's something wrong with him if he's helping someone cover up illegal activities and still fall in love with that person. I didn't fully understand the dates at the beginning of the chapters. Viv was a train wreck....
Oh my, oh my. Where do I start? I would like to point out the content of this book, whilst not graphic has adult content. I would also like to thank Netgalley and Entangled Publishing for allowing me to read the ARC. So, we have Archer and Vivian. Archer has loved Vivian for ever, and has sat back and patiently waited for her to notice he’s there. One night something terrible happens to them both and Archer cannot save her from it, or the demons she has following it. Archer is consumed with guilt, so much he thinks the only way to put it right and save Vivian is to kill those responsible. This is where the book starts, it had me right from the get go and I simply couldn’t put it down. Archer and Vivian are seriously broken, him with wanting to fix her, and Vivian plummeting from one bad relationship to another. In comes Evan, I LOVED Evan. He is is light, sunshine and wants nothing more from Archer but his friendship, his time and attention, and Archer begins to see there is more to life than bitter, repressed anger, and he slowly sees that Vivian is nothing more than a self absorbed, manipulative attention seeker. When Marrisa, Vivian’s mother and the mother Archer considered her to be to him dies the story flips on it’s head. Vivian, finally broken by one too many beatings from Mickey her violent boyfriend flips. She doesn’t like that Archer and Evan are falling in love with each other and so she turns everything upside down and goes on a rampage I seriously did not see. What I loved about this book was the way Kelley wrote the depth of the characters, she didn’t shy away from the darker side of human nature and just how low a person will stoop when Love and jealousy get in the way. I have to say from the synopsis on Netgalley I thought Evan was going to be a girl, I was a little shocked (not in a bad way) she turned out to be a boy. It didn’t distract from the story but enhanced it. Vivian was a character I wanted to hate badly, yet I couldn’t. She was simply flawed and broken from events she had no control over. I liked that Kelley glided the story into one that showed we are a product of our choices. Bad things happen to good people, it is what we do after they happen that defines us. When I finished I felt I had been on an emotional wrecking ball….yes I was also naked!! It was intense, beautiful and horrific all at the same time. This is a wonderful story that should be read. I highly recommend it.
Deliciously dark and creepy. I have to admit this book scared me. It’s not the type of subject matter I’ve spent my reading time with in the past few years. Yet the summary and that fabulous new cover drew me in, and I felt the need to curl up under a blankie and read something that would push my boundaries a bit. I think I picked the perfect book for that. Hushed is the story of Archer – college student, slightly obsessive, opinionated, murderer. I started off not liking him. He was too brash, too dark…plus the book opens with a rough scene of him forcing a man to commit suicide. Not the best first impression. But over the course of the story, I learned more about him, and my feelings toward him shifted. I don’t think I’ve ever pitied a character more than I did Archer. Which is not something I would normally feel toward a serial killer. He wasn’t necessarily a bad person, more a boy trying to do the right thing but making the worst possible decisions. His backstory broke my heart and made me want to rescue him from the situation he found himself swept up in. His best friend, Vivian, was such a horrible person for him to be around – the human equivalent of an anchor weighing Archer down with guilt and stress. She took and took and took from him until there wasn’t much left to give. But then along came Evan. “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.” Evan was the light shining through the darkness of Hell poor Archer wallowed in. He’s charming and sweet, honest and open. And he liked Archer for him, not for what the poor boy can do for him. Their relationship was beautiful, slow-blooming and intense. Evan saw the good in Archer and fought tooth and nail to save him from himself. Unassuming and just plain loving, Evan made me swoon though much of the suspense and drama of Hushed. I gave Hushed five heartfelt stars. Buy it, read it, love it, pretend you have your own Evan to snuggle up to and hope you never piss off a guy like Archer. Or probably worse, a girl like Vivian.
4.5 stars. This was an extremely dark, intense story. The characters are disturbingly well drawn. Archer is kind of an anti-social loner, who doesn't like anyone, except for his best friend Vivian. They've been best friends since they were little kids. A very bad thing happened to Vivian when they were younger. Archer was there, and he couldn't stop it or save her from it. So Archer is trying to atone for that. He thinks that if he can erase those that did this, he can erase it from ever happening and maybe he can get back the Viv of before. Archer is a killer, true. But this doesn't stop you from feeling for him, from wanting things to work out for him. Vivian has a thing for the wrong kind of guy. When she's in a relationship, she kicks Archer to the curb. As soon as things go bad, she comes running back to him to pick up the pieces. This has been their routine since Vivian started dating. Archer isn't stupid. He knows she's using him and he knows how messed up it is that he lets her. But he is absolutely powerless to deny her anything she wants or needs. His guilt over his failure to protect her from before has him convinced that if he can just be there for her, maybe she'll finally, finally see that the right one has been right there all along. Then Archer meets Evan. For the first time ever, there's someone who is concerned with what Archer feels and wants. As Archer grows closer to Evan, all of this slowly comes out. While Evan is a little shaken, his main worry is for Archer and what's happening to him. Evan is the bit of light in the dark landscape of Archer's life, and that's actually how Archer thinks of him, as being 'bright'. Vivian finds that she isn't Archer's main focus anymore, and he's even becoming unavailable to her. When she starts trying to be what Archer has always wanted her to be and he holds her at arms-length, she becomes even more unhinged. Viv then discovers proof of what he has been doing on her behalf and things fall apart in the worst way. This book opens with a WHAM, grabs you and holds you tight in its fist. It never lets go either. It was totally unexpected for me, even after I read a few reviews. It's a tautly emotional, extremely well written psychological thriller. Loved it, I am definitely a new fan of Kelley York!
Honestly my favorite book!
I loved this twisted book more than I think I should have. Hushed is thrilling, disturbing, and insanely amazing. We start off with Archer, who lives by himself and tries to be normal. But, he's anything but normal. Then there is Vivian, Archer's best friend, and the person he's always loved. Archer would do anything to protect her, anything for her... even kill. Then, one day Archer meets Evan. Evan is down to earth, fun, and cares about Archer a lot. As Archer starts to fall for Evan, he starts to realize how wrong he's been about Vivian and how dangerous everything has become. But, is it too late to pull himself out? Following Archer, was one hell of a ride. He's this good-looking, smart boy, who is completely blinded by what's in front of him. But, how can you blame him when it's all he's ever known? He does what he had to for the person he loved. It just took someone else to show him how dangerously far he'd actually gone and how wrong it actually is. I mean, watching him and Viv together... was like watching someone take poison and letting it slowly seep into your body until you eventually give out. It was a completely toxic relation. On the other hand, I completely adore Evan. The way he swims in the cold, his cute ideas, his gentleness, the way he sees the good even in a terrible situation, his slight sexiness. Everyone NEEDS an Evan. He's the all-around perfect boyfriend. I was surprised, yet completely happy with the ending of Hushed. For Kelley to take a topic of love and being blinded and twist it as far as she did, it's almost frightening. And that's exactly why I loved this book as much as I did. It's 100% intense the whole way through and it's beautiful. This book sunk its teeth in me from the very beginning. It's twisted, completely spine-tingling, and at the same time inspiring. I cannot rave enough about this one. It's completely unique and if you're considering picking it up... do it! You will not be disappointed.